The Danger and Power of Human Decisions

Bible Book: 1 Chronicles  29 : 14-20
Subject: Will of God; Will, Human; Purpose in Life; Decision Making

The Danger and Power of Human Decisions

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

1 Chronicles 29:14-20 states ...

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.

One of the greatest blessings ever given to us by the Lord is the endowment of free will, the ability to choose and decide. We refer to this gift as human will. You use this gift thousands of times a day. The very act of rising from your bed in the morning is one made through the gift of “will.” You “will” to get up and go about your daily business. You go to your closet and engage in a conversation with yourself, “What shall I wear?” Then you answer yourself by saying, “I think I will wear this,” as you take a garment from a hanger. Your will has been activated. You “willed” to wear a certain item and the matter was settled, or was it? When you put the garment on you look at yourself and say, “That makes me look too fat,” or you say, “That makes me look to old.” Something has happened to your will. Suddenly, your will has been usurped. You have given your will to public opinion. You are not now deciding to wear what you personally desire, but rather you are deciding to wear what you think someone else will like for you to wear. Interesting, isn’t it? This is the drama of human decision making - the drama of the human will.

We need to understand that this process of using the God-given gift of human will is not very important on minor matters, such as the choice of a particular shirt to wear or a pair of low or high heels a woman may wear on any particular day. Human decision making becomes vastly more important and the decisions much more critical when they involve morality and spiritual issues.

Most people make decisions based on a whim, a momentary feeling of seeing something they want, or doing something that feels like it will be exciting. In fact that's where we get the modern question, "What was he thinking?" In this age of immediate gratification, mistakes are made that negatively effect one's entire lifetime. Also, with the speed of communication we possess in this day, one can fire off an email in a moment of rage or passion and it can end up destroying a career, a marriage or personal opportunity for the future.

Very few people make wise decisions. Why not? Decisions are often wrong because the decider is thinking of the moment rather than the long term effect, and is mostly thinking of self rather than those who will also be touched by the decision. In the end, we need to know what God has to say about decision making.

I want you to look with me at a man we find in the Bible, who was said to be a “man after God’s own heart.” David learned the hard way that making passionate decisions without God's leadership is painful, embarrassing and can cost one for the remainder of life on  this earth. Though David sinned greatly, he learned to take his decisions to God and that made all the difference in the world.

David was applauded by heaven and earth, even though he had failed. What made him different from others who also failed in decision making? I believe the answer lies in several passages and incidents in the Scripture. Today we will examine just one of those passages and by doing so discover something very important about ourselves in this message. You may just get an x-ray look at your heart and soul as we ask God to help us understand this story and this man.

The story before us involves David, who was the King of Israel. While David was the king he desired to build a house for God, but God told him that he was not allowed to build it. We’ve looked at this in a prior message, so I will not go over every detail of that in the sermon today. What we do know is that David accepted the will of God in this matter; however, David had a burning desire to do something in regard to this House of God - the Temple - that was in his heart to build. So, he began to gather material for the building of the Temple, even though he knew that his son Solomon would be the one to build it. There is, even here, a hint at the nature and heart of David. He gladly gathered material and spend a great portion of his own wealth on something for God, even though another was going to get credit for building the structure. He does this knowing in all likelihood that he, David, will not be present when the job is finished. In other words, David truly did want to build a house for God and not a house to honor Himself - David.

David gave largely to the building, the leaders gave generously to the building, and the people also gave abundantly to the building. Note, if you will, that David gave willingly, the leaders gave willingly, and the people gave willingly to this project. The key word here is not giving, the key word here is the word “willingly.” They willed to do the right thing, even at a personal cost to themselves.

In verse 17 of our text, David says ...

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. “

The emphasis here is upon the willing hearts of David and the people. Then David continues ...

"O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.”

David felt that the matter of the "willing heart" was so important that he prayed to God that the people would forever keep this desire (this will) in their hearts. He wanted their human decision making to involve forever a willing desire to do God's will.

I want to share three matters related to decision making - to the human will - with you today. Each of these is related to the other but each is also critical in itself.

I. The Serious Misconception Concerning Human Decision Making

A. The Misconception Regarding the Control of Human Decision Making

Man believes that he has something called “free will,” but this belief is untrue. Our will is always being controlled by something or someone else. Even Jesus yielded, by choice, to His Father’s will. Look at John 6:38 ...

“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”

We are told in Romans 12:2 ...

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

A department store many years ago opened with haircuts for children at only .25 cents each. How could they do that, or perhaps it is better to ask why did they do that? They did that because to get to the barbershop area, the customer was required to walk through a large, colorful toy section in the store. When Satan tempts you with cheap thrills, be assured he is baiting you by walking you down temptation lane. He is working on your will - your decision making process.

Something or someone is always working on our will, so that our decisions are not totally our own. We are influenced by many things and we must be aware of the danger involved in the influences this world has on our decisions. A person who says, "I'm going to do just what I want to do and no one is going to tell me what to do," is as ignorant as box of nails. You are always being influenced by something, someone or some emotional influence.

There is one thing I can tell you, which I have learned at times the hard way, and it is this - people who choose to seek and do God's will always make the best choices!

This leads us to consider …

B. The Misconception Regarding the Consequences of  Human Decision Making

The problem for us is that we allow our decisions to be directed without much thought. In other words, the decision making area of the human heart is left with an open door to any and all comers. Advertisers know this, so they repeatedly tell us something in the hope that it will stick in our minds and cause us to buy their products. In fact, advertising experts know that the number of times we see an ad will affect whether we consider their product. That’s why you see the same ads running over and over and over again on television and the internet. Advertisers use a logo, a mascot or something to cause our minds to immediately relate to their products. For example, if I mention a talking Gecko to you, what product do you think of? Sure, you think of Geico Insurance. That is exactly what they want you to do. So, the world is working on our will to influence our decisions in the way they wish us to act each and every single day.

Satan is very adept at this process of influencing our decisions. He knows how to use thoughts, words, images and habits to create pathways inside your will. A single decision to yield to his devices can lead to a devastating set of consequences. However, Satan knows that an immediate payment for a bad decision will cause people to reject him totally. So, he works on your will leads you slowly -  continually. It is only after you have taken several steps that he reveals the terrible consequences of your initial decision. Ask anyone who has a habit of using drugs for the first time if they expected to end up wrecking their lives, as well as the lives of many of their family and friends. Surely, they did not! Peer pressure, escape from reality, fun, thrills, or simply being a rebel against the existing societal norms, often lures young people into drugs. Too often, that lure is like a hook in the mouth of a fish -  it leads to death.

So, we need to think about …

II. The Sovereign Management Comcerning Human Decision Making

Knowing that the will is the gateway to the heart and habits of a human, we come now to the consideration of how to manage our will. We have to start with …

A. Lordship in the Management of Human Decision Making

Certainly a Christian is to live under the Lordship of the Heavenly Father. Jesus prayed as recorded in Matthew 6:10, “...your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to desire His will to be done on earth and in our lives as His will is always done in heaven.

A young woman who was greatly troubled went to a Scottish preacher asking how she could resolve the question of her own desires when they seemed to contradict the will of God. The minister took out a slip of paper and wrote two words on it. Then he handed it to her with the request that she sit down for ten minutes, ponder the words, cross out one of them, and to return the slip of paper back to him. The woman sat down and looked at the slip of paper. The two words on the paper were "No" and "Lord." She had to decide which word to cross out and which to leave in place. It did not take her long to see that if she was saying "NO," she would be required to cross out the word "LORD," and if she wanted to call Christ "LORD," she had to cross out the word "NO."

Herein lies the secret of discerning God's will for our lives  From the limitless options before us, we cannot know God's choice until we put ourselves unconditionally at His disposal. We must turn over all our rights to Him, saying, "Yes, Lord," to any and every circumstance in life.

This not only concerns Lordship but also involves …

B. Ownership in the Management of Human Decision Making

Who owns your will? You may say, “I own my will. I am the captain of my fate.” Really? We began today by noting that we often dress, conduct ourselves and speak in ways that make us acceptable in society. Everyone does that to some extent. That proves that no one – and I do mean no one – is really in total control of his or her individual will. You are influenced by the age in which you live, the work you do, the friends you have, and even your enemies.

Bob Dylan, the great songwriter-singer, wrote a song entitled, “You Gotta Serve Somebody.” The message in the song is simple – all of us are serving someone. In the song he rightly states that we may serve the devil or we may serve the Lord, but in the end, we "gotta serve somebody".

This brings us to note …

C. Stewardship in the Management of Human Decision Making

When you think about giving your money, time or energy to God’s work, always stop and remember what Jesus gave. In Matthew 26:39 we read about Jesus as follows ...

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’”

That statement may sound simple, but one must consider the awful horrors that fell upon our Lord because He was willing to give His will over to the Heavenly Father. The cross, with all the suffering He endured - to some extent even before they placed Him there - was the price of granting management of His will to His Father above. Yet, think of what that remarkable act of the yielded will of Jesus did for you and for me - and for so many millions who have trusted Jesus for salvation. My life and eternity has been changed by the sacrifice of the will that Jesus revealed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And another thing we see is …

D. Fellowship in the Management of Human Decision Making

The Psalmist said ...

“I have set the Lord always before me.”

In other words, true fellowship with the Lord is maintained when our will is given over to Him.

Alexander Maclaren posited that a man’s life is determined by facing God’s will with one of two words, “Resist or persist.” If I resist, I am a failure. If I persist in God’s will, I'm successful. That is the total end of the matter when it comes to our lives before God.

During a Christmas pageant in a local church, the lighting people made a mistake during the presentation and turned off the spotlight on the baby Jesus. One of the little children in the play was heard to say out loud, “Hey, you switched off Jesus.” Sadly, that is what many people do with the will - they switch off Jesus when making decisions, - and that leads to tragedy.

In essence, we opt to give our decision making over to God's will or we retain it for ourselves. It is painful for me to think of the times I have chosen my own way in my decisions. It is also painful for me to think of the people whom I have known, who claim to be Christians, who almost failed to act in submission to what was best for Christ when making a decision. It is either, "MY will be done," or "THY will be done," and in that choice lies my worst in life or God's best in life.

Now, let’s note one other issue regarding the human will …

III. The Supernatural Might Through Human Decision Making

There is great power in your will. Your will can lead to decisions of ...

  • Courage or cowardice
  • Victory or vice
  • Grandeur or to a grave
  • Dignity or disaster.

The choice is in your hand and heart.

Look at …

A. Salvation Experienced

In his book, "With A Bible In My Hand," Dr. W.A. Criswell states, “Do not write, Ho ginoskon, ‘Whosoever understandeth,’ let him come. Do not write, Ho lambano, ‘Whosoever receiveth,’ let him come. Do not write, Ho paschon, ‘Whosoever feeleth,’ let him come." Criswell goes on to point out that John wrote, “Ho thelon,” whosoever WILL, let him come!"

Someone has said that salvation is up to God and not to human will. To a point that is true, but just remember that God has already “willed” for you to be saved. It is not God’s will that anyone perish. It is His will that you are forgiven, saved and that you one day will reside with Him in heaven. God calls on you to "decide" to turn from your sin in repentance, to trust the risen Lord who died in your place, and to stand up gladly and make it known that you claim Him as your Lord and Savior. He has decided for you to be saved, but what is your decision. He is calling you - drawing you - only your will stands in the way of being saved.

"Whosoever will may come." Put your name there! "If Mike wills, let Him come." "If Mary wills, let her come." Oh, the power God has given us in decision making.

The songwriter penned:

"I have decided to follow Jesus ... no turning back, no turning back." That is the greatest decision one can ever make in this life.

Not only does salvation involve your will, but note …

B. Service Exhibited

To serve God involves your will. You must “will” to join the church after you are saved, and to pray, to give, to witness, to work, and  to live for Christ. You can’t wait around for some great force to strike you – that force is in you – if indeed you are saved. The Holy Spirit resides in you and yielding to Him is a decision of your own will. You must make up your mind to serve God. In so doing you place yourself in the position to accomplish things you cannot imagine. When you do this you will not even realize how great that decision was until you meet the Lord.

Note also …

C. Satisfaction Expressed

One interesting thing to watch from the window of an airplane is the winding path of a river below. No two waterways are alike, but they all have one thing in common -  they are all crooked. And the reason is simple - rivers follow the path of least resistance. They flow around anything that blocks their eroding work. Yes, rivers are crooked because they take the "easy way." When you stop and think of it, that's why some Christians become crooked, and never truly yield to the will of God in their lives. They come to be that way because they fail to overcome temptation, to resist the devil, and to tackle the enemy head-on. You see, many people deviate from the straight path God has for them to follow. They go about in the path that seems easy to them. What results is a crooked life - the giving of one's will to something other than the will of God.

I have never sat by the bedside of a one person in over 50 years of ministry and heard that person say, “You know, preacher, living for Jesus wasn’t worth it. I wish I had gone my own way more often.” To the contrary, I’ve heard a number of people say, “Preacher, I wish I had made the decision to do more for the Lord in m lifetime."


We began by looking at the fact that King David submitted his will to God and God's kingdom. He didn't do that all the time, and he suffered because of it. But you need to remember that he learned that God's kingdom was more important than his own. Thus, David sacrifically worked toward something bigger than himself. That is what it means to give your will over to God's will.

Today is a day to recommit our will to His will - to make decisions God's way. It is time to say, “Thy will be done.” This is especially true of someone who has never trusted Christ as your Savior. Today is the day – now is the appointed time. Decide to follow Jesus this very moment.