Jesus' Foolproof Plumb Line for Making Decisions

Every day we make decisions—hundreds of them. 

How should I spend my time and money? 

With which organization should I volunteer? 

Whom shall I invite over for dinner? 

Should we remodel the kitchen or go on vacation? 

Some choices are easy to make and others are agonizing. An over-thinker by nature, I often struggle with decisions. In my Bible reading today I found a plumb line we can use to guide every choice. This simple sentence from the life of Jesus cuts to the heart of every decision we’ll make in our lives:

“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem” (Luke 13:22). 

This sentence appears smack dab in the middle of Jesus’ ministry, months or perhaps a year or more before he died for the sins of mankind on a cross outside Jerusalem. Yet the shadow of the cross had already stretched across his agenda. No matter where he went, no matter what he did, it was always there on the horizon. 

Jesus’ ultimate goal, the driving force of his earthly life was give his life as a ransom for many (Mat. 20:28). He held every decision up to the plumb line of this ultimate purpose. When Satan tempted him with power and wealth, he said no, because saying yes would hinder his purpose. When the people of Jerusalem wanted to make him king, he said no, because saying yes would hinder his purpose. When he prayed in the Garden, “Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me,” he added, “not my will, but yours be done,” because deliverance from the cross would hinder his purpose. 

We, too, have a purpose. The over-arching goal of every Christian’s life should be, as the Westminster Catechism states, “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Against this plumb line we can hold any decision we need to make and gain a clear sense of direction. 

Buy a bigger house or give more money to God’s work? 

Accept a leadership position at a secular non-profit or volunteer at my church? 

Invite only my closest friends over for dinner or step out of my comfort zone and include my unsaved neighbors? 

Watch that movie that pushes the envelope or change the channel? 

Join the gossip at work or say something positive, change the subject, or walk away? 

Vent my anger or take a deep breath, pray for patience, and respond kindly? 

When we “make (our) way to Jerusalem,” we live with a singular purpose—to advance the kingdom of God. Thankfully, unlike our Savior, God seldom requires us to lay down our physical life for his kingdom, but, like Christ, God will use our obedience to accomplish his work in the world. 

So the next time you face a decision, hold up your plumb line. Ask yourself, how can I best glorify God? And there you will find your answer. 

Now it’s your turn. How do you make decisions with an eye toward God’s purpose for your life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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