Every day we make choices. And those choices accumulate and eventually become our life story. What story do you want your life to tell? What would your life look like if you became an expert at aligning those choices with biblical principles?
Bible Gateway interviewed Craig Groeschel (@craiggroeschel) about his book, Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life (Zondervan, 2017).
Does every decision really matter? Even the decision between a cheeseburger or chicken bites for lunch?
Craig Groeschel: Some decisions are obviously much more inconsequential than others. For example, let’s say you choose the blue shirt over the red one; not much is likely to change. And in your example, red meat over white meat once a week won’t likely make a huge difference in your health. But if you believe that grilled chicken is healthier than a cheeseburger, your lunch choice might cause you to pause; especially if you know that the cheeseburger also comes with fries and a large chocolate shake.
Without going overboard, we’re wise to remember that decisions often compound. When we generally make healthy choices about food (or wise choices about life), we tend to move in the right direction, living as we believe God wants us to live. If we make an intentional exception for a special treat or for a diversion, that might not be a big deal. But if we step off the best path, we’re tempted to detour into more unwise choices. In that case, your decision does matter.
Without being legalistic, we should be careful and wise in all decisions we make (Ephesians 5:15-17).
You talk a lot about flossing in your book. Why is that so important?
Craig Groeschel: In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg writes about “keystone habits.” A keystone habit leads to other positive habits and disciplines. These positive traits start a chain reaction that produces other positive outcomes. The presence of these important habits help you become more faithful in other areas of your life. On the other hand, the absence of these key disciplines can impact you negatively.
I write about flossing with some exaggeration for effect. Personally, I hate flossing. So this is the first discipline I quit when I am stressed. But if I stop this one important habit, then I might be tempted to cheat on my eating plan, stay up too late, or skip my Bible reading. If I stay faithful in doing something that I don’t enjoy, I tend to believe that I’m disciplined. Therefore, I eat better, go to bed on time, and stay in God’s Word. In Divine Direction, I want to help readers find the important habits that lead to the life God wants for them.
Explain your statement, “God loves you so much you have a choice.”
Craig Groeschel: God could have programmed us as robots to do whatever he tells us, but then we’d never have the freedom to love and worship him. Because God loves us, he gives us the freedom to make choices. That’s good news if we choose wisely. But it also gives us the capacity to sin.
Start. Stop. Stay. Go. Those are the first four decisions you challenge readers to consider. Briefly unpack those.
I encourage readers to make these four important divinely directing decisions:
- With prayer, you may be able to start one discipline or habit that will overflow into many more positive, God-honoring traits.
- Most of us could stop doing something that’s hindering our passion for Jesus and effectiveness in following him.
- As we’re growing closer to God, I ask readers to decide when God wants them to stay planted exactly where they are.
- Then there are those times when they’ll have to take a step of faith to move forward and go. To step toward your destiny, you may have to step away from your security.
In each big decision, we’ll always make them by faith (Hebrews 11:6).
What role does the Bible play in helping people discern the correct decisions they need to make every day?
Craig Groeschel: The Bible is the best and most important tool in discerning direction from God. God’s Word instructs us, teaches us, guides us, encourages us, convicts us, and helps conform us to the image of Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Unfortunately, the Bible won’t tell you directly, “Thou shalt take the new job in marketing…” or “Thou shalt go directly from undergraduate school to honor me in graduate school.” While the Bible doesn’t speak to some of our specific decisions, it does speak to every decision about who God wants us to become.
God’s will is clear about many things. We’re to be holy (1 Thessalonians 4:3). I like the metaphor that his Word is a lamp to our feet (Psalm 119:105). A lamp may help guide my next one or two steps, but it’s not a crystal ball into the future.
In practical terms, what does it mean to trust God?
Craig Groeschel: That’s a great question. It’s not easy to trust in a God you can’t see. That’s why so many want God to prove himself so we can trust him. In reality, God wants us to trust him so he can prove himself.
Scripture teaches us that we should trust God and not lean on our own wisdom or understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). To do this, we have to strive to know God intimately, walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). This may not be easy at first, but it starts with simple obedience. Obedience is our responsibility. The outcome is God’s responsibility. As we learn to trust him with our future, trust him with those we love, trust him as our provider, and trust his sovereign plan, that gives us the foundation to step out in faith. We can trust that he’ll always be faithful.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway?
Craig Groeschel: Twenty-nine years ago, I came to faith in Christ after a gentleman from the Gideon’s International gave me a free copy of the New Testament Bible. I started in Matthew and read all the way to Ephesians 2 when it finally clicked for me. After reading about salvation by grace through faith, I cried out to Jesus for his forgiveness and surrendered my whole life to Him. At that moment, I became a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Because my life was changed by God’s Word, I love every organization that helps people know him through his Word. Our church was honored to create the YouVersion Bible App that we passionately give away. I’m equally grateful for Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App that helps make Scripture accessible to people all over the world. I’m personally grateful for the leaders at Bible Gateway and pray that together we can all help spread the love of Jesus through God’s Word!
Bio: New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative and pacesetting church meeting in multiple locations around the United States and globally online. He’s the author of several books, including #Struggles, Fight, Soul Detox, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma.
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