Today, I offer concrete strategies to improve judgment, helping us make solid decisions in virtually every area of our lives. To be honest, I acknowledge that I’ve been working to improve this area as well.
A few weeks ago (on one of those frigid, windy, -30-degree days), I purchased a “small” palm plant. Our future held no possibility of sunny vacations to sandy beaches with warm lazy days in the sun. So, I bought a little something green to bring home. Only it wasn’t so little! I didn’t realize just how large my “small” purchase was until I brought it into our cozy condo, thereby exposing my error in judgment. When I showed my daughter-in-law, she laughed and said, “That is HUGE!”
A few years ago, another daughter-in-law and I checked pasture fences. As we walked along, we heard rustling in the tall grass. I whispered, “Ah! A bunny!” I gently pulled the grass aside to see a skunk inches away from my feet. Cautiously, I backed away. After running for our lives, we laughed hysterically at my gross error in judgment.
I recently decided my daughters-in-law will not be allowed to contribute to my obituary after I die. Otherwise, everyone would need handfuls of tissues to hold back tears of laughter from the stories they could tell.
Seriously though, we would all be wise to develop our ability in making sound judgments.
#1 Seek Wisdom
This morning, I was reading in Proverbs 9. Both “wisdom” and “folly” hold similar positions on the “highest point of the city.” Both call to those passing by to “turn aside” to their direction. The resulting outcomes stood in direct contrast.
“For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you …”
True wisdom begins with God and leads to understanding.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
However, the choice of “folly” leads to multiple layers of death.
The first key to improve judgment begins by rooting and grounding ourselves in the ways of God. Out of His surpassing wisdom flows sound judgment.
#2 Honest Self-Evaluation
After first seeking wisdom from God, we must honestly evaluate ourselves. Any hidden motives or agendas, sources of envy or jealousy, and areas of pride or arrogance will warp and hinder judgment. To develop the necessary skills to improve judgment demands a deeper, honest approach.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Sheltered in the grace and goodness of our Loving Heavenly Father, He liberates us to evaluate ourselves honestly without condemnation or comparison. Personal insecurities evaporate in His unfailing love.
With an accurate concept of God, seeking His wisdom, and a realistic view of ourselves, God frees us to make solid judgments about people and things.
The preceding verses in Romans also carry gems for us. The first is the consecration of ourselves to God and His ways.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.”
What does this have to do with judgment? Everything!
As we continually recognize God’s mercy toward us, every judgment becomes grounded on His mercy! Through consecration, we offer every aspect of ourselves to Him — our hearts, minds, tongues, hands, feet …
How radically different judgments and decisions become when we lay every area on the altar of complete consecration to God! At the place of consecration, we view people and things in a much different light.
#4 Transformation and Renewal
God resists instantly transforming us, eradicating old patterns of thinking and conditioned behavior. Rather, He enters a partnership of transformation and renewal with each of us. As we surrender and commit ourselves to Him in ever deepening circles of faith and trust, He works with us and through us to bring radical change. Old patterns evaporate. New patterns form.
“Do not conform 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.”
Rather than a suggestion, He straight up commands us to unite with Him in the process — however messy it might be.
Hidden in this passage we find the key. In the transformation and renewal, God improves our judgment to discover “his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Isn’t that what we desire for ourselves and others?
#5 Improve Judgment
My humorous illustrations demonstrate lack of judgment. Unfortunately, all situations I stumble through aren’t funny. But honestly, to improve judgment we need an ability to take God a lot more seriously and ourselves much more lightly.
When we hit the high mark, rejoice! When we miss it, move on! But either way, let’s keep seeking God for the insight we need. After acknowledging and confessing our failures, let’s give ourselves the grace and space to learn from mistakes and step back on track.
Don’t allow the enemy to taunt, “What were you thinking? Were you thinking?”
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.”
God is so much bigger than any past failures. He comes beside us, guiding us into better living, mastering how to make solid judgments. So let’s develop a resilience that allows us to laugh a little more often as we seek His wisdom, evaluate ourselves honestly, consecrate ourselves completely, and co-partner with Him to bring transformation and renewal.