Jesus said . . .
“Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37, NLT).
I read recently that 80 percent of our intentions never happen.
When I read that statistic, I thought, “I need to record this in a file to be used with Interruptions later.” Didn’t happen! And I’ve just spent 15 minutes trying to find the original source for 80 percent of our intentions never happen.
Now, I need to qualify the statement to this – we too often know that we should do something and don’t do it.
The Bible talks about having a “yes” and “no” decision-making system. The book of James also says . . .
But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned (James 5:12, NLT).
A research article from Harvard Business Review, which I did file, explains how we make decisions. The article indicated that our best intentions go through five stages to make a lasting decision.
The stages are . . .
- Precontemplation of a decision or thinking about it for a few years
- Contemplation, or thinking about the decision for a few more years
- Preparation, or finally buying that gym membership
- Action, as in getting up at 5 a.m. to actually go to the gym
- Maintenance, or forming a habit of a 5 a.m. gym routine and losing 20 lbs, which, by the way, never happens
Of course, the Harvard article was more positive than my snide comments in italics above. But I think we get the point that Jesus was correct when He said . . .
“Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’”
It’s less stressful to just stop thinking of going to the gym. However, the book of James says . . .
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it (James 4:17).
Losing weight, exercising, praying, attending church, or cleaning the garage all carry the weight of conscience. Feeling guilty, with the best intentions, we put these actions on our “to do.” And then, 80 percent of the time (still can’t find the source), we feel better about placing items on a list but still do nothing at all!
The Apostle Paul talks about his decision-making below . . .
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it (Romans 7:15).
Well, if the great Apostle Paul had failed best intentions – I guess we can all feel better about ourselves.
Not so fast. As Paul continues . . .
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24).
That’s the solution. Saying “yes” to Jesus and allowing Him to set us free.
(If you can find the 80 percent statistic in an article or book, please let me know.)