Look at the heroes of our faith throughout the Bible.

In Genesis 22, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Um, no one is going to decide to do that in the moment. But in the past Abraham had pre-decided, My God is always trustworthy, so whatever he asks me to do, I will obey and honor him. (Thankfully, God let good ol’ Abe off the hook.)

In Ruth chapter one, we find Ruth and her sister Orpah with their mother-in-law, Naomi. Times are tough and getting worse. Naomi is headed back to her hometown, where her prospects are no better. Naomi tells the girls to stay and make new, better lives for themselves. It is the choice that gives them the best chances, so Orpah agrees to leave. But Ruth had pre-decided to make Naomi her ride-or-die: Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your God will be my God.

Ruth had pre-decided her commitment to Naomi.

Then there’s Daniel. He and his friends were essentially taken hostage and forced to live in a foreign land. Constant attempts were made to brainwash them into thinking like their captors and eating the food they ate. Yet Daniel believed eating the king’s food would dishonor God. We read in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved …” We could say, “Daniel pre-decided.” It says, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”

Daniel didn’t wait to get to the dining room, where he might have been tempted to go against his values by the perfectly seared tomahawk ribeye and the molten-chocolate lava cake. No, he pre-decided, My values will be determined by God, not others. I will honor my God with my choices.

Daniel pre-decided his commitment to God.

When we decide now what we will do later, with God’s help, we will determine our course of action before the moment of decision. It will look like this:

 

When faced with [situation], I have pre-decided to [action].

 

For instance: “When I begin to worry, I will read 1 Peter 5:7, pray, and give the burden to God.”

Or “When I’m tempted to make an impulse purchase of more than fifty dollars, I will wait at least three days before I decide whether to buy it.”

Or “When I have written an angry email, I will sleep on it before deciding to hit send.”

If you were to start applying everything we have discussed so far in making pre-decisions, how might that positively affect your life? Here are three immediate benefits…

 

Craig Groeschel, Think Ahead: 7 Decisions You Can Make Today for the God-Honoring Life You Want Tomorrow (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2024), 7–9.


We have just released a 8-week study on the topic: Think Ahead by Craig Groeschel. You can get it on Amazon. It is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking.