I can’t tell you…not precisely, that is.You have to decide for yourself.
Each person must ponder this, because transformation looks different for each person.
Will one of the decisions be a single act that immediately empowers, such as setting boundaries to protect oneself from a toxic relationship? Will a person decide to eliminate a destructive pattern? Or will the list represent a commitment to four daily habits that change a person a little at a time?
I can’t tell you.
Your four decisions are yours to make. You may need to: (1) make one bold decision that will change the course of your life forever, (2) decide to stop a deadening habit in its tracks, and (3, 4) invite two new life-giving activities into your daily routine. Your life has different challenges than mine; you are at a different place in life. Your four decisions will, most likely, be different than mine.
But isn’t it exciting to think that even one decision faithfully implemented could set a powerful course for the future?
Allow me to pass along what I’ve heard. On Sunday, the guest preacher at our church was our pastor’s 81-year-old dad whose energy and enthusiasm for memorizing Scripture and spending time with the Lord made it hard not to listen to his message and want what he’s got.
A pastor himself, he said that many years ago he was reading a secular book that asked the reader what four decisions could you make that, should you implement them, would transform your life? Though the book was secular, he answered each one with a spiritual emphasis.
Pastor Kirk’s Four Life-Transforming Decisions:
- Work out/exercise daily. He joined a gym and I think he said that decision has stuck. His trim build, lively mind, and boundless energy attested to the benefits of daily exercise.
- Journal daily. He said this lasted about three years. I guess it’s not for everyone.
- Memorize Scripture daily. This decision, he said, he has faithfully implemented for decades. Memorizing the Word of God—and believing it—absolutely transformed his life.
- Give the Lord the first hour of every day. This, he said, he has probably done about 60 percent of the time since he first committed to it. And now that his pastoral duties have lessened as he nears retirement, he gets to spend even more time with the Lord and exclaimed how rich it was. “I don’t even have words to describe it,” he said.
Ann Kroeker’s Four Life-Transforming Decisions:
Obviously I haven’t finalized my four life-transforming decisions, but I’m pretty sure daily exercise will make the list. After reading Brain Rules, I’m realizing the importance of a lifelong commitment to regular exercise for improving brain function as well as maximizing physical, psychological and emotional health.
Pastor Kirk inspired the daily discipline of Scripture memory. I used to host Mega Memory Month, but when others began providing so much more direction and encouragement in the area of memorization, I decided to leave it in better hands. So I won’t be leading the call to memorization anymore.
I will, however, be plugging away on my own. As Pastor Kirk said, “It’s believing the word of God—and the Holy Spirit at work—that transforms us. It’s not just knowing the Word of God—you have to believe it. But before you believe it, you have to know it…you can’t believe that which you do not know.”
Our church is memorizing one verse per month. “I always say take one verse a week,” Pastor Kirk said. “You have a verse a month. And that’s good. Now master it…and let it master you.”
Would I over-complicate the list if I include sub-points? Under the umbrella called “solitude,” I’d like to squeeze daily journaling, prayer, Bible reading, and time alone with God.
I’m pondering the transformational power of art: making it, experiencing it, appreciating it, practicing it through fine arts and/or photography on a daily basis. How would that change me?
I’m also wondering how I might commit to a daily writing discipline—what might that look like? A number of pages or words per day? A type of writing? A project-oriented approach? How can that be framed in a way that it becomes a lifelong practice, a habit, a commitment?
- What about my curiosity and love of learning? Is there a decision that could feed that value and keep my mind lively?
- How shall I approach dietary habits?
- What decision will transform relationships?
As my list of possibilities grows longer and I contemplate what to include, how do I keep this from turning into something as meaningless as a list of New Year’s resolutions?
Like I said, I don’t have answers for myself quite yet—as you can see, at this point I have mostly questions—but I believe that committing to a few carefully selected decisions will set the course for my life.
This long-range thinking reminds me of a passage from The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer:
The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God.
I want to take my time, and choose well.
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