Everything costs something. From buying a bottle of ketchup to getting married, every action has a cost.
But, have you considered the cost of not?
Decide not to exercise? There’s a cost. Choose not to do your homework? Cost. Opt not to pay your taxes? High cost. Wise Christians count the cost of doing and the cost of not doing. So how do you know when it’s wise to do and not to do? That’s the question.
Below are five filters for evaluating if you should do or not to do something.
- Will it contradict God’s command? Always obey God’s clear commands from the Bible. Align your actions, because He knows how life works best and He loves you. If you can’t find a command, then see if God has provided a principle. King David wrote that God’s word was a lamp for his feet lighting his path not because it commanded every decision he should make, but because its practical principles gave him guidance (Psalm 119:105). Chances are someone else in Scripture has faced a similar situation. See how God led them and follow suite.
- Is it the best time? Proverbs 27:14 says, “If you wake your friend in the early morning by shouting ‘Rise and shine!’ it will sound to him more like a curse than a blessing.” Solomon is saying, even the right action at the wrong time makes it the wrong action. So, before you begin, ask yourself if now is the best time to proceed?
- Will it help or hurt others? Our actions impact others. An entire generation of Israelites missed out on entering the Promised Land because 10 men did not trust God (Numbers 13). Before choosing not to do, consider if it will it help or hurt others. God often guides us by the impact to others.
- Will it multiply your opportunities? Unsure what to do? Follow Paul’s example. He multiplied his opportunities even in prison. That decision led to many coming to faith even within Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22). Consider the course of action that leads to more opportunities.
- Will it help you fulfill God’s mission in the world? Jesus commissioned us to make disciples wherever we go (Matthew 28:19-20). That’s why we are here. So, before deciding not to do something, ask yourself if your choice will hinder or help you accomplish your God-given, disciple-making mission.