Have you ever done something without thinking about it first? The obvious answer is that we all have. Multiple times. Of course, some things we just do automatically without giving it a single thought—like putting on our seatbelts. Some things we do instinctively—like trying to catch someone who starts to fall in front of us. There isn’t any forethought to actions like these—it’s just the way we’ve trained ourselves to respond.
But, there are other kinds of actions that do allow for some forethought and consideration before actually engaging in them. Of course, the range of the variety of these kinds of actions is extensive—such as, how I respond to a hateful message, what words I allow to escape from my mouth or my typing fingers, whether I choose to drink or lie or steal or gamble, what I do with my free time, who I befriend, who I marry, etc.
Whatever the action may be, there are some considerations that we should have before we engage in them. First, let us consider this all-important question: How will this affect my relationship with God? In all of the questions we may ask, there is none more important than this.
If I take this action, will God be pleased? My goal in life should be to “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him” (Col. 1:10). As we consider some action, it would be wise to ask, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?” (Gal. 1:10).
If I take this action, will I be violating the revealed will of God? The Bible truly is “a lamp to my feet” (Psa. 119:105), and without it, I would have no idea what the will of God is (1 Cor. 2:10-13). Thus, I must be careful, in all I do, to “not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deut. 5:32).
If I take this action, will it separate me from God, because it is a sin? Is what I am considering doing worth risking my soul (Matt. 10:28) and worth eternal separation from God in hell (Rom. 6:23)?
If I take this action, will it lead me to additional sinful actions? Jesus said that “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34), for once I “let sin reign” in me, I will “obey it in its lusts” (Rom. 6:12) and give in to more sin. I need to stop the first one before it leads to more sin!
If I take this action, do I foresee that I will then need to ask for forgiveness? If I commit some sinful action with the plan to later ask God to forgive me, the Bible calls that (among other things) sinning “willfully,” for which a “fearful expectation of judgment” awaits (Heb. 10:26-27).
I need to ask myself, “What about me and God?”