B i b l e   S t u d y

Lesson: Good Judgment and Common Sense

Email: info@icogsfg.org


GOLDEN TEXT:  Psalms 111:10


Common sense is indeed a most uncommon trait. Who, after all, could help but notice that one great reason for the sad state of affairs in society today is the lack of plain old common sense? The fact that common sense is not very common forms a challenge for those who serve in leadership positions. It seems that leaders need to develop good judgment and common sense.

How can we develop the good judgment and common sense necessary to serve people and lead one's own life effectively?

1. Does every man assume he is right in his own eyes? (Proverbs 21:2.)

Note: Most of us, as a quirk of human nature, tend to believe that we possess good judgment.

2. What did Solomon say? (Proverbs 14:12).

What did Jeremiah and Isaiah say? Jeremiah 10:23, Isaiah 55:7-9).

Note: We do develop certain mental instincts automatically; but not good judgment. As Jeremiah said, "The way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps."

3. What Is Good Judgment? The terms common sense, good judgment and wisdom are really about equivalent. To understand what good judgment or wisdom or common sense is, we must first define some other terms.

What is Knowledge? Are we to gain knowledge? (Proverbs 10:14 and 15:14).

What is the beginning of Knowledge? (Proverbs 1:7).

Note: Knowledge is the accumulation of facts. Numerous verses tell us to gain knowledge.

4. What is Understanding? (Proverbs 3:13, 4:5, 7).

Note: Understanding is the ability to perceive what the facts (knowledge) say about the world. This is an important distinction and deserves some thought. We all know people who seem to have good memories yet really don't seem to understand their subjects. An inept car mechanic illustrates the point. He may know the parts of your car, but because he does not understand how these parts work together, he cannot find the malfunction to fix it.

5. What is Wisdom? (Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 2:2). Where does Wisdom begin? (Proverbs 2:6, 9:10).

Note: Wisdom is also termed good judgment and common sense. Wisdom is the ability to take the facts, with proper understanding of them, and steer a proper and effective course to a desired end or goal. Wisdom is indispensable in making proper decisions. Wisdom is the ability to properly use knowledge.

6. What is Character? Character is the willpower to implement the proper course of action once a right decision is made.

Was Solomon wise? (1 Kings 5:12, 10:4). Did he sin? (Nehemiah 13:26, 1 Kings 11:4).

Note: Solomon is a good example of the distinction between character and wisdom. Solomon possessed knowledge understanding and wisdom, but apparently did not always have the character to do the right thing. When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD.

7. Letís look at the Wisdom of This World Versus the Wisdom of God. Sound-minded judgment comes from God. This type of common sense or wisdom is far different from the way that seems right to man and never would win acclaim from people. Letís notice the difference between the two:

Was the apostle Paulís speech and preaching composed of persuasive words of human wisdom, or with the power of God? (1 Corinthians 2:1-13).

Note: These verses show that Paul did not use the wisdom of this world, but instead, his reasoning was based upon Godís Son who died for us.

8. Does James say that earthly wisdom is sensual and demonic? (James 3:15-17). Does James then say that wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy, without partiality and without hypocrisy?

Note: The wisdom from above and the wisdom of this world are compared.

9. Does Paul say that to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace? (Romans 8:6).

Note: Man's way of thinking, including his system of logic and his type of judgment or wisdom, is called the way that leads to death. But the wisdom of God leads to eternal life. Carnal wisdom brings death. Spiritual common sense brings eternal life.

10. Are Godís thoughts and ways higher than manís thoughts and ways? (Isaiah 55:7-9).

Note: It is as if there are two separate systems of logic - Man's and God's. God plainly tells us that His thoughts and His ways are not our ways. We, of course, wish to learn the good judgment and common sense of God and not the wrong reasoning of man. It is important, therefore, to understand this: Although a carnal mind and a spiritual mind both reason with a physical brain, and both follow the same general steps in their reasoning, each many times reaches a far different conclusion about a matter than the other.

11. Is there a God in heaven who reveals secrets? (Daniel 2:28). Does God reveal secrets through His Spirit? (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). Does man have a Ďspirit in maní in him? Can only the Spirit of God reveal the deep things of God?

Note: Here are the differences in the way a carnal mind reasons and the way a spiritual mind reasons. It is these differences that account for the difference in man's judgment and God's judgment. When forming an opinion or judgment, the carnal mind uses only the information or facts that it can gather through the five senses. It excludes all other facts and therefore remains in ignorance of them. The spiritual mind, on the other hand, takes into account revealed knowledge from God. Adam and Eve rejected revealed knowledge from God in the Garden of Eden.

For example, one who reasons carnally will not tithe because he will not believe that his income will cover his needs. He will look at his budget and see that the physical facts say that. But a converted mind will accept additional facts about tithing that the carnal mind does not -- namely, that God will provide our needs if we tithe.

A carnal mind will reason differently from a spiritual mind because the ultimate goal of the carnal mind is to merely reach temporary physical goals such as wealth, power and status . The spiritual mind is working toward unseen, eternal life in God's Kingdom.

For example, a carnal mind will grieve if it has to suffer wrongfully, while a spiritual mind can glory since it knows that the character built thereby works toward-the-Kingdom of God.

12. Our motives affect the way we think. They color our conclusions. Carnal manís motive is to get and glorify himself. God's motive is to give. Was Christís motive to glorify God or Himself? (John 7:17-18).

Note: People have different motives. Jesus Christ said His motive was to glorify God and not Himself. For that reason, His listeners could believe what He said, knowing that there was no unrighteousness in Him.

No matter how hard man may try to be "objective" and "fair" with the facts, he cannot be impartial when his motive is self-centered. In fact, it is for this very reason that men reject God in their moral decisions, such as about premarital sex. Their motives (to do what they want) color their thinking.

13. People have different values. Judgments are made when facts are considered. In addition to using different facts than God does, people also weigh those facts differently in their minds.

Do men try to justify themselves before men? (Luke 16:15). Does God know their hearts? Are things that men esteem highly an abomination in the sight of God?

Note: Menís values may be important to them but these values are not important to God and sometimes they are an abomination to God.

14. Do people value power, fame, wealth, appearance and the things of the world? (1 John 2:15-16). Do the things of the world include the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? If you love the world is the love of the Father in you?

If you have Godís spiritual mind will you value the things of God? (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Will you value and exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness? Does God delight in these things?

Does Luke 10:38-42 show an excellent example of this? Who invited Jesus into her house? What was her sisterís name? What did each sister do?

Note: Mary thought it logical to sit at Christ's feet and hear His words, because she valued the things of God, while Martha thought it was more important to be cumbered about with much serving. They were both doing what they thought was right, but they reasoned differently because they had different values.

15. Are we to count it joy when we fall into various trials? (James 1:2). Are trials of your faith more precious than gold that perishes? (1 Peter 1:7).

Note: When we have the values of God we will have a different view on that of suffering. Men eschew all suffering and believe it to be bad. The spiritual mind instead "counts it all joy" when a trial occurs because of the good character it will produce.

16. Good Judgment Can Be Learned.

A. Since we are not born with godly judgment, we must be trained. But as obvious as this seems, it is good to emphasize that common sense and good judgment can be learned. Just as surely as some wrongly believe that we are born with good judgment, others will believe that it is impossible to rise above their present state of thinking.

Should we incline our ears to wisdom? (Proverbs 2:1-10). Should we apply our heart to understanding? Should we cry out for discernment? Should we try to understand the fear of the Lord? Who gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding? (Verse 6).

Note: These verses state dogmatically that we can increase our knowledge, understanding and wisdom or good judgment. The key to learning good judgment is to realize this: Good judgment consists not in memorizing every possible answer to every possible problem, but rather in learning the relatively few principles of godly thinking and applying these principles to each unique problem as it arises.

17. The Elements of Good Judgment and Common Sense. The following principles provide a foundation for wise thinking and good judgment. Strive to learn these principles, and you will be learning good judgment in the process.

Ask If Something Is Right or Wrong?

One who wishes to exercise godly judgment will first ask if what he is about to do is morally right or wrong. Today people in our society do not do this. In fact, they do the opposite. Scientists many times brag that they do not wish to introduce questions of right or wrong into their research. Today people instead ask themselves, "Do I want to do this?" or "Will this make money?" They don't care if it is right or wrong.

Will some people call evil good, and good evil? (Isaiah 5:20). Will they prefer darkness for light, and light for darkness? Bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter?

Note: A godly person knows he will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7), and knows that a good decision must be morally right. He will do what is right even if the wrong way is what he carnally wants to do, or even if it will make him some money.

A good example of this principle would be a landlord who unfairly raises rent on a widow because he wants to make the extra money. It may be financially sound to raise the rent, but morally wrong and therefore not something a spiritually minded person with sound judgment would do.

18. Letís continue with the next point in Good Judgment Can Be Learned:

B. Consistency.

Is Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever? (Hebrews 13:8).

Note: One great principle of the Bible is that our living God is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" This consistency, this utter reliability, is at the heart of the perfect running of the universe itself. Yet we humans sometimes fall out of harmony with this maxim. But realize this: One who is inconsistent, wavering from one side to the other, must be wrong at least part of the time.

Being consistent does not mean being stubborn or refusing to change when wrong. It means, rather, that you always arrive at the same right conclusion when confronted with the same circumstances.

Even worldly courts understand and at least profess to abide by this principle. They call it Ďstare decisis,í a Latin term meaning to abide by or adhere to decided cases. We know it is the same system of relying upon precedent -- that is, the practice of deciding subsequent cases the same way as the first case was decided, as long as there is no compelling reason not to.

19. Letís continue with the next point in Good Judgment Can Be Learned:

C. Balance.

We must constantly strive for the proper balance in our duties under our control. This, of course, does not mean we compromise with sin. Sin is sin and it is always bad and wrong. But we do balance our actions with mercy and judgment. And we must exhibit God's quality of "temperance" (Galatians 5:22-25), doing nothing to excess, but all things that are appropriate in moderation.

D. Objectivity

20. To be objective means to be aware of the emotion of the moment, but not to let it rule our minds and actions. We all know from experience that emotions are powerful forces and that they can affect our judgment.

A person with godly judgment will not let this happen, even if it means that he must delay a decision or an action until he is in control of his emotions and can make a calm and rational decision based upon the facts. God says He is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). God has emotions, but He is always able to exercise control and not allow emotion to cloud His judgment.

Read James 1:20: "The wrath of man works not the righteousness of God." The same could be said of fear, jealousy, revenge and many other destructive emotional states.

E. Sensitivity and Perceptiveness

21. At times, we all seem oblivious to problems or situations. Maybe it is because we don't want to see them, or because we just are insensitive. But a person with good common sense is aware of the subtleties and nuances of each situation under his leadership.

Read Matthew 9:1-4, where we see how sensitive Christ was to the thoughts, moods and motives of those around Him.

Matthew 7:3-5 tells how we may grow to be more sensitive. Another way we may become more sensitive is through experiences. Through experiences we learn - what the warning or tell-tale signals of a problem are, so we can decipher problems early when we see similar symptoms again.

F. Experience

22. Experience is more than just a teacher of sensitivity, however. The ability to learn by experience - both our own and those of others - is a profound quality mastered by relatively few people. The old saying is true: "The one thing we have learned from history is that we have never learned anything from history."

This is not to say that you should sin so you will be an authority on the subject. It means merely that you learn from the past so you can do repeat successes and do not repeat failures. In fact, if you are able to learn from the experiences of others, you can avoid many mistakes common to man.

In I Corinthians 10:6, God plainly tells us that one reason for the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is so we may learn from the experiences of others so we don't have to repeat their mistakes.

G. Moot Points

23. Good judgment many times requires tough decisions between difficult alternatives. But one with common sense also realizes this: Some decisions don't have be made! Sometimes it doesn't make any difference what you do. There indeed are such things as "no-win" and "no-lose" situations. Frankly, merely knowing that sometimes you cannot win or cannot lose helps you look for this type of situation and gives you the confidence to sit back and do nothing when you should do nothing.

H. Dealing With the Obvious

24. When making decisions or judgments we must not overlook the obvious. Yet many people do. Many answers are right out in the open if we will simply see and accept them.

I. Consider the End

25. There is a cause for every effect. That being true, it is wise to consider exactly what final effect our actions will bring. Often people simply do what they wish or what seems right emotionally, without realizing that their actions and attitudes will cause a specific result, good or bad. Galatians 6:7 states the case succinctly: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap."

Roadblocks to Learning Good Judgment

26. With all that has been said about common sense and good judgment, there remains yet this: Human nature can work against itself and block its own quest to learn wise thinking. Here are some roadblocks to straight thinking:

A. Vanity and Self-righteousness

Read Galatians 6:3. Admitting you are wrong is one of the most difficult things to do. Yet to grow in good sense, we must constantly dispose of incorrect ideas. The ability to admit wrong is one important mark of a good leader.

B. Ignorance

Good judgment must be based upon knowledge. If we know little about a subject, we can hardly make decisions concerning it. Therefore an ignorant man cannot be a wise one (Proverbs 1:5).

C. Fear

Making decisions is not easy. It risks opening one to being wrong and ridicule. But if fear makes us shirk from decisions, colors our reasoning or influences our choices, it causes bad judgment. Remember, true courage is not the absence of fear. Without fear there is no need for courage. True courage is the ability to achieve the proper goal in spite of fear.

D. Impatience

Snap decisions made in an effort to get the job over with run a great risk of being wrong. Yet "patience" is not synonymous with "indecisiveness."

E. Laziness

Even Solomon put great effort into learning good judgment, as can be seen by the fact that he collected and memorized so many proverbs and songs (I Kings 4:32). It takes effort to grow in grace and knowledge. You have to work at it. Is it worth working for?

Conclusion

Even before Solomon was given wisdom from God, he was smart enough to see he needed it to rule God's people. That is why he asked for it in the first place. We as leaders, who rule over people, certainly have no less a need for wisdom. The rewards of solid common sense and good judgment are many. As Proverbs 4:7 says, "Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding."

 



Scriptures


Golden Text:    Psalms 111:10 (NKJV) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."


1.(Proverbs 21:2 KJV) Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts.

2. (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV) There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah's Prayer

(Jeremiah 10:23 NKJV) O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

(Isaiah 55:7-9 NKJV) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. {8} "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. {9} "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

3. (Proverbs 10:14 NKJV) Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

(Proverbs 15:14 NKJV) The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.

(Proverbs 1:7 NKJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

4. (Proverbs 3:13 NKJV) Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;

(Proverbs 4:5 NKJV) Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

(Proverbs 4:7 NKJV) Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

5. (Psalms 111:10 NKJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

(Proverbs 2:2 NKJV) So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;

(Proverbs 2:6 NKJV) For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

(Proverbs 9:10 NKJV) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

6. (1 Kings 5:12 NKJV) So the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He had promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty together.

(1 Kings 10:4 NKJV) And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,

(Nehemiah 13:26 NKJV) "Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin.

(1 Kings 11:4 NKJV) For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.

7. (1 Corinthians 2:1-13 NKJV) And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. {2} For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. {3} I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. {4} And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, {5} that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Wisdom From the Spirit

{6} However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. {7} But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, {8} which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. {9} But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." {10} But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. {11} For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. {12} Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. {13} These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

8. (James 3:15-17 NKJV) This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. {16} For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. {17} But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

9. (Romans 8:6 NKJV) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

10. (Isaiah 55:7-9 NKJV) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. {8} "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. {9} "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

11.(Daniel 2:28 NKJV) "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:

(1 Corinthians 2:9-16 NKJV) But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." {10} But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. {11} For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. {12} Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. {13} These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. {14} But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. {15} But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. {16} For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

12. (John 7:17-18 NKJV) "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. {18} "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

13. (Luke 16:15 NKJV) And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

14. Do Not Love the World

(1 John 2:15-16 NKJV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world.

(Jeremiah 9:23-24 NKJV) Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; {24} But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

(Luke 10:38-42 NKJV) Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. {39} And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. {40} But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." {41} And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. {42} "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

15. Trials and Temptations

(James 1:2 NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

(1 Peter 1:7 KJV) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

(1 Peter 1:18 KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

16. Moral Benefits of Wisdom

(Proverbs 2:1-10 NKJV) My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, {2} So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; {3} Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, {4} If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; {5} Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. {6} For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; {7} He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; {8} He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. {9} Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path. {10} When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,

17. (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

18. (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

*************