Ben Franklin Or God?

When a big decision looms in your future, how do you decide what to do?

Some Christians I know run to people they consider friends and ask their advice.  They consult with many people to get a variety of perspectives. They seek people they believe “know them” and can give them “good advice.”

That thinking often leads to confusion and bad decisions. Too many choices create havoc in the decision-making process. All those perspectives are from humans–people who may or may not have the person’s best interests at heart. These “friends” offer advice, usually on the spot, because someone asks. The final decision won’t impact them, so their commitment to the advice they give becomes inconsequential.

Still others offer advice based on what they’d do in a situation, not what may be the best for the one asking for advice. These folks preface their advice with, “If I were you . . .” But they’re not. It’s impossible for someone else to know all the details, ramifications and the factors that weigh on a decision someone else makes.

Some folks use the Ben Franklin T-Square method. They weigh the pros against the cons. They put the “Pros” (all the reasons to make a choice) on the left side of the page. Then they put the “Cons” (all the reasons NOT to make a choice) on the right side. They look at both sides of the page and make their decision. They base their decision on logic and analysis of the pros and cons. I’ve seen these people in action. They fill legal pads with their pros and cons and analysis.

Ben’s decision-making process has its flaws. For instance, people can make decisions before they create their T-Square. Then they create a T-Square to justify their decision. Some folks assign weights to the pros or cons they need to justify their decisions. That adds a degree of subjectivity to their “objective” decision.

Franklin’s T square decisions are logical but temporal. They lack wisdom. We can’t make wise choices without seeking guidance from God. He knows us better than any person. God knows us better than we know ourselves.

The Bible gives us examples of people who think they know how to make decisions without God. Remember the Tower of Babel? Those folks thought they were pretty smart.

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.” Genesis 11:1-9

James says, “. . .the wisdom from above (from God) is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” James 3:17-18. Wouldn’t you like your decisions to meet those criteria? You won’t get that wisdom from people or Ben Franklin. You can get plenty of advice, some bad, some better. But the only One who can give you WISDOM is God.

Job teaches us,

“Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. Job 28:21,22,27,28.

If you need to make a decision, do you want advice?  Do you want man’s perspective? Ask your friends and use Ben Franklin’s logical, T-Square method. You’ll get plenty of advice and logic upon which you can make a natural, worldly decision.

Or would you rather get wisdom and the answer God can provide? If you’d rather have wisdom and a decision that keeps you in God’s will, seek your answer from above.

13 thoughts on “Ben Franklin Or God?

  1. Benjamin Franklin has always been a hero to me. My father-in-law who too was Pennsylvanian was cut from the same cloth. I have been looking forthe quote that Mr. Franklin was to have answered when he was asked on his birthday, “How is Mr.Franklin?” and he likened himself to his house which was also getting old. Does anybody know that quote?


  2. Dear Brother Steven, I have already commented on this post over at Christian Blessings, but I will just add the seeking God’s guidance for making decisions does not involve just one brief prayer session, a flash of a notion and then leaping out! I have found, and been taught by very wise elders, that we should seek confirmation of our first flash in inspiration about which choices to make. “Seek, and ye shall find.” He WILL be faithful to give us that confirmation, often through moving other people and unexpected little trivia to speak to us. Even my pets have been vehicles, upon occasion! Praise be!


    1. You are absolutely right, granbee. I probably should have included confirmation in my discussion. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. You always offer very helpful and encouraging comments. I appreciate you.


  3. Fallible mankind or an infallible God? Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Yes, we all need to seek God for His wisdom which never fails. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Wonderful message, Steve! I often sought and received a lot of advice when writing my book and I can tell you that it was the peace of God that ultimately led me. The other voices only distracted me and confused me.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to advice though because God tells us to listen to advice. But we need to discern between the ungodly and godly advice. I have noticed that God will speak something through others that He has first spoken to me. If I have ignored His voice, He will send someone to remind me. That is the advice I know comes from God. That is why peace needs to lead us. God always leads in peace. We will feel at peace when we follow God’s advice.

    BTW, just saw a biography on Ben Franklin last night. Wouldn’t exactly follow much advice from him after watching that, lol! Didn’t exactly live a moral life.


    1. You are so right, Amanda. Listening to advice is not bad, just so you apply discernment, as you say, to the voices. Dr. Charles Stanley teaches that God’s choices for us never cause confusion or misunderstanding. God’s choices for us always bring us peace, serenity and confidence. Great comments, Amanda, good to hear from you.


  5. “If you’d rather have wisdom and a decision that keeps you in God’s will, seek your answer from above.” Amen!


  6. This is great advice, Steven! “Seek first His Kingdom..”
    Sometimes His wisdom comes to us slowly when we want a fast answer, but His wisdom does come to us.


    1. Amen, thank you, Susan. And you’re right, Most, if not all, of God’s decisions come to us slowly, deliberately, and according to His plan for us. Great comments.


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