“A prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15 NIV.

Never make a permanent decision about a temporary circumstance.

My thoughts and comments today are about “prudence.”

A satisfying life is about making good decisions, giving careful, deliberate thought to your next step before taking it. “The wise in heart will be called prudent.” Proverbs 16:21. The prophet Hosea added, “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know [these things]. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them.” Hosea 14:9.

Life flourishes through prudence, a word seldom heard and a lifestyle rarely practiced. Its origin is Latin and relates to our English word, “provident – to look and plan ahead.” Some years ago, IBM chose a single word to describe their company’s creed, “Think!” Apparently from some regretted past experiences, someone else observed, “Act in haste; repent at leisure.” Obviously this advice urges that you examine every choice, weighing both risk and reward. Before ever hearing those witticisms, my grandmother taught me about prudence with these words, “Look before you leap.” My Dad’s advice was even more succinct, “Allen, use your head.” That’s good, practical wisdom capsulized. Life lived in a hurry is not always as wise as it could or should be. I have found the following,  practical thoughts to be prudent.

Never make a permanent decision about a temporary circumstance. Circumstances change; your decisions might endure. “A prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15 NIV. The necessity of the moment, or the insistence of your emotions, or the pressure of a situation will coerce you to make choices imprudently. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NIV. When making significant decisions, don’t look around; look ahead. The foolish live in the moment; the wise consider their future.

Consider creative alternatives. There is always a creative option. “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.” Proverbs 14:8 NIV. There is always another way to do what’s important, and there is enough time to consider what is best. Usually in the pressure and hurry to make a decision, you may choose the thing most obvious while failing to consider other, better options. Slow the process; pray about your decision; think Biblically; ask for Godly wisdom. Be assured, “The steps of the Godly are directed of the Lord, and He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 NLT.

Don’t guess; be knowledgeable. “The prudent are crowned with knowledge . . The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge; the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Proverbs 14:18/18:15. Don’t assume you know everything. Gather the facts; welcome others’ counsel; reflect on past experiences.

Don’t let your expectations exceed your resources. Be realistic now, while you look and plan for a better future. Among much my Dad taught me, I have been most benefited by his principles of financial stewardship. If you don’t have what you need now, then wait and work until you have it. Everything cannot be the way you wish it were, nor happen as quickly as you would prefer. Be patient; allow God time and opportunity to provide what you lack. See Philippians 4:19.

Today, my prayer for you is that you live prudently and choose wisely.