Those are powerful words, and they are words that have stayed with me to this very day. Over the years, I have applied that wisdom to a number of different situations where I have been responsible for making an important decision. You see, it has been my observation that decision making is a three-tiered process consisting of receiving, researching, and responding. First, one must receive the information necessary to form a decision. Second, one must research the information received, making sure it is accurate and identifying potential options and consequences. This is the most important part of the decision making process! Any decision will only be as sound as the information that was received. Third and finally, after researching the received information, it is time to respond by making a decision.
This three-tiered approach to decision making can be used for just about any decision that has to be made, especially decisions regarding one's salvation. After all, it is a Biblical approach! Consider Acts 17:10-12: "Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men."
Once Paul and Silas arrived at Berea and started preaching, the men and women there had a decision to make. What did they do? First "they received the word with all readiness" (verse 11). They received the information they needed to make their decision. Second, they researched the information they received by "search[ing] the Scriptures daily to find out whether" the things Paul and Silas taught were true (verse 11). They didn't just take what Paul and Silas taught at face value; rather, they researched the scriptures to make sure the information they received was true. Third, they responded by making their decision. What was their response? "Many of them believed..." (verse 12).
Dear friends, when it comes to matters of religion, the Bible, and salvation, are you like the Bereans? Do you receive the word with all readiness and then research what you have been taught to make sure it is in accordance with what the Bible really teaches? Or have you just taken someone's word at face value and made a decision without checking? Friends, when it comes to your salvation, you are responsible! It doesn't matter what I or anyone else tells you; it is up to you to make sure the information you have received is the truth. On the Day of Judgment, each of us will be called to answer for our decisions, and those who have made wrong decisions based upon false or incomplete teaching will only have themselves to blame.