Economic policy makers are facing tough decisions. China needs to let their currency (the Yuan Renminbi) fall to stimulate exports and create jobs. A lower-valued Yuan would make Chinese goods and labor less expensive to the rest of the world.
But more weakness in the Yuan would also motivate further capital flight and could even encourage protectionist sentiments in other countries. Slowing manufacturing, falling stock prices, environmental concerns and massive earlier investments in state owned enterprises (SOEs) add additional complications. Chinese policy-makers face tough decisions.
Similarly, U.S. decision-makers have daunting options. The Federal Reserve had been running out of policy tools after holding interest rates near zero for nearly a decade. In the December meeting, they raised the interest rate one-quarter of one percent. At the same meeting, they also announced intentions to raise rates about 1 percent during 2016. The Fed raised rates because of concern about price bubbles in stocks and other financial assets, excessive speculation, and to increase their options should the economy need a boost down the road.
Since the December increase in rates, and some would argue because of them, stocks around the world have fallen, the energy sector continues to decline, and the dollar is strong relative to most currencies. Should the Fed follow through with their intentions to raise rates? Should the Fed reverse its December increase? The Federal Reserve faces tough decisions.
As citizens in the kingdom and as His ministers, we often face tough decisions. We will have difficult choices in our families, vocations, churches and ministries. Some will be relatively small, some will be life-changing, and others will have eternal consequences. A pattern of decisions which are filled with God's wisdom, in line with biblical principles, and have the blessing of the Holy Spirit is necessary to fulfill our purpose.
The following principles should help in making tough decisions.
Follow the mandates of the Bible. Many decisions are "tough" because we want to figure out a way not to do what the Bible clearly dictates. Sometimes following society's mores or our own flesh appears easier than following God's Word. A choice which violates the Bible is not a choice we should ever consider. The Bible and world history are filled with examples of poor outcomes because of poor choices made in violation of God's Word.
Obtain as much information as possible. Sometimes decisions are "tough" because we have not done our homework. Due diligence requires time and effort. With today's technology, information and data can be obtained and analyzed quickly. Wise counsel from Christians who have experienced similar choices will provide invaluable insight.
Be careful of appearances. When the livestock of Abraham and Lot became too great for the land to support them, they separated. Lot was given the choice of where to reside and he chose the well-watered Jordan valley (Sodom and Gomorrah). Things were not as they appeared.
Hear from the Lord. Correct decisions and good outcomes always follow hearing divine direction. Isaac planted seed in a drought and reaped a hundredfold return. David defeated the Philistines because he heard the sound of marching in tops of the trees.
Joseph went from slave to administering the most powerful country in the world. Daniel went from slave to advising the king of Babylon. Seek the Lord in prayer and fasting until His voice is heard clearly for all important decisions.
Seek God's wisdom. We are promised the wisdom of God if we will ask in faith without wavering. God's wisdom will change our "tough decisions" into God's decisions. Outcomes will be divine.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and without criticism, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without wavering. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed with the wind" (James 1:5-6, MEV).
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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