The HALT principle is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it is commonly used in substance abuse recovery programs. The HALT principle basically says that you should never make a major decision in your life when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Today, I want to look at this powerful acronym.
1. Never make an important decision when you are Hungry. Luke 4:2 states, "where for forty days Jesus was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry." The devil tried to get Jesus to make a foolish decision motivated by his physical hunger. And yet, hunger is not always about food. It can also refer to an emotional craving as well. For instance, you can be hungry for attention, companionship, success, or spiritual nourishment, just to name a few. We should never make a major decision in life while having an intense craving for someone or something.
2. Never make an important decision when you are Angry. The devil is always trying to get you and me to express our angry in destructive ways. He is always trying to get us to say or do something in a moment of frustration that we will later regret. Yet, the Bible instructs us in Ephesians 4:26, "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." In other words, we should never react out of anger, nor should we allow our anger to fester and grow. The quicker we de-escalate things, the better our lives will be. We should never make an important decision when we are angry.
3. Never make an important decision when you are Lonely. The truth of the matter is you can be lonely in a room full of people. On one extreme, we are lonely because we have been unsuccessful in attracting the right people into our lives. Over time, if we are not careful, we will lower our standards to try to attract the companion we so desperately desire. And on the other extreme, we sometimes intentionally distance ourselves from other people. Why? Simply because we have been hurt in the past and have decided to keep everyone at arm’s length. The problem with this flawed approach to dealing with people is found in Ecclesiastes 4:10-11. It reads, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. (11)Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone." Don’t allow loneliness to motivate you into making a foolish decision.
4. Never make an important decision when you are Tired. It is extremely difficult to make good decisions when you are emotionally, spiritually, or physically exhausted. In fact, when we are fatigued, we fail to pay attention to details. And yet, paying close attention to even the smallest of details is what separates the average from the exceptional. The Bible says it best in Song of Solomon 2:15, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards…" It is the small details that can be the difference between success and failure.
If you want to make better decisions, I encourage you to follow the HALT principle. It can save you from a lot of heartache and regret. I leave you today with the words found in Psalms 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God." Sometimes the best thing to do before making a big decision is to HALT and refocus. Blessings!!!
Pastor Cornell Maltbia is senior pastor at True Holiness Saints Center in Conway. He serves on various nonprofit boards throughout his tenure of community service. For more information or to contact Maltbia, log onto trueholiness.net.