2023 will be full of decisions, and those decisions will largely define your success. But with every decision, there is a risk.
Paul was a professional at making decisions and taking risks. In Acts 15:26, the Bible describes Paul and Barnabas as those “who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NLT). Because Paul took risks, he accomplished so much in his ministry.
Many of you have great dreams for your ministry in 2023. You want to start something new. You want to finally reach a goal you’ve longed to accomplish. But you’re afraid to get started.
The Bible gives us eight great principles for making wise decisions. These are eight practical principles pulled straight from the book of Proverbs that anyone can use.
1. Pray for guidance (Proverbs 28:26). Don’t just depend upon your opinion or intuition. None of us are 100 percent right all the time. Often intuition leads us to the wrong decision. As James 1:5 tells us, we need to ask God for wisdom to make the right decisions.
2. Get the facts (Proverbs 13:16). Get all the information you can to help you make the right choice. Read a book, take a class, watch a seminar, or talk to an expert. Knowledge matters more than enthusiasm. Uneducated enthusiasm is one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail. The owners didn’t get the facts upfront about how to run a successful business.
3. Ask for advice (Proverbs 24:6). Talk to someone who has taken a similar risk. It’s wise to learn from experience, but it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others. You don’t need to make all the mistakes on your own. You simply don’t have time.
In this step, learn to ask good questions. Be prepared to write down those questions when you think about them, so you can ask them when the opportunity comes.
4. Set your goal (Proverbs 17:24). You can’t chase two rabbits at the same time. You must choose what goal to pursue! You don’t have time to do everything. Pick what you want to focus on and do it.
Never take risks just to prove yourself. Make sure you have a clear-cut purpose for every risk. Be like the trapeze artist: Don’t let go of what you’re holding onto until you know what you want to reach for. You don’t need to have the goal within reach, but you need to know what that goal is.
5. Count the cost (Proverbs 20:25). Take a calculated risk. Every risk has a cost. You should know what that cost is ahead of time. Asking these three questions will help you come to grips with what it is.
- Is it necessary? Can you reach your goal any other way?
- What will it cost? Your risk will cost you something in money, time, reputation, and so on. Identify what that cost is.
- Is it worth it? Will the potential profit outweigh that cost?
6. Plan for problems (Proverbs 20:18). You will encounter problems. Something will go wrong. Planning for those problems means you will meet them head on.
Looking ahead for potential problems isn’t being negative. It’s being sensible.
7. Face your fears (Proverbs 14:26). Most of us—particularly leaders—don’t want to admit we’re afraid. We believe it makes us weak. But fear means you’re alive. It’s a warning light. Only fools are never afraid.
Only God can help you face your fears. You must do what you fear. You can’t cope with fear any other way. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is moving ahead despite your fear.
8. Go for it (Proverbs 16:3). At some point, you need to stop talking and developing strategy and start acting.
I know many leaders who have big dreams for how God will use them in ministry, but they never take that last step of faith. Don’t be like that. Take a step toward what God has called you to do.
Pastor, God never meant for you to live a life of safety. Your only ultimate security is in Jesus. To be fully alive is to take wise risks to achieve your goals.
Are you ready to go after your goals in 2023?