Every day we make thousands of decisions, some good and some bad. Decisions that we may never know who they will actually impact. In fact, most times, you have no idea who will ultimately be affected by your decisions.
The good news is, that it’s possible to learn how to make good decisions and take wise risks.
The starting point in doing so always begins by inviting God into the process. And if you invite God into the process, God promises to guide you. (Isaiah 30:21)
Making decisions and taking wise risks isn’t easy, so we wanted to give you a biblical guide or model to help get you as close as possible to doing just that.
Every time you encounter risk, you are confronted with four distinct propositions. These four propositions interact in a way that invites you to either embrace that risk or to back away from it and enter the picture whether you want them to or not. They present themselves automatically and can’t be avoided.
1. Desire: What would you like?
Desire encompasses your wants and cravings. Every risk ever taken had its roots in desire. What do I want in this situation? What do I want out of life?
The Best Version: Desire fuels healthy ambition and focus. It produces go-getters and high achievers. Desire can lead to exceptional performance in school, sports, or work, and can motivate us toward financial security, generosity, good parenting, and spiritual maturity.
The Worst Version: Every one of us is susceptible to sinful desires. And if we’re not careful, the dark side of our desires leaves us chasing the wrong thing.
In Romans 7:18-25 The apostle Paul speaks to the internal battle we all face as we wrestle with our desires when He said, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway… I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.”
2. Opportunity: What's available to you?
This proposition is all about the circumstances and the options that can advance or prevent your desires. What might be available to satisfy your desire? What’s available for you to work with?
The Best Version: People who excel at good decision-making and taking wise risks tend to have a knack for seeing or creating opportunities that others don’t. Good decision-makers and wise risk takers are particularly good at generating conditions that set the stage or create the potential for them to act on their desires.
The Worst Version: Sometimes, opportunities pop up that awaken the immoral or unethical desires we thought we had under control or desires we didn’t even know existed.
3. Power: Can you actually make it happen?
Power is a person’s capacity to satisfy their desires. Power can come from many different sources. Your physical size; your position or status in the company; your intellect; your persuasive abilities; your wealth; your fame; your specialized skills; your reputation; and your connections with influential people all play into the power you possess.
The Best Version: Using your power to increase and advance your career, accrue life achievements, build positive relationships, and become successful.
The Worst Version: Power can corrupt, and as your power grows, you are more likely to abuse it. As people gain power, they could lose their sense of empathy and begin to abuse it. Become more self-centered and less capable of appreciating the feelings and viewpoints of others.
Abraham Lincoln described it when he said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
4. Expectations: What will the result be?
What do I expect in this situation? What do I expect to happen if my desires are met?
The Best Version: If we expect an action to produce a desirable result, then we’re likely to proceed. And if we expect an unpleasant result, we’re likely to halt. Action-oriented people tend to be optimists and expect their efforts to succeed.
The Worst Version: If you become too cautious and see the worst. If you avoid the negative consequences of taking risks (which is good), you could also cheat yourself out of life’s joys and accomplishments.
These four propositions are always at play in every risk-based decision you face. You cannot escape the influence of desire, opportunity, power, and expectations. The key to consistently wise risk-taking is to confront these four propositions consciously and in a healthy manner.
Proverbs 13:16 says, “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t”
Proverbs 14:8 says, “The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.”Every day we make thousands of decisions, some good and some bad. Make the good decision today to invite God into your decisions. He knows which way you should go.
To go even deeper on the content behind this article, check out the book, What Was I Thinking, by David Ashcraft and Rob Skacel.
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