“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (Proverbs 1:5)
Seeking counsel from others is not a very popular Discipline. In fact, you could argue that many of us have been trained to be independent rather than interdependent. So, as we consider this Disciple this week let’s remain open to some paradigm shifts in our lives as directed by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is full of advice on seeking advice, and as we proceed through the week we will focus on some key Bible passages. Today though, we will begin with a quiz. This will be a “true or false” quiz. All you have to do for each of the 10 statements below is answer true or false for yourself.
- I am confident that I have a Biblical perspective on giving and getting advice.
- I genuinely believe that for key decisions, getting advice results in a better decision (vs. going it alone).
- For key areas of my life I have a good idea of the individuals I would trust for Godly counsel.
- I make a habit of seeking advice from trusted individuals when making difficult decisions.
- I have Christian friends in my life who I know hold me accountable for key decisions and actions.
- I test key pieces of advice with different counselors.
- I have taken the time to get to know Christians outside of my family well enough to be trusted to give advice.
- I make meeting with Christians for fellowship a priority.
- I can remember an occasion in recent memory where I have sought Christian counsel on a key decision.
- I am not the kind of individual who always tries to get my own way.
It would be great if any of you choose to share some thoughts on your results.
March 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm
These thought provoking blogs are indeed a blessing. Thank you for sharing and the opportunity to share.
I answered true or somewhat true to most of the questions.
I have mixed views on seeking advice.
While it is good to seek wise counsel on key decisions, I do believe that sometimes it is counterproductive to seek advice. One must discern what to discuss and what to entrust (to the LORD).
in some instances seeking advice leads to second guessing something that would otherwise be clear to you. People have different perspectives … and more than one perspective could be correct. And there are instances where it is difficult to explain the complexity of an issue to a third party so that they properly understand the matter. You also have to consider well meaning people from whom you seek advice may have agendas – for e.g. they may want to protect you and therefore may seek to discourage you from a seemingly risky but ultimately rewarding path.
While it is good to seek good Christian counsel, I am of the view that at times (key) decision making is best left to intuition and Divine Inspiration (some call it faith).
To illustrate the point: what do you think Abraham’s associates would have told him if he sought advice on leaving all that he knew to move to an undisclosed foreign land? (see Genesis 12:1)
April 1, 2014 at 9:21 am
Okaay, I am new to commenting although I have been participating and most of you would not know me. I do, however, want to comment on the matter of receiving counsel. There are some decisions that you feel so strongly about, right from the start, that you are certain it is the Holy Spirit guiding you, compelling you. There are others, though, where you’re not so sure… not sure that you’re leaning the right way, that you’re thinking the right thoughts, that your motive is right, that your logic is correct. This is where, for me, seeking Christian, Godly counsel would come in and would help, if only to help me look at the thing from a different perspective, to hear someone’s objective view instead of my subjective one. The decision is still left to me, but now I see it a little differently, a little more clearly. Maybe it will prompt me to ensure that my motive is right… to obey and serve God, not my own will or desire. It gives me time to slow down enough to share the matter, hear the thoughts of another, consider what they’ve said, instead of what I might have done… rush ahead with my decision. If the decision to be made seems very clear from God, from the start, it may still be a good idea to share it with someone you really trust, if only to ask the person to come alongside you and pray with you to ensure that God’s will is being carried out.
March 31, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Thank you for your transparent and careful deliberation. Your point regarding the value of solitary decision making in certain circumstances is, of course very valid. As you infer, this is clearly an “and” conversation rather than an “or” conversation. Along with solitary decision making, God has elected in his wisdom to often provide divine inspiration and the testing of our intuition through human conduits. Personally my bias is towards solitary decision making but I know I don’t get the balance right. As the week progresses let’s continue to pray for God’s wisdom and strength to strike the right balance.
March 31, 2014 at 6:51 pm
Having to address the 10 questions makes my failure in this area oh so obvious to me. I tend to not go out of my way to seek the advice of others although I may share generally with my close christian friends what challenges I may be going through while trying to see the way forward. I think sometimes in trying to avoid the biases of others I lean towards going it alone.
I’ve been at the receiving end of enthusiastic advice from Christians who hadn’t a clue of how far off they were in their assessment of the situation though they meant well.
So I understand very well Gsharpe’s comments but agree that finding the right balance is essential. Looking forward to where this week’s consideration of this discipline will take us.
March 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm
I definitely support the need for counsel. God in his wisdom did not equip us equally. We are all blessed with talents and gifts. It is important to seek out those with the knowledge and skills that we are not competent to assist us in making important decisions. As the saying goes many hands make work lighter.
On key area of counsel that will be useful to everyone is the avoidance of self-deception. Our thoughts and resulting actions if taken as absolute can lead us down the wrong path. We always think we are right (initially) until we agree to entertain some level of cognitive dissonance by opening up ourselves to others we trust.
What a colossal waste of human potential if one person lives an unproductive life because of a lie.
We are blessed to have each other, if only we can acknowledge this fact and see others as making a valuable contribution to us living a fulfilling life.