20Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. 21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:20-21)
If you missed the comments on Creation yesterday, you missed something special. The good thing is the comments are still there for your review. Today we consider another not-so-popular Discipline – the Spiritual Discipline of seeking counsel from others. Alicia has a question for Libby on the subject.
As a reminder, you will play the part of Libby and share your thoughts on the challenges people are facing. Libby is not expected to be an expert. Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences. So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself. Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.
Please review the Bible passage above and Alicia’s challenge below.
Writing to you for advice today is very awkward because my challenge is that I avoid seeking counsel. I don’t mind seeking advice on minor things like getting directions, or on major things like medical advice from a doctor. However, when I am faced with some major life challenges, I tend to go it alone even when the answer is not at all clear. I have given some thought to why I act so independently, and I think the fundamental issues are trust and control. One I find it hard to give (trust), and the other I find it hard to give up (control).
Lately I have been feeling like I am robbing myself of a key part of my Christian experience by not seeking counsel from wise people around me more often. What are your views Libby?
Seeking counsel (and it feels weird),
What thoughts would you like to share with Alicia?
April 6, 2017 at 6:53 am
Recognizing the need for wise Biblical counsel is a great and important step! Personally I have found that in times when I don’t trust others or not wanting to give up control it leads back to an underlying, unspoken lack of trust/faith in God. This awareness usually leads to confession and a time of remembrance. I will remind myself of Moses and how he accepted the advise of his father-in-law and gave up control so other leaders could help. David who took wise counsel and relinquished control to God’s timing for him to be King.
It is hard to trust and surrender. It starts first with building that type of relationship with God. Then ask Him for guidance on the right person to seek counsel from.
Hope this helps.
April 6, 2017 at 10:04 am
Thank you for your letter. I think it is naïve not to seek Godly and wise counsel in certain situations because of the greatest of human tendencies to deceive ourselves. For instance people tend not to seek advice on who they should marry – despite the serious and permanent nature of the act. Charles W. Spurgeon says that in seeking advice one should go to God first. I agree with him 100%. He also says that if you ask advice of your neighbor, your neighbor should inquire as to whether you sought God’s counsel, and if you did not, he should bid you to do so. I believe this is wise advice.
Therefore my friend seek God’s counsel before going to anyone else. In my own experience, if I have a problem where I believe Johnny (insert name) can help guide me, before approaching Johnny I first ask God to help Johnny give me the right answer. This has worked quite well for me so far. Beware of those who give very specific advice on what to do in a particular situation. I once heard a highly regarded preacher say that when giving advice you should always refer the person to relevant scripture – never tell the person what to do. I believe this is wise counsel. Even well meaning people tend to give advice based on their own perspective with the resultant advice being terrible or not well suited to the circumstances. For instance the famed preacher, T.D. Jakes admitted in one of his books that as a young pastor he gave one of his parishioner’s bad advice. The parishioner who was having marital problems asked for Jakes help – Jakes told him to get a divorce. In his book Jakes reflects on the look of disappointment on the parishioner’s face.
It is also important to have a good attitude when seeking advice – practice self awareness and self control. If you have already made up your mind about something you would not be open to counsel, even when you ask for it. Also beware of reacting defensively to advice you do not like – lest your brethren hold their tongue, even when they see you are about to fall into a pit!
Finally always remember no matter how much advice you receive or how good it seems, the final decision rests with you. Ask God for guidance, trust in HIM – he promises to guide those that trust HIM (see Proverbs 3:5-6). In my own life I find that the more I relinquish control to God, the more at peace I am with decisions regardless of circumstances. A mark of humility is one who does not trust in himself, such a one is ready to be guided by God Almighty.
Yours in Christ,
April 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm
I feel unless advice is given by truly trustworthy , wise people then God is the only one . But of course it makes sense to seek advice from people whom you respect as ” A wise man learns from the mistakes —–“.We don’t know everything even though sometimes we think we do. This is not independence always but ” a know it all attitude”. Elders play a major role and should be sought after for advice.