40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 30 – Counsel

8 Comments

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9 – 11)

 

Yesterday we considered how humility can help to ensure that we use the Discipline of Counsel for God’s glory.  Today we consider the role that discernment must play.

Discernment

History records that in some ancient civilizations, people would travel for hundreds of miles and spend a lot of their resources to gain access to oracles who could provide them with “wise” counsel.  With advances in technology we now have a vastly different scenario.  So called oracles are everywhere – on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms.  Many of them want to be “mega influencers” mostly for commercial gain and certainly not to glorify God. Plus, they are often right at our finger tips.  Discernment in who you take advice from was never more necessary.  If you read the page on Counsel in “The Disciplines Explained” document that can be accessed on our website https://40daysofdiscipline.com/disciplines/, you will find some useful advice on selecting counsellors.  I encourage you to read the page when you have some time, but from our passage today I want to draw our attention to the essential weapon of prayer.  A couple of you mentioned using prayer yesterday in the great set of commentaries posted, and Paul mentions discerning “what is best” in the prayer above.

Please prayerfully reflect on the passage and answer the question below.

 

Question:

How much do you pray when selecting advisors, and in addition to prayer, how do you practice discernment?

8 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 30 – Counsel

  1. Thank you for these thoughts
    I have to say i dont pray a whole lot b4 selecting counsellors, but some of the things that i do in practising discernment before seeking guidance from a set counsellor are:
    Observe them living out what they speak to see if it lines up
    Match up some of what they are saying with God’s word
    Try to see if when there is not a crowd or large gathering listening to them if there is still genuiness and sameness of doctrine
    And also seek counsel from someone like a pastor or elder who i already take counsel from re if this new person or source would be best to seek counsel from…

  2. I am a bit headstrong and stubborn in some of my ideas. I do pray for guidance in everything, but what I do not realise is that God will guide us to the answer and we do not realise it immediately. When anyone begins to ‘lecture’ to me my mind wanders, It is a very bad habit. Is is easier for me to read than listen to a voice unless it is in my head. I am sure that sometimes God sends me the answer in thoughts or visions or by someone or something popping up when it is needed. The answer may not come from any one you see as being a Holy being in fact the chance meeting of a stranger will provide the guidance, and not only the old people, I have met beautiful young ones who are blessings.

  3. I don’t pray often enough and I find that I pick up the phone to talk to others about a problem instead of going first to God to discuss it. My heart’s desire is to seek God’s counsel first and then trust that He leads me to the person, circumstance or thing He wants to use to confirm it.
    I am blessed to have key godly family and friends who provide counsel but I still seek discernment on who I should talk to about what.
    The reverse is also important – who and what topic does God want me to speak to. Am I spiritual prepared to be counsel to others?

  4. I usually have a ladies bible study/fellowship group that meets once a week in every country I ‘ve lived. Japan is where my home church is. This is also the church where I became born again Christian. Coming from Cathoilic background, it’s in YIBC, Japan where I first attended the ladies bible study group that eventually led me to embrace and understand how it is to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I’m saying all these things because I have to tell you that in this international bible study (IBS) group in Yokohama, Japan, is where I met many sincere and caring sisters/friends in Christ who have known me for a very long time now, maybe about 30 years already. These friends are the ones who prayed with me through good times and bad tines. Even if I’m not in Japan, and was posted abroad we still keep in touch, and I still ask them for prayers, or even if I have a fellowship and bible study group in a different country I’m living. (I usually stay two or three years in one country…this is the pattern till my husband retires). Currently I’m living in Japan. What I’m always grateful for , is that the Lord has been sending me good friend/s that I can really trust and confide my concerns wherever I live. I’ve seen and experienced that in the past. It’s like I’m always certain that this friend really cares and prays for me. I never doubt or think that this friend will judge me or gossip about me because I believe that GodI can see our heart and we want to please the Lord in all that we do and say. With that in mind, I always find a sister or sisters in Christ in each country I’ve lived, who I must say has the characteristics of the woman in “Proverbs 31.” God is so good! Most of the time these friends can give me sound advice, having been through a lot of hurdles themselves. Sharing their experiences especially telling me how the Lord helped them in their trials is indeed very good way of counseling others. They pray and rely on Gid’s Word. At present, here in Japan, every time we meet in the women’s bible study class on Wednesdays, we have this white board in the front where everyone can write down their prayer request and then we copy them on our own notebook so that when we get home we can lift those friends/members of our bible study in our private prayer and time with the Lord. In my case, I always have someone from that group that I can call anytime or have fellowship at home, once in a while, and that helps me a lot when facing challenges in life. Of course, constant praying, and relying on God’s Word, is still the key to how I grow in my faith. One thing I’m sure is, I’m so trusting especially if I know that friend I’m confiding with, loves the Lord and walks the word of God. I’m always blessed to be surrounded by such kind of friend. It’s God’s grace that I can easily meet friends who not only give sound advice, but more of like an encourager to me, and a prayer warrior. Although we may have different backgrounds, culture, we share one thing in common….we have great love for the Lord and we want to glorify Him. I may ask for counsel or advice , but at the end, it is still how I hear, and how I respond to God’s answer to my prayer that will matter the most. Obedience to God’s word plus prayers asking for wisdom
    and discernment are vital in my journey
    and walk with the Lord each day.

  5. I had a troubling issue that went on for a long time – a couple years that I prayed about night and day. I often asked God for advice directly on how to resolve this problem and fully expected Hin to provide an answer.

    And oh did I receive an answer! Supernatural visions and signs – I kid you not which I accepted without question as direct communication from God. Who else could hear my prayer and send supernatural signs I reasoned.

    I followed the signs and leads I received over a protracted period of time and they were dead wrong – none of it came to pass and a lot of time and energy was wasted and potential opportunities possibly passed me by. Years later while discussing these occurrences with a Godly friend he reminded me that one must test the Spirits!

    I bring this up to illustrate that even while praying one must carefully discern any answers that seemingly comes from God, is actually from God and not from strange spirits (1 John 4:1-6)

    My mom warned me that the thing was not from God but I got angry and did not believe her! You cannot discern truth from error if your desire is too great.

    Hold on to desires loosely in order to discern properly.

    • I truly get what you are saying. was in the same boat a while ago – perhaps, still living the aftermath.
      Surely, one has to test out the Spirit.

  6. I rarely pray before seeking counselors.
    I have actually become weary of going to the “elders in the body of Christ” for counsel because i have been ‘burnt’ by “Them” on more than one occasion.
    I must say, it really is getting hard to know where one ought to seek spiritual counsel and guidance. Basically now, i just pray and trust that when the time is right on any issue, i will receive divine direction from above.
    I must say though, our youth group in church, is helping restore my faith because the people in my group, not only are they genuinely interested, they are more than ready to pray response from above for you in all things. I am truly, truly blessed to be a part of them

  7. Thanks so much to all of you for your transparent comments! Your comments are very helpful and they also confirm that this is an area that warrants much wisdom – the kind of wisdom that only God provides. Join me in remembering in each other in prayer specifically for discretion in this area. James 1:5 comes to mind – “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

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