When You Need Wise Counsel

When You Need Wise Counsel

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22

“Lord, what should I do?” Ever prayed that prayer?

As a Christian, you believe God is the ultimate problem solver. If He would just speak to your situation; say it loud and clear. Then you could get on with your life.

Seeking God’s guidance should always begin with prayer and reading His word. The Holy Spirit illuminates the scriptures, gives us understanding, and leads us to passages that speak to our concerns.

The Bible covers a lot of subjects, but it’s also a very big book. One benefit of studying the word over a long period of time is that it becomes internalized. When difficult situations arise, related passages of scripture pop into your mind. They are an onboard repository of valuable information instantly available when needed.

When using the Bible to seek answers to problems, don’t use the “open it and point to it method.” That’s a reckless means of seeking God’s counsel. It’s no better than flipping a coin. Might even be worse.

Most Bibles these days have topical sections to help you find what you need. And searchable versions of the Bible are readily available online.

In yesterday’s devotional, I mentioned that God often works through people to accomplish His purposes. Well, that truth also applies to seeking wise counsel. Besides prayer and help from God’s word, we should also seek the input of trusted advisers. Our focus text puts it this way: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)

Be aware that in decisions in which the heart is deeply involved, our ears can be closed to the truth we really need to hear. Prayer, the Bible, God’s still small voice, and the advice of others can go in one ear and out the other. That’s because we are blinded by desire or emotion.

Love, or what we think is love, causes us to be deaf and stupid.

I prayed for a wife in high school. But when I met Janet, I can’t recall ever asking God if she was the one. I was smitten, and I suspect if an angel appeared to me in a dream and told me that marrying her would be a mistake, it wouldn’t have stopped me. When she came into the picture, I couldn’t see anything else. Fortunately, God was looking out for me.

Passion and desire can cloud our thinking. We can want a career path, a relationship, or a major purchase so intently that our spiritual hearing is closed.

How attentive are we to wise counsel? Buy a car within your means. Improve your credit score so you can get a better mortgage interest rate. Don’t eat out so much. Save for retirement. Take care of your health. Don’t use credit cards. Save 10% of everything you make.

Words of wisdom are all around us. But we are deafened by desire and instant gratification.

This weekend, my neighborhood will hold a community yard sale. Janet and I are participating. We’ll be selling stuff from our garage we no longer use or need. Much of it we could have done without. We’re selling a punching bag that neither one of us have punched. Really?

Here’s my point. If we go to all the trouble of seeking and desiring wise counsel why ignore it?

I wonder how often in our heart of hearts we already know the right answers. God has been speaking all along, but we weren’t getting the message we wanted. “Wait” isn’t what we wanted to hear. “No” couldn’t be right.

I’m not saying that God won’t give you the green light to move forward or give you a satisfying answer. But I am saying that you should use the good counsel He gives.

Sometimes wise counsel can hurt our feelings. I’ve told the story about the man who ridiculed me at a party because I was fat. I didn’t like it at the time, but his painful words motivated me to lose 75 pounds.

It’s often hard to hear the truth. But wise counsel from God can be nothing less.

For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Learn God’s Will for Your Life

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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