D – GUIDANCE IN DECISIONS – 4
The time for a major or even minor decision is coming. Anxiety has set in. Phil.4:6,7 We have given our lives to the Lord (or have we kept a section for ourselves?). We have studied His Word and have spent time in prayer about the matter. We may yet remain unsure as to the direction we should go. Scripture answers our dilemma with command, example, and principle.
We need to seek counsel. This is addressed in Scripture with several words in addition to counsel. The word “advice” and “admonish” is also used. Do we like to ask for help? This is sometimes humiliating. We would rather think we are capable of doing everything for ourselves. Prov.13:10 The fact is –we need help Prov.27:17 Sometimes it is wise to receive advice from several. Prov.24:6 If we receive counsel from several and each is different, we do some hard thinking; however, if they speak the same, we strongly consider their advice.
Occasionally advice will be completely opposite. An example of this is found in an incident given in 2 Chron.18:4,7 The king had opportunity to receive godly instruction but he hated the prophet that was to give it. He gave advice that the king didn’t like. How often do we do that? We hunt for counsel that will agree with what inwardly we want to do. We don’t really want counsel. We want agreement.
Our choice of counselors is of utmost importance. As Christians, we don’t follow the ways of the world but of the Lord. Our counselors must be biblical. Job 12:13 Jeremiah was a prophet of God. His advice could be trusted. Jer.38:20
Problems sometimes arise when our counsel is not requested. An example can be found in Ex.18:19 Moses’ father-in-law could see that Moses had more to do than was possible. Jethro gave him good advice which Moses implemented when he realized the wisdom of the advice.
Other examples give us council that is in reproof although not requested. The temptation would be to become angry or defensive to the giver of such counsel. We might even become antagonistic. Prov.25,11,12 We cannot see ourselves and it is a true friend that will give us gentle, kind reproof when we need it. 1 Thess.5:12
Paul points out his reproof of Peter when he came to
. Gal.2:11,12 Another example is Rehoboam who rejected the advice of the elders and took the advice of the young men. 1 Kgs.12:13,14 Antioch
Peter accepted the reproof of Paul but Rehoboam took the wrong counsel. He accepted what suited self. We need to be careful of the counsel we seek. To whom do we go? Ps.1:1,2 Even though God is always near, we are required to be close to Him to be heard. Prov.1:28,30 When we realize our weakness in wisdom, it helps us seek wise wisdom from those who know God. Prov.12:5
Listening to bad counsel cost shipwreck to the ship Paul was in when sailing to
. Paul had warned them. Acts 27:10 The pilot and the owner of the ship advised the centurion to sail on. Acts 27:11 As they shipwrecked, Paul’s advice proved to be wise. Acts 27:21,41 We can shipwreck our lives by accepting the wrong counsel. Rome
At times we do not seek nor want counsel. Prov.15:22; Prov.11:14 Both of these Scriptures indicate, not one, but several counselors are sometimes needed. Zedekiah seeks good advice from Jeremiah but listen to Jeremiah’s response. Jer.38:14,15
It isn’t enough to seek good advice, we must listen to it. Prov.12:15 Wise counsel is important to seek but what good would it be to us if we do not carefully listen and sincerely consider it. Prov.19:20,21
As we weigh all of these facets in deciding, we come to the point when we must make the decision ourselves. First, we want to live our lives as a glory and honor to God, secondly, we have studied His Word to learn of His will, prayer has constantly been a source of imploring God for wisdom and understanding through the Holy Spirit, and now we have sought biblical sources of counseling in plural to help us see what maybe we have been unable to determine. Now is the hour—the time of decision.
Remember the pleading of the Christians and Agabus with Paul to not go to
. Paul’s decision is given in Acts 21:13,14 Paul understood the danger he faced but he was ready for whatever came for the Lord. As we weigh our decisions, this is where we must be. What can I do for my Lord. Jerusalem
Some last minute suggestion might be appropriate.
- The greater the decision, the greater in number of counselors as well as the greater time in study and prayer.
- Seek counsel from those that might agree but also with those that might disagree with you. That way you can see both sides of the dilemma.
- Counsel with Christians but also those who know you well. They will be able to determine your gifts, personality, and interests in correspondence to the decision.
- For an extremely important decision, choose a professional Christian counselor.
- Your decision needs to really fit you as a child of God and not mold you into a job or place where you would not be suited even though you want to follow the will of God. All of us are not fitted for the same situation or place.
So whatever we decide—Col.3:17