“Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” - Proverbs 11:14
Life is challenging; and it presents us with decisions that are not easy to make on our own. We may pray about such a situation and read God’s Word for guidance, but still feel confused and uncertain about the direction we should take. In these times it can be helpful to seek the advice of other wise and godly people.
Two things the Bible makes very clear are the benefit of godly counsel and the damage of ungodly counsel. “The thoughts of the righteous are just; but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.” (Proverbs 12:5) Therefore it is important when seeking counsel that we examine the character and values of the person from whom we receive advice.
Not only are one’s character and values of importance, but we must also consider a person’s motives when evaluating the merit of their advice. Receiving advice from a person who has a vested interest or potential gain from the decision we make can lead us astray. The more subtle, but equally misleading advice can come from people who care about us, but give advice based on their own fears, insecurities or expectations. For example, a situation that would require complete reliance and dependence upon the Lord may make a family member or friend uneasy and unwilling to support. We should always seek advice from people who know and love God, seek His will, and will be faithful to the truth of God’s Word.
As we weigh out the counsel we receive from others we need to ask ourselves the question, “Does this advice fit the character and nature of God as portrayed in the Bible?” We should test to see whether the counsel we receive is true and honest, just, pure, love, of good report and would glorify God.
Seeking wise counsel is a sign of maturity and humility. Learning to discern the difference between wise and poor counsel requires discernment and reliance upon God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, our trust should never be in the people who give the advice, but in God Who through His Holy Spirit can use people to give us wisdom and assist us along the path of life.
Father, Help me to discern between wise and foolish counsel. Help me to always remain humble enough to ask for help when I need it.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.