Thursday, January 16, 2014

How To Seek Godly Counsel

By Jill Daniels
I recently heard a verse that really struck a chord with me.
I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this verse before but it hit my heart in a different way this time. The verse I heard was Proverbs 15:22, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed.”

Do you ever make plans and ask God to bless them? Do you think you know the best route for you and your family? Or maybe the best route to glorify God? Have you ever set your plans in motion only to look back and think did I ever even consult God or my friends who know me about this?

I know I have. Guilty. Sometimes though, I am lucky enough to not have made any decisions before something in my heart tells me to just ask someone if the choice is wise.

There are also times when I ask God every day to give me wisdom on a situation, and I don’t hear anything for months. Or I think I’m hearing something, but I’m not sure if it’s just my own thoughts or God showing me where to go. It’s during those times that I don’t know if I should continue to wait on hearing from God or take a step of faith to see where He takes me.

This is where godly counsel comes into play. 

I’ve learned over the past couple years, the hard way, that friends are there for a reason. It’s not any less spiritual to have a couple of friends in your life who you go to to make big decisions than to make those decisions all on your own. But honestly, I think it’s wiser to have a couple of other people in on the decision-making process.

But is it that easy to find a good friend to help push you in the right direction? Are you able to listen through their opinions? Do you even want to go to the friend that might point out something to you that you are about to trip over?

I’ve struggled to find the “perfect” friend to go to for all of these things, and I’ve come to realize that there isn’t one perfect friend, but a friend for each circumstance. It’s okay to go to different friends for different things. The bottom line is that we need to seek out counsel. The enemy likes to make us feel alone so that we isolate ourselves from others and, ultimately, God. So we need to make the first move and ask someone to help us in our decision-making or in our struggles!

To help you know what a godly friend looks like, I made three characteristics of a friend who gives you godly counsel:

This person… knows you. Inside and out. Sometimes, I want to go to someone who doesn’t know me. I don’t want a person to pick out everything I’m saying because of the wounds they know I have. It’s painful. But when I look back on the friends who knew me and loved me enough to point out where I have pitfalls or biases, that’s when I truly followed the Lord.

This person… won’t be more shocked about the conversation than the actual advice that needs to be given. Think about who you are speaking with. Do you really want to talk to your boyfriend of two weeks that you think you might be falling in love with him too early? No. You need a friend who isn’t going to be completely wrecked by the conversation to give you advice and help you to see how to follow God through your circumstance.

This person… has the same values and beliefs that you do. This one is tough. I know lots of people that can give good advice, but sometimes the advice they give doesn’t line up with the values that I have. I’ve learned that I can’t go to those people for advice that concerns my relationship with God. I could ask advice about paint colors or a cute outfit to wear, but when it comes to helping me find godly counsel, I can’t go to my friends who don’t see the importance of pursuing holiness.

That’s it. I think I put too much thought into who to talk to at times. I’m worried someone is going to say something too bluntly to me, or that they might be hung up on something they are struggling with instead of helping me. Really, God has put people in our life to help guide us to the path he has given us. Of course God can guide us on His own, but it can’t hurt to ask Him to speak through others to help us as well!

God, I pray today that after reading this post we will be empowered to not stay silent. Instead, I pray that we would seek you and godly counsel in our decision-making process. I thank you for speaking to us through our friends, and I pray that you would help us to speak truth and give good counsel to our friends. Thanks for such a wonderful day, Lord! 

Amen.

[This post first appeared on Radical Everyday Living, January 14, 2014.]

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