Wise Counsel

Subject: Wise counsel can be found in seeking the advice of two or more.   

Objective: When considering plans, you should weigh your decision against an objective voice in your life. This voice is a trusted one. It has the ability and skill to teach, correct, and train. 

Opener: An earnest desire to be wise is given to those who seek it. God gives it liberally to any who will listen and accept it. 

Key Scripture: Proverbs 19:20-21(KJV) Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. 

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Following your own hearts can certainly lead you down a path you never intended to travel. As a licensed professional counselor, I recommend that our voice, ideas, thoughts and dreams be sharpened by another’s voice who can be trusted to provide an objective and balance view. The Bible doesn’t tell us to trust ourselves, but to lean on God for directions and wisdom. Leaning on God for direction can be done by heeding the advice of trusted voices in our life. Our voice should not be the only voice we listen to when seeking wise counsel.

The Bible makes it clear that when we listen and accept godly counsel, there is safety. From the godly counsel and wisdom of a trusted voice, our plans are established on a good, solid foundation. This foundation is often balanced and objective, and it should be weighed against Biblical values and principals. Proverbs says that in the multitude of counselors, there is safety. Listening and obeying wise counsel can certainly reduce your risk of pitfalls and operating outside the will of God. There is wisdom in not allowing self-centered wants and desires to be met by the counsel of your heart. (Proverbs 28:26) Instead, we are encouraged to find wisdom in the gathering of a few trusted and objective voices. (Proverbs 15:22). 

The Bible encourages us to seek out wisdom and search for understanding as if one was searching for a lost valuable. This is the process of seeking God’s wisdom and instruction for our lives. The first line of godly counselors should be our spouses and pastors. Examples of godly counselors also include people who care about you. If they disagree with you, they care enough to tell you. You can also turn to those with clear expertise in the matter. There is nothing better than first-hand experience. I would like to add that there is much to be said about seeking the counsel of a Christian counselor, in addition to your first line of godly counselors. When debating a decision, we first acknowledge and seek God’s say in the matter. It is then weighed on the consciousness of an objective and trusted voice in your life. This voice will never provide advice that contradicts the “word of God.” This type of counsel can be measured against the Bible for making wise, God-centered decisions.   

As a therapist, I work to help others identify God’s voice in their life concerning wise counsel. I will ask the person to write down their debate onto a piece of paper and pray about it. I will ask them to give it some time and thought. I often say that we should consider a matter for about 24 hours by sleeping on it. If we still feel strongly about the decision we want to make, we should seek wise counsel. If those strong feelings have subsided, consider dismissing the thought. This is a good habit to practice when developing a God-centered approach, especially before making a decision that impacts the people you love the most. We know we are doing our best when making decisions that are shaped by Biblical principles and values, using the help of Godly counsel. 

Advice can be free. But there is a price to pay for unwise counsel. I recommend a few things to consider. 

  1.  Good advice can come from anywhere but consider the big picture as one determining factor for the weight that it should be given. 
  2. Use caution when listening to people who share their opinions on everything. It is often driven by the need to be heard and not by your best interest. Don’t waste your time listening to the opinion of people whose core values don’t match your own. 
  3. Consider the end goal or invested interest of the person giving the advice. What motivates them to give share their advice? Is it out of genuine concern or projected fear?
  4. Simply consider the knowledge. Is it reliable and where did it come from? Can you identify Biblical support for this type of counsel? 

Originally published in Pentecostal Life