Reader, you would agree with me that life is a journey which requires us to make many decisions. As the world around us changes constantly, we are forced in positions to decide whether to turn to the left or to the right, this way or that and whether to take the path mostly travelled by or the one that is less popular. Since decisions are a part of our journey in life, we cannot fail to consider that the decisions that we make can have great consequences (good and bad) for us and others in our lives. For this reason, we must truly examine our motive for seeking advice from others and most importantly, the advisor we choose to give our ear to. I strongly encourage you to seek advice from others because it is evident that God speaks to us in many ways including using others to convey messages to us. Additionally, it is evident that when we seek wise counsel, it helps us to increase in knowledge and wisdom.
Seeking to gain wisdom and knowledge is critical to anyone’s success especially since we are faced with important decisions to make daily. However; scripture teaches that God wants us to seek his knowledge and wisdom which empowers us to give and apply counsel well. In James 1:5, the bible says: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (NLT). When we go before God to ask for his direction, it presents an opportunity for us to strengthen our relationship with him and learn to submit to his will for our lives. Now reader, I have to remind you that the scripture above does not discourage one from seeking counsel from another person. God created man in ‘his image’ and continues to empower those who seek him diligently with his spirit which nurtures the ability to do all things in wisdom and knowledge not of the flesh but of the spirit. God uses vessels (you and I) to guide ourselves and others into making decisions so whether you are seeking counsel from others or giving counsel to others, you have to ask God for direction and guidance in the process.
You would agree with me that God created us for a specific purpose and specific cause but we would not be able to fulfill His plans for our lives in the absence of good counsel. I would urge you to surround yourself with many advisors, just make sure they are godly, knowledgeable, packaged with wisdom and above all God fearing men and women. The book of Proverbs in the bible presents many scriptures that associate success in life to the quality of counsel one receives and whether or not one uses discernment in applying the knowledge acquired through counsel. I am a firm believer in surrounding oneself with others who are experienced, God fearing, knowledgeable and mature to support one through the journey to destiny. I know that God is our source however we can draw strength from others he strategically places in our path to journey with us to the place of destiny.
I want to share some tips with you to help you in your search for the right counselor, advisor, mentor and confidante. I make it a point to study the character and lifestyle of the people I consider counselors. The uncompromising characteristic that I look for is the counselor’s faith in God, his Word, his commandments, his truth and the list goes on. Here are some additional things to consider when deciding to give your ear to someone you consider a counselor, mentor, advisor and/or confidante. The person must be/have:
• Matured – have experience in dealing with life’s challenges not with their own wisdom. They must be able to prove that they have allowed the test of time and life to build their faith God.
• Integrity – must be able to conduct themselves respectfully when faced with challenges. He/she must be able to endure the storms of life without losing ground in their walk with God. He/she should also be able model personal responsibility and accountability.
• Honest – would not compromise the truth for comfort but rather accept responsibility for their action and speaking truth in love. He/she strives to give me godly counsel that will get me out of ignorance.
• Knowledgeable – willing to seek the knowledge of the word of God and apply it in daily living. He/she will trust in the revelation knowledge of God and not in his/her own intelligence or society’s doctrine.
• Wisdom – operate in the spirit of Wisdom of God and not that of the world. He/she must be able to seek the knowledge of God and apply it in daily living through his/her relationships with others.
• Understanding – able to understand and accept our differences in reasoning, thought process and interpretation of content. He/she cannot lean on his/her own understanding or knowledge gained from society’s doctrine but God’s own.
• Discerning – be able to depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit of God to guide his/her advice and not depend on emotions. I can count on him/her to pray and intercede for me while leaning on the Spirit to give him/her the words of wisdom to share with me.
• Humble – able to walk with a spirit of brokenness and total submission to the will of God for his/her life. This person must be a model of obedience to me and be willing to follow the leading of God even if it is not popular. He/she should also be quick to acknowledge wrong-doing and be bold to take responsibility for their action.
Finally, I want to leave you with a nugget of wisdom that can serve as a guide in deciding how to apply the counsel that you receive from others. The first thing to consider is to pray about the counsel and test it against the word of God which means that you have to know scripture’s definition of good counsel. Secondly, you may want to weigh the counsel against God’s principles. Keep in mind that you cannot successfully evaluate the counsel received without truly examining the source (Counselor). It is your responsibility to choose your counselors wisely but since God knows exactly what you need, always pray ask for his guidance in pointing you to the right person. I challenge you to reflect on some applied counsel(s) that have led to the path of regret in your life and examine the source(s) of those words. We are living in treacherous times so now more than ever, we have to be spiritually alert and apply the wisdom of God in all things. I want to leave you with the scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. (NIV)