“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise”
I can remember when I was younger and I thought that “wise counsel” meant nothing but “support”. Support of what my desires, dreams and feelings were. Total loyalty to ME and what I wanted. I thought it meant finding people in my community that would always be on my side, no matter what.
Truth is, it was still all about ME. I wasn’t seeking wise and godly counsel – I was seeking friendship. We need BOTH.
So I came to realize, as I learned more and more about God’s character and sought what the Lord says on this matter throughout scripture, that truly wise and godly counsel is not always “just the fun parts” that come along with having “support.” It ain’t all about having a bunch of friends who will just tell me what I want to hear.
Wise counsel must be delivered with the heart, motivation and intention of God’s real love and real truth behind it. These two things lie at the core of truly wise and godly counsel. It should be constructive not DESTRUCTIVE. It should align with scripture – the whole of it, not just the bits and pieces that fit OUR particular “feeling of the moment”. It should point us to God and what the Lord might have us do in that situation. It should come from a place of humility, yet confidence in the LORD and what He is equipping us to be able to speak into another person’s life.
Wise counsel is honest. Wise counsel is loving. Even when it’s hard.
It takes COURAGE to do this – on both sides. It takes submission and surrender and courage to love like Jesus does. It is NOT EASY. But this is what church really is. Walking it out in the ugly and the messy – that is true SUPPORT in the body of Christ. Being willing to confront all of it ~ together. Not running or cutting out when it starts feeling uncomfortable.
We don’t get to deliver truth without love. We don’t get to provide REAL and true love without being willing to be truthful, either. Not if we are really walking through life with someone else. And unfortunately, because we often don’t walk through all of it together, we often find ourselves only doing one or the other. Truth OR Love. And it’s gotta be both. I have yet to see this be able to happen if we try to come along side someone halfway.
That’s what Jesus did in His ministry here on earth. He dealt with the hard stuff, man. He continued to love in the process as well. And if people refused to listen, He allowed that and moved on to help those who were truly open and willing to confront their need.
He doesn’t force us to submit or surrender to Him – but He is there and will show up if we are truly willing. If He places people in our lives that are willing to go all the way and do the hard stuff along with us, it is WISE not to shun that or scoff at that. If and when we do, we will have to then walk in that. That walk is often one in which we will eventually find ourselves feeling very alone. We may have a few friends out there who are there for us part of the time (I mean – they have lives too, no?) – but they won’t really be doing life with us. Not all the way.
It won’t stay pretty for very long. #guaranteed
So, recognizing who the Lord places in our lives to do this with us means we have to really be discerning and ask ourselves – am I seeking only those who will tell me what I always easy to hear, or the parts that aren’t TOO UNCOMFORTABLE or easy for me to digest – or am I willing to allow those who truly want to be there for me in this and go the distance in my life be there for me?
Gotta be open to it, or it ain’t gonna happen.
Just like with what the Lord wants to do in our lives – We get to choose. Then we gotta walk in what we choose. We get to own it. The good side and the bad side of our choices. It just seems kind of dumb to me when we choose to go our own way. But it’s what we do a lot of the time, isn’t it?
The truth AND love thing? It’s a difficult balance for the one offering help to strike. First, because we are not perfect – not a one! Second, because real help sometimes has to come in the form of being willing to deliver some bad news. And NOBODY LIKES THAT!
BUT – sometimes, as we wrap our minds around the hard stuff, we can face it – together! We can bring into the light all the junk that’s in the dark. And THEN real stuff starts to happen!
Or we can run.
The halfway stuff just isn’t gonna help us. It may make us feel better for a while, though. That’s for sure. Hence, the difficulty – the temptation to think we truly are open and willing to confront things with others God places in our lives – the deceit we operate under and the things we tell ourselves about truly seeking wise counsel – well, it simply then remains and continues to weave a web all around our minds and our hearts. And that is from the enemy. #truth
Sometimes, God can get downright firm with us. So godly counsel is willing to do the same thing if needed. If the desire is to BUILD US UP (that includes character, not just feel good stuff) and help us truly get through things in our lives that are causing DESTRUCTION AND DIVISION, a loving friend, counselor or mentor WILL put themselves on the line to not just tell us what our “itching ears want to hear.”
They may screw it up (probably will sometimes)- but if all we do is push it away, in reality, we are pushing away those who maybe – just MAYBE – the Lord placed in our lives to TRULY HELP US. Something to think about and take to the Lord in prayer, at the very least!
Jesus displayed that firmness AND love at the same time, over and over again (minus any screw ups) as He walked this earth. He still displays it in our lives today if we allow Him to.
Choose. Choose life. Choose truth. Choose love. Choose all of God’s character to speak into your life. Choose the real deal.
No – God doesn’t always tell us what we WANNA hear. That is NOT God’s character. He also doesn’t forget about the compassion and love piece, either. It is BOTH/AND.
We can come to Him freely (as we are – while we are still sinners) for salvation. But when it comes to sanctification, we must be open to hear even the hard stuff. Otherwise, we will start to make our own plans, man. We will go with what OUR heart wants. WE will continue to walk our OWN way. #noteasy
Support and encouragement matter, that’s for sure! BUT….if we REALLY seek true wisdom, real truth, and REAL LOVE, we go first to God in prayer, and then we surround ourselves with WISE counsel. Not just the people who can quote scripture left and right (and often out of context) to make us feel better. Not just people who pride themselves on SPEAKING THE TRUTH and throw love and compassion out the window every time. Not just the people who tell us how to get around things or make others yield to our desires. And not people who don’t understand that we need to take responsibility in order to walk out the counsel of the Lord and TRULY GROW.
Do you find yourself pushing away anyone who wants to come along side you simply because you don’t like some of what they are speaking into your life because it is uncomfortable? I’ve been there, friend. Many times in my life, I have BEEN THERE! If you do see yourself doing something like this and your heart realizes it now, it is not too late to return. Return to what scripture says – the WHOLE OF IT- when it comes to wise counsel. Take a look at who you have chosen to truly surround yourself with. Got anyone in there that’s willing to share the hard stuff too? Are they willing to be in – ALL THE WAY IN this with you? If so, you are truly blessed. That’s not a gift I would think we might want to simply toss.
Here’s some stuff from a GREAT Christian article (one of many) that I read – all of it resonates with so many parts of what scripture admonishes us to do when seeking truly wise counsel in our lives. Just some food for thought. I know I can always use it.
Wise counsel will come from individuals who know the difference between…
- what is ultimately good and what is just currently popular,
- what is really valuable and what is just cheap,
- what is achieved by hard work and what is just lucky,
- being happy and just having fun,
- a sincere apology and a weak excuse,
- what is true and what is just a matter of opinion,
- what is to be hard sought and what is to be tolerated,
- when help is appropriate and when it should be withheld to encourage one to struggle,
- love and lust,
- what is really dangerous and what may just be somewhat risky,
- what is worth fighting against and what one should run from,
- what is a legitimate source of hope and what is just what we want to hear,
- what is wise and what is foolish,
- what can last forever and what is only temporary,
- humble worship that glorifies God and pride-filled religious rituals that offend God,
- what is from God and what is from the world.
- from http://www.christianityetc.org/wise-counsel.php