We must have an eternal perspective when giving/getting biblical advice.
All of the truly valuable counsel that we will give or receive must come from the eternal paradigm. The eternal paradigm places the higher value always on
things of eternal value.
Each of us holds a basic paradigm of life. We either see ourselves primarily as human beings who have occasional spiritual experiences or as spirit beings
who are having a temporary human experience. Here is the basis for the eternal paradigm: Each of us is a unique and intentional creation of God, here
temporarily as His Ambassador, to do things that He has prepared for us to do before the making of the Earth that are an important part of His universal
plan. As such, the greatest purpose and meaning to be accomplished in and through our lives is to fulfill His purpose and thus to find in doing so our own destiny.
The highest and best counsel that we can give or receive is always going to reflect the eternal paradigm. The great blessing we can give to one another is to
remind, encourage, or exhort each other to God’s highest and best way and that will always be found in the eternal paradigm. This is not to say that God’s
highest and best will be impractical or unhelpful but that the practical and helpful must flow from His Spirit and done in His way to be truly helpful.
5 OBSTACLES AND HINDRANCES TO MAXIMIZING THE VALUE OF GETTING & RECEIVING GODLY COUNSEL
1. Perhaps the greatest impediment to getting great and truly godly counsel is our wanting it in the first place. So often we decide what we want to do regarding an issue in our own minds and then simply look for confirmation or congratulations rather than counsel or advice. We really don’t want to hear any contrary ideas or criticisms. The surest sign that this is the case is the defensive reactions that we see when questions, contrary ideas, or criticism are offered. All of us are guilty of this to some degree and we handicap ourselves and diminish our benefit form this component to the degree that we are.
2. The second hindrance is the devil of course. (He also has a part in the first don’t you think?) Can you imagine that if something is important to God to the extent that He puts it in His Word so extensively that Satan doesn’t hate it and do all he can to discourage it? Obviously if God is for it he is against it. So the devil does all he can to oppose the process. In God’s Word Satan is called the deceiver and the father of lies. And one of his greatest lies is that we don’t need counsel or to be accountable to it, that we can just “go it alone.” The graveyard of spiritual failures, where the potentials of those who have fallen through trying to go it alone, is filled with the unmet potential of the fallen, and the rewards that had been set aside for those buried there are interred with them. Every time a man or woman of God crashes in sin or disgrace because of the lack of understanding and application of the principle of seeking and receiving godly counsel Satan gloats. The shame is not that the tool is not available but that it is not used.
3. Another hindrance is the unwillingness of those who possess it to share it. This is the case where one member thinks that they may have a godly criticism, warning, or question in response to the seeker or his position, but withhold it out of fear or the desire to be liked or popular or for some other reason. In the Old Testament God held the failure to warn others as a very serious offense. We don’t live under the Old Testament law but the principle is still valid. If God tells us to do something to help another in any form, and we withhold it, we sin. This can be a tragic loss to the seeking one and can lead to unnecessary heartache or missed opportunity.
4. We do not feel or think that our fellow group members could possibly understand our issue or have anything to offer. This could be rooted in pride. We convince ourselves that no one else could possibly really understand what we are going through. We think our situation is so unique that no one else could ever have any fresh or new perspective or ideas.
5. And then there is the danger of counsel that is given that is less than godly but still practical. There is a wisdom of the world but it is earthly, sensual, and demonic according to James. (Ch.3: v.15) Worldly wisdom is always appealing and can produce positive results in this world. But the benefit of worldly wisdom or counsel based on it is limited to this world and can only cause eternal loss.
We are all so contaminated or influenced by worldly thinking that we easily flow to it in our deliberations and consequently in our counsel. Most of us have
been so well schooled in the ways of the world, especially where business is involved, that our minds just go there naturally when we don’t think about it intentionally or take other steps to preclude it. For most of us, most of the time, it is our default position! We don’t stop and think, “I think I will give advice based on my worldly education, training, or experience.” We just do it! Naturally. Often we give very good, practical, and pragmatic advice that is not godly at all. It is easy to do. Without real effort we will do it just about every time.
But in the final analysis we don’t need to be in a [email protected] group to get worldly advice. Our model is predicated on the concept of gathering together God’s people to help one another through mutual learning, accountability, and the engagement of principle of godly counsel. We can all get all the worldly counsel we want other places, but in [email protected] we implicitly and explicitly ask for godly counsel.
Ray is also a highly sought after speaker at churches and retreats across America, where for years he has challenged followers of Christ to integrate their faith in and through the marketplace on a daily basis.He is also part of the speaking faculty for Orlando, Florida based “Man In the Mirror” ministry where he conducts seminars and retreats across the country.