Getting Godly Advice

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.”—Calvin Coolidge

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”—Proverbs 15:22

Who's Your Go-To For Wisdom
Who do you go to for advice? Your spouse? Your pastor? A trusted friend? If these folks are in the mix, you’ve got a pretty good list going. But getting good advice is more than just luck. The ripple effect from every decision you make, be it big or small, can have far-reaching consequences. I am not suggesting that you stall and procrastinate for fear of making a poor choice. I am suggesting, however, that you base your decisions on a biblically sound process of seeking God’s will – including getting Godly advice – and I do mean Godly with a capital “G.”

Now pay close attention to that last statement. Getting Godly advice is only one of several critical steps in determining God’s will. Entire volumes of books have been written about the process. You can always be confident about a course of action that doesn’t violate God’s Word, has been confirmed the Holy Spirit, and is supported by seeking the Godly truth. But not all decisions are so straightforward. And seeking Godly counsel (in combination with several other vital indicators) can contribute to choosing wisely. Proverbs makes rather a big deal of it:

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”—Proverbs 11:14

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”—Proverbs 13:20

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”—Proverbs 15:22

So “who you gonna call?” You might not want to make the same mistake King Rehoboam made (1 Kings 12). His choice to heed the counsel of young men his age rather than that of older men who had known his father, King Solomon, ended up dividing the kingdom and eventually led to its destruction. The lesson being, choose your counselors well.

How To Find Wise Counsel

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One | Seek counsel from older men
Find a godly man about ten years your senior and extract the truth from him. By listening to an older, wiser, more mature man who has “been around the block a few times,” you will discover nuances in decision making that will help you as you make decisions. They are often voices who possess deep spiritual insight and who are known to seek God’s direction for themselves.

Two | Seek counsel from men who have faced your issues
Talk not only to those who have plenty of life experience but also to those who perhaps have faced decisions similar to yours in the past. Buy them a meal, and spend a little time learning from how they handled their challenges. Discover the issues and problems they faced and what they learned through the process.

Three | Seek counsel from men who challenge you
While it’s easy to seek counsel only from those who you know ahead of time will agree with what you, maybe you need to hear from those who have a contrarian voice to what you might need to hear. And when I say contrarian, I mean contrarian in their delivery and position. Every one of us knows a person with a ton of life wisdom whose personality, approach, and opinion challenge us. And while we don’t like to invite them to speak into our life, they often have knowledge that we can discover. Even disagreeable people have learned great truth throughout their life. Finding "the meat and tossing the bones” is part of our job in seeking the truth—even from disagreeable people. Wise people learn how to gain wisdom from people on the other side of the aisle. And men who carefully listen even to a challenging voice grow wiser just in the activity of listening.

Four | Seek counsel from men who have failed
Men who have failed, which is all of us, fail for specific reasons. They have learned insightful lessons, and you need to learn from them. They are often waiting to tell you to avoid the same mistakes. You will even get to hear and perhaps see the ramifications from these poor choices firsthand. Go to these men and learn from them, and do not make the same mistakes they did, but learn from what got them into their situations. This type of counsel is frequently avoided but is an excellent source of wisdom.

Five | Ask God for counsel
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

Let’s just put it out there—real men admit that they don’t know everything. In his book Decision Making & the Will of God, Garry Friesen points out that the right attitude for acquiring wisdom includes humility and teachability—along with reverence, diligence, uprightness, and faith. In a nutshell, Friesen’s approach to making the best decisions includes:

1. Asking God for wisdom.
2. Scouring the pages of Scripture.
3. Conducting some personal research.
4. Seeking wise counsel.
5. Looking back on (and learning from) your own life experience.

The ultimate source of wise counsel, of course, is God Himself. And let’s face it—even in all our earnestness to make the best, most sensible, most God-honoring choices, we’ll still occasionally blow it. But God is always with us. He has the power not only to use our mistakes for good but also to redirect us to the right path. So keep moving forward, confident that as you grow in spiritual maturity, you’ll also get better and better at making the best choices—in part because you have chosen your counselors well.

Vince Miller Speaking All In

Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is 20 Lessons That Build A Leader.

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