Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Seek Godly Counsel

John Gardner made this comment on spiritual leadership and the importance of good godly counsel: “Pity the leader who is caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers.” It is crucial to not just listen to those who will tell you what you want to hear. You need people in your life that have the liberty to say what you need to hear. It has been said, “Flattery will get you nowhere.” Proverbs 28:23 (HCSB) says: “One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with his tongue.”

God guides through the authority of the Scriptures, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of other believers. Proverbs has much to say about the danger of not listening to the wisdom of others: “Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance” (Prov. 11:14) and “Plans fail where there is no counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed” (Prov. 15:22). One of the worst mistakes you can make is to listen only to those who will agree with you.

John Gardner’s quote reminds us of the reality that criticism can crush you and applause can corrupt you. Enlisting the advice of godly mentors can guard you against foolish decisions. They can save you a lot of heartaches, but you must be willing to listen and prayerfully consider their input. A mentor has been defined as someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there. Think about who knows what you need to know and find them. You must have a teachable spirit and a willingness to learn.

Are you open to learning from others? Are you willing to listen and accept wise, sound counsel? Perhaps the biggest obstacle that keeps us from accepting advice is our own pride. You can easily fall into the trap of believing that, as the leader, you must produce all the answers, but you do not. Look to others and recruit a variety of godly counselors. God has placed many around you who have unique expertise and experiences. The core principle of spiritual leadership is trusting God, and He can speak to us through the wise counsel of other believers.

Give other trusted believers in your circle of influence the freedom to express their opinions. The key is not that you always agree, but to discuss and decide together as you prayerfully consider the decision that needs to be made. You need confidants who will speak the truth you need to hear when you need to hear it. You do not need “yes” men, but rather men who love you enough to step into your office, pull the door closed and say, “We need to talk.” Leaders need people who love you enough to confront you privately and speak into your life before you make a decision that could damage you or the church.

Invite people into your inner circle to discuss and give feedback. Have you developed a culture where opinions are valued and desired? The time will come, as a leader, when you will be required to make difficult decisions. They must be faith-based, spirit-led and influenced by the godly counsel of others. Have people close to you who are willing to ask you the hard questions. It has been said, “If you want to go fast travel alone, but if you want to travel far, make the journey with others.” Consider the beauty of a triad that you can bounce ideas off of and they can give you their perspective and concerns.

Be willing to slow down and be sure before you press forward. One bad decision can get your church off the course God desired. One bad decision can place you on a boat fleeing God’s calling and headed for Tarshish instead of Nineveh. Henry Blackaby makes a great point: “Jesus didn’t forsake Judas, but neither did He allow Judas to sidetrack Him from His mission.” You should never abandon those whose advice is not spiritual, but you also cannot allow the detractors to derail what God has called you and your church to accomplish. When God has made clear His direction, to delay would be an abdication of leadership.

The time will come for you to make a decision and that is not easy. Have you heard from the Lord? Are you able to recognize His voice? If you make decisions based only on what seems the most advisable thing to do, it is very easy to settle for something inferior to God’s best. Seek God’s guidance in prayer, confirm His direction through the Scriptures, affirm it through other believers and be willing to evaluate it through your circumstances. Just so you know, spiritual leaders never begin with their circumstances (good or bad) when deciding God’s direction. 

Seeking wise, godly counsel can save you a lot of heartache and disappointment. It can give you the ability to accomplish more because of the strength of numbers. God desires for you to fulfill your calling and not die to the potential He has placed within you.

Jethro said to Moses, “What is this thing you’re doing for the people? Why are you alone sitting as judge, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?… ‘What you’re doing is not good… You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you. because the task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone’” (Exod. 18:14, 17-18).