THE VALUE OF COUNSEL
Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory
No one person has complete knowledge, and everyone has a limited perspective on the truth. God has structured the church in such a way that we need each other. I have made some dumb decisions that would never have been made if I had consulted someone. However, some people will only consult those who agree with them. That's a sign of immaturity.
At the same time, the counsel of others does have to be weighed. There is a fascinating account in Acts 21 where the Holy Spirit seemed to be warning Paul not to go to Jerusalem. Disciples in Tyre "kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem" (21:4). Then a prophet named Agabus gave a visual demonstration by binding himself and saying, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt [Paul] and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles'" (21:11).
Everyone began begging him not to go. "Then Paul answered, '. . . I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.' And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, 'The will of the Lord be done!'" (21:13, 14).
Was the Holy Spirit guiding the disciples and Agabus? The information was mostly true, but the conclusion of the disciples wasn't. The Holy Spirit wasn't trying to prevent Paul from going; He was preparing Paul for the coming persecution. Paul was right in not wanting to take the easy way out.
The missionary Hudson Taylor went against advice, and circumstances nearly destroyed him. But he, more than anyone, opened up China to the gospel. Sometimes people can tell you the truth, but they draw selfish conclusions. Sometimes we need to ascertain our own motives as well as those of the people we seek counsel from, for our motives can be in error as well. The value of counsel is to get an unbiased opinion from a spiritually sensitive person which you can add to the recipe of ingredients God is giving to guide you.
Prayer: Lord, grant me the patience to gather information and seek godly counsel for my decisions.
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