Finding Good and Godly Counsel
- Monday, May 20, 2002
Limitations in finding good financial counsel
It is very difficult to receive unbiased advice from someone who is trying to sell a particular product. So, an obvious limitation that Christians should easily recognize is whether the people giving them financial advice are actually giving wise advice or just a sales pitch.
A second limitation is to find financial counselors with like minds, attitudes, and principles. Many financial advisors who profess to be Christians live lifestyles that are far from Christ-like. Likewise there are those who are very good Christians, but they have no knowledge or wisdom concerning the biblical principles of finances.
There are many guidelines in Gods Word for seeking and selecting good godly counsel. So, although seeking counsel is advised, selecting wise counsel is imperative.
Principles for seeking and selecting good financial counsel
There are four basic principles that Christians need to consider in seeking and selecting good godly financial counsel.
1. Seek and select Christian counsel. Seek and select financial counselors on the basis of a common value system. For Christians, that means to seek counsel from those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (Psalm 1:1). In no way does this imply that non-Christians cant give good financial advice. But the standards by which decisions are made must be based on Gods Word and Christ-like character, rather than on the worlds humanistic get-ahead-at-all-costs standards.
2. Seek and select wise counsel. He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20). The fact that people are professed Christians does not qualify them to be good financial counselors. All too often Christians throw wisdom and caution to the wind when it comes to taking advice from professed Christians. Christian counselor and counselee alike must be in regular communication with God and seek His wisdom before any decision is made. So, not only must counselors be knowledgeable in areas of biblical principles in finance but they also must regularly seek Gods wisdom in prayer and in the study of His Word.
3. Seek and select multiple qualified counselors. Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed (Proverbs 15:22). No financial counselor can be expert in all areas of finance. The areas of taxes, securities, stocks, bonds, and real estate are so complex in todays society that only with a variety of good financial counselors who are expert in their respective fields of finance can Christians hope to attain a well rounded perspective of biblical financial principles.
4. Weigh all counsel given. The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps (Proverbs 14:15). The purpose of counsel is to offer suggestions, alternatives, and optionsnot to make decisions on behalf of counselees. Even the best financial counsel in the world lacks an essential element necessary to make sound and wise financial decisionsGods plan for the lives of the counselees. Therefore there should never be a decision made that has not been presented to God in prayer first. The peace of Godor lack of peaceas a result of prayer is an indisputable indicator of Gods preferred directive. In addition, each decision should be tested against Gods Word. If it is not consistent with the purity and the spirit of Gods Word, the decision should be rejected. Counselors motives and actions also should be evaluated. If counselors will deceive others on the counselees behalf, they also will most likely eventually deceive the counselee. Review the five-year track record of any and all people who offer their counsel. Just because they are Christian does not mean that they have been successful in their financial counsel.
The best method for locating good, godly financial counsel is from other Christians who have been helped. This could be fellow church attendees, pastors, or Christian businesspeople. Additionally, this type of information could perhaps be found at Christian professional associations, societies, and organizationsboth locally and nationally.
Without a doubt, good and godly financial counsel is available for all who seek such counsel. But prayer, wisdom, and caution must be foremost in order to select the most qualified counselors and those whose lives and expertise conform to Gods will for the lives of the counselees.
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