Among the many things we should know about how the kingdom of God operates is what I term ‘a principle about principles’. This is the principle that suggests that we cannot substitute one biblical principle for another. There must be proper balance and all the principles of God need to be fully engaged to maximize output. For instance, there is the principle of giving (sowing and reaping) as a path to financial abundance as seen in Luke 6:38 – give and it shall be given unto you. There is also a principle of prayer for supply of needs in the Lord’s Prayer – give us this day, our daily bread. For that reason, you cannot give and ignore the principle of prayer, neither can you pray and ignore the principle of giving to the poor. There must be completeness in our practice.
This simple principle has led to the frustration of many Christians as we are unable to figure out why the desired result is not seen despite enthusiastic application of a biblical principle. Often times, it is due to an incomplete practice. To enjoy the maximum output of a spiritual promise, all supporting principles must be employed. I will elaborate on this in a different post.
I said all that to say this; even Spirit filled Christians need counselors. Yes, we are led by God who is our shepherd and we have the mind of Christ. Indeed the Holy Spirit teaches us all things and we are filled with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know what we ought to do. Unquestionably, we are able to seek direction from the Lord. Yet, there remains a need for counselors as there will be seasons when God chooses to or permits us to walk solely by the counsel of men.
God does this for a few reasons but a prominent one is His design of mankind to be interdependent (not co-dependent). Some portion of our emotional, spiritual, and psychological sustenance will come from our relationship with God; on the other hand a good portion will also come from our relationship with men like us. That’s why we see commands like ‘confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed’ in the Bible. Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs and at a point of great agony, even Jesus tried to draw strength from His three closest confidants. He was demonstrating a principle that we must follow. Adam could have had a life of communion with God alone but God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper who is just right for him.”
A minor diversion – One of the ways a wife helps her husband and vice versa is by providing counsel. Your spouse is innately stuffed with words of counsel for specific situations you will face on your journey. Therefore to ignore his/her counsel and pray with fasting over a matter He has supplied the solution to is a waste of time.
Second reason we are designed to be interdependent is to deal with the pride of man. Naturally we are inclined to bouts of hubris, but a man who will never need counsel from another man is significantly more prone. To seek counsel is to admit a lack of knowledge or a lack of confidence in your understanding. These are very difficult to do especially for men. Hence why a man gets lost while driving and drives for thirty-five minutes before he is humble enough to ask for help from other drivers.
17 “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. 18 “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. 19 Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.
24 Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. – Exodus 18:17-19, 24 – (NLT)
Moses was a man unlike any other who lived before him and I dare say, after him. He was a man with a unique ministry and who had exceptional encounters with God starting from the burning bush and for the rest of his life. At a point, God said to Moses, “see, I have made you as God to Pharaoh.” God spoke to Moses face to face as friends speak. He was quite the guy; a prophet among prophets. Yet, God never gave him the counsel he got from his father-in-law, Jethro. He could have overworked himself to death without this important piece of counsel. I particularly love that the Bible is clear about the fact that Moses listened to Jethro’s advice and implemented what he was told to do. There is no ambiguity about the fact that Moses the mighty man of God was counseled and he heeded the counsel he was given. You will never get to a height in life where you live above the counsel of men. Not ever.
It goes without saying that when being counseled, it must not contradict God’s word or cause you to transgress. There should be a check and balance to be sure it is actually godly counsel and not temptation. Jethro (God bless this man) said in other words; check with God before you heed my counsel. That’s a man whose counsel you want to heed – a man who acknowledges that God has ultimate wisdom and authority.
23 If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” – Exodus 18:23 (NLT)
I am one who has always believed in the concept of mentoring. A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. For every area of life where you want to excel, you need a mentor – someone who has walked the path before and can help you avoid some booby traps and landmines aka costly mistakes.
In business for example, it is a fantastic idea to pray for wisdom. The Bible supports this principle in James 1:5 which says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” However it will also do you great good to seek the counsel of experts in the field. I run all things by God and pray for wisdom but I speak to experts and people with more experience in any area of interest. I am not ashamed to say, I don’t know it all and I could use your wisdom in this area.
My dad would always say to us that ‘no one has the monopoly of wisdom’ as he trained us to have a joint approach to problem solving. I couldn’t agree more as you being one person will never see all the angles. Proverbs 11:4 says, ‘where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.’ The proper employment of counselors reduces the risk factor in decision making and on the journey of life significantly. Shalom.