Counsel and Circumstances.
Proverbs is the book of wisdom which means the practical application of knowledge. A collection of verses affirms the value of godly advice.
- “A man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.” (Proverbs 27:9 NASB)
- “In abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6 NASB)
- “Prepare plans by consultation.” (Proverbs 20:18 NASB)
Insights from a mature Christian friend often can help you sift through the pros and cons of decision-making. Individuals with whom you have developed a mutual accountability relationship can be especially helpful.
I remember one specific incident when God used the wisdom of others as a catalyst for His healing. I had sensed for several months that God was dealing with my life and ministry. I prayed frequently, asking God to enlighten me, and studied His Word. Still, I had no real sense of His direction.
I called four of my closest friends one afternoon and asked them to meet me the next morning. They cleared their schedule and we gathered to pray and talk.
After many hours, one of the men whom I knew well asked me this question: “Charles, how would you feel if your father picked you up in his arms and said, ‘I love you’?” I instantly burst into tears. My father died when I was a baby and my stepfather was an angry, hostile man who never expressed love. At that moment, God showed me how much He really did care for me and that I needed to receive and experience His love each day. And I can honestly say my life and preaching have never been the same since that encounter.
I’m sure God could have revealed all of this in another manner, but He chose to use wise, godly friends as His means of opening my eyes to His truth. Likewise, God has put certain people in your life who can be of great value in helping you know His will.
I might add that the arrangement of circumstances can be indicators of God’s guidance. Obviously, the Lord works through events and providentially orchestrates them for your good. If you are praying about buying a good used car with low mileage and you discover in a conversation with your neighbor that he would like to sell his car, which happens to match your desires, it’s a good idea to check it out.
You may find it’s the ideal automobile that fits your taste and your budget. But you may discover in reviewing maintenance and repair records that it is not mechanically reliable. Neither circumstance nor counsel alone should ever determine God’s guidance. They must work in conjunction with persevering prayer, dependence on the Holy Spirit, and immersion in God’s Word.
George Sweeting writes in How to Discover the Will of God: “Often guidance in the will of God will come to us in the normal circumstances of life, through open and closed doors. But be careful not to give this area more consideration than it deserves. Satan can also open and shut doors of opportunity. Gather all the facts, and prayerfully seek the mind of God.”