by Pastor Tim Burt
I will not be writing for the rest of this week as Renee and I are taking a very short vacation. I’ll be back to writing next Monday! To visit past posts from the archives, go to TimBurt.org. We’ll be praying for you!
Have you ever watched someone you sincerely care for, make bad decisions? It can feel painful and difficult because you don’t really have the entrance to say anything unless they come to you and ask you what you think. They might tell you about decisions they are making but not ask for your input. It might look like they are about to drive off a cliff. At times like this, when do you say something and when do keep your mouth shut? Good question but not so easy to answer.
If you begin to read the New Testament you will see there are four gospels. Why did Jesus give us four gospels? Why did He give us four perspectives to view His life, His Words, and His ministry from? The answer is simple. No one person can see all that’s needed to be seen. When we read the four gospels, it sometimes seems like they are slightly different in what they say. For that reason, many non-believers attack the scriptures saying they aren’t accurate for that reason. Does that mean they contradict each other? No! It means the view becomes more accurate through the four perspectives each inspired by God. As 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT) says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true…”
Most people avoid counsel from those they think will oppose what they desire to do. That’s sad because that’s why so many people do make bad decisions and end up in places or situations they come to regret. Quite often the people they avoid are the people who know them best, or are best qualified to help them.
Whether you realize this or not, God is always there to give us a more accurate view of what we cannot see clearly. He wants to help us in every situation and lead us in a godly path toward successful results. He’s most likely to do that through the counsel of His Word and the leading of His Holy Spirit. When people need advise and they are in an adverse situation, because of the pain of adverse circumstances, they too often shut down and quit looking to hear from God and instead make impulsive decisions just to try and rescue their situation. Either way, God doesn’t stop trying to reach and help us. He sends laborers of many kinds to attempt to speak into our lives. It may be something you hear from the pulpit, or online. It may be through a book, a friend, or a counselor. God will try to get His wisdom to you somehow! You’ll see and hear it if you keep your walls down and keep seeking His wisdom! God will find a way to speak into your life. But if your heart isn’t open, you won’t hear. If you don’t want to hear what you don’t like, then even if you do hear, you won’t listen.
Finally, if you go get counsel but haven’t made up your mind to respect the fact that others can observe your situation from the outside and help you see what you’ve not been able to see yourself, then it will do you no good. That happens more often than not in marriage counseling!
It’s very easy to become exasperated when those you love won’t listen to good counsel. It happened to Samuel regarding God’s people. Even so, Samuel adopted a good attitude of not giving up on God’s people as we see in 1 Samuel 12:23 (NLT). “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.”
Samuel spoke with the same heart that any of us do when we see a bad situation coming down the road for someone we care about. We try to warn them, but they don’t listen. His attitude was what all of ours should be. It’s not an I told you so attitude. Things may turn out just as you warned someone. Even so, you have to love them, and continue to pray for them.
Anyone can be guilty of shunning good counsel, it’s important to keep in a place where you can stay sensitive to hear from God. Be quick to get on your knees and repent when you’ve shut others out from speaking into your life so that you can again hear from God. Don’t go to get counsel from just your best friend who is biased toward you and will lean toward speaking what you want to hear. Get views and perspectives from those that have earned your respect and most importantly, that have a track record of success in the area of counsel you need. Then commit that you will listen and act upon that counsel with a determination to succeed, whether it’s hard or not, and whether it hurts or not. God will help you. Your victories are His desire and He is the Counselor of Counselors. But you have to be seeking and willing to listen!
James 1:5-8 (NIV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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