“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of (counselors) there is safety…Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding (walks) uprightly. Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of (counselors) they are established.” Proverbs 11:14 & Proverbs 15:21-22
Well there you have it; according to God’s Word, counselors win. Debate over. But hold on a moment, the Bible has more to say on the issue. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we need to consider the Bible in its entirety, as it pertains to any given matter. We simply cannot take a Bible passage (or two, or three) and twist them in such a manner that would justify a particular agenda — no one should proclaim (for example), “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry,” before digging a little deeper into the full counsel of God.
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:22)
Essentially there are two types: worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. One is from above and the other is base. One regularly changes with the tide of an emotion-centric culture, while the other never changes. One is self-centered and the other is Christ-centered. One leads to everlasting death and the other to life everlasting. Both will claim they only have your best interest at heart, but only one of these claims can be true.
I believe we see a clear distinction between the ‘worldly vs Godly’ counsel throughout the Proverbs. Beginning in Proverbs 2:16 the writer [Solomon] makes reference to ‘the strange woman,’ aka the ‘adulteress who flatters with her words.’ Literally speaking, seductresses are a reality and we should take heed lest we fall, but I submit to you that Solomon is figuratively directing our attention towards the charmer, the one that leaves the companion of her youth, forgets her covenant with God, and leads men (mankind) astray with wisdom that tickles the ears and caters to carnality. This wisdom screams, “It’s all about you (and) you deserve a break today (and) if it feels good, do it.”
Solomon continues, ‘her house sinks down to death and her tracks lead to the dead; none who go to her return again, nor do they reach the paths of life.’ In other words, she and her words are to be avoided like the plague. Our Father in Heaven would not have us go that way, which is why He chose to begin that blessed Proverb with these wise-words:
“…If you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will guard you, understanding will watch over you” (Proverbs 2:1-11)
See the picture that God is painting: any counsel which is not steeped in His Word, His Commandments, His plan, and His good will, is errant counsel. Run away from it. Short term there may be some benefit, but long-term it leads to destruction. If the wisdom you receive is based on worldly logic, focused primarily upon your emotions, well-being, and self-discovery, that counsel (and counselor) should be summarily rejected. Arguably, you might save your marriage, you might sober up, you might be free of that porn-addiction, but I ask you, “Where is God in that equation?” God is the only One by whose stripes we are truly healed. Any solutions we proffer in our flesh are short-lived at best; a bargain-store bandage that covers temporarily, but does not heal.
If we’re to combine discipleship and counseling, both must adhere to a strict interpretation of God’s Word. Then and only then are we in God’s will and grace. When Jesus said go and make disciples of all nations, it was the discipler’s understanding that they were to go and counsel the unsaved in this manner. My point is this: wise counsel is true wisdom only if it’s given in the spirit of Christian discipleship. Anything short of that, even counsel that might be seasoned with occasional Biblical morsels, is worthless, at least as far as the big picture is concerned.
Where in the Bible did you come up with that?”
If you are a Christian and your counselor is not a Christian, or they profess to be a Christian, but routinely omit Biblical doctrine from their advice, you should politely dump that adviser. And if you’re not sure the wisdom they’re spewing is Biblical, ask them. Simply say, “Where in the Bible did you come up with that?” If they can’t adequately respond, you have identified a problem that needs correction – you need a disciple-er, not a counselor.
Start With a Basic Premise
Are you a Christian struggling with sin? Is your marriage in a shambles? Are you addicted to alcohol, drugs, or pornography? First things first – are you sure you’re a Christian; you may in fact just be a believer. That is to say you believe in Jesus Christ, but you’re not a follower. It’s the difference between believing in parachutes and actually putting one on and jumping out of an airplane. You might be surprised to learn how many professing Christians only believe in Jesus, but do not adhere to (follow) any of His teachings. Where do we get such a notion? From Jesus. He said…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do…If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:12 + 15)
Simply put, love for Jesus is revealed in obedience. Conversely, disobedience of the habitual sort is a sure sign you have no love for the Messiah. It’s also a good indicator that you’re not being discipled, or you’re being discipled very poorly, or you’re not paying attention in class.
Let’s assume that your salvation is real — did you know you possess the power to not sin? Did you know that sin only imprisons non-believers, but believers have been freed from these bonds?
In regard to your addictions, your failures, and your sinful shortcomings, the shackles have been removed, the jail doors have swung open, and the prison walls have been torn down. You are a free man. Don’t take my word for it, consider the source: God’s Word…
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life… knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:3-4, 6-7)
The last portion gives us this assurance: ‘he who has died (that is to say, the born-again believer/follower of Christ Jesus) is freed from sin.’
“Then,” you may ask, “Why do I still sin?”
The answer is simple: you still have access to your body of sin. In other words, you are freed from the bondage of sin, but you can choose to return to that jail cell if you desire. For this reason the Romans passage exhorts us to constantly consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ, and to not let sin reign in our bodies so that we obey its lusts. In other words, remove every sinful thing from our lives. If you’re prone to drink, get rid of the alcohol. If pornography is your thing, trash the PC. If you can’t control your anger, stop harboring violence on your TV. As Romans 6:13 says…
“Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
Still caught-up in habitual sin?
Then please tell me how you’ve been presenting your members as instruments of righteousness to God?
You know what? You won’t be able to, because you haven’t been. If you’re a chronic sinner, you’re not following Jesus – you’ve dug up your ‘old man’ and performed a little CPR on him. You have revived that which you formerly crucified with Christ. It’s not huge problem though – confession will put him back in the grave.
“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:20-23)
For this reason Jesus instructed His students (disciples)…
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
Picking up our cross signifies that by faith we have been baptized into His death. It’s like recalling our baptism everyday. Jesus counsels us to do this daily because He knows our penchant towards sin and earthly pleasure. The fact that some (many) Christians still have a desire to sin addictively is not news to Him. Jesus is not surprised that bodily pleasure often rules the soul. This is why He tells us beforehand, “Deny yourself and follow Me!”
Does it not make sense that if we’re going to take-up our cross daily, we must first put-down whatever is currently in our hands? The teaching is so elementary. We might recall that Jesus said His teachings are easy and His burden is light. If you do not find this to be the case, then you’re not doing it right! This is discipleship 101 and some of the wisest Biblical counsel you will ever hear!
You’re not a special case and your particular addiction is not unique.”
If you’re struggling with these fundamental doctrines it simply means you need more discipling and you need to start practicing that which you already know. You’re not a special case and your particular addiction is not unique. You’re a sinner just like everybody else and you need to stop doing things your way and start doing things His way. Fire your worldly counselors and seek out some Godly ones through a pastor and church with the same mindset. Find a Bible-thumping, God-fearing church, and jump in feet first. Read your Bible, do your devotions, seek the Lord through prayer, plug-in to church activities, do what Jesus would do in every instance, and pick up that cross every day and hold onto it firmly with two hands.
*If you enjoyed the blog, please like it, share it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment below. If you’re a non-Christian counselor, I’m not here to argue, but please feel free to leave your remarks.