Tuesday, February 7, 2023


 Since the dawn of kingdoms and kings, there have been councils of elders to instruct, direct, and counsel the man wearing the crown and sitting on the throne. Throughout every continent, at any given time in history, you will see that there was always a body of experienced individuals tasked with advising and informing the person in charge. The wise ones took the counsel of their elders into consideration and made the requisite choices, while the foolhardy and quick-tempered flew off the handle at a moment’s notice with dire consequences for their kingdoms.

Wise counsel is to be prized and not overlooked. Oftentimes the counsel of a brother or an elder in the faith can give you the answer to your question far clearer than anything else. The reason is that they’ve likely experienced the same hardships, struggles, setbacks, and trials, and having gone through them and come out victorious, they can speak from personal experience.

There’s a two-tiered benefit to seeking counsel: first, seeking the counsel of someone who’s gone through what you’re going through tells you that there is a victory to be had, and second, you can learn what they did to obtain the victory. You’d be surprised how often the fix to something is so simple that you overlook it because of its simplicity.

It’s like people who are endlessly trying to lose weight, who don’t try eating less and exercising more because that’s just too simple. It needs to be complicated. You need to wake up at dawn and boil three cabbages, then drink the water while it’s warm, then two hours later, you need to eat two chicken feet and a fig. Afterward, you fast for sixteen hours, then drink a gallon of water with three drops of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Repeat that for six months, and you won’t recognize yourself in the mirror. Or, you can eat less and exercise more.

One of the best things about wise counsel is that it tends to poke holes in your bad ideas. We all have blind spots about certain things, and all it takes is the counsel of a wise friend to make us see that perhaps mail-order ice sculptures aren’t the hottest idea ever after all.

Proverbs 12:15, “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.”

Not all counsel is the same. There is good counsel, godly counsel, virtuous counsel, and wise counsel; there is also foolish, wicked, destructive, and harmful counsel. You can tell which is which quickly enough because one will lead you to the truth, the other to deception. The enemy will never give you good counsel, and a godly man will never give you wicked counsel. If you received evil counsel from what you assumed was a godly man, perhaps the godliness you thought you saw was superficial.

I still get a bad taste in my mouth when recalling one of America’s premiere spiritual sages telling a man whose wife had gotten Alzheimer’s that leaving her was justified. Never mind the vows you took. When it gets rocky, it’s time to bounce!

And that’s when your own reasoning ability comes into play. If your mind is renewed, you know offhand that the counsel you got from a perceived spiritual authority was wrong and foolish. That he would assume you can just turn off love and abandon someone who’s been by your side for decades says a lot about his character, but I don’t want to go there. He finally retired, off into the wild blue yonder of thousand-thread count Egyptian cotton diapers, and one of the things he will be most remembered for is giving a husband permission to abandon his ill wife.

You don’t cast pearls to swine, but you don’t keep them in a dumpster either. Your mind ought to be a treasury of wisdom and lived experiences that can clarify confusing decisions based on previous outcomes. God’s direction isn’t there to short-circuit your brain. Use it; it’s yours. If every time I park on a certain street, I get a parking ticket, my ability to reason tells me I shouldn’t park on that street unless I want another ticket.

God has various ways of keeping us on the narrow path, of directing and guiding us, but in order for Him to lead, we must follow. We’re supposed to submit to God but also resist the devil. One without the other is akin to a blindfolded man hopping on one leg, hoping he’s going in the right direction.

We are commanded to do two things that much of the contemporary church finds arduous and difficult, if not outright impossible. First, submit to God, which doesn’t mean that you’re co-captain or that you get to have a say in where He takes you. You surrender, yield, and no longer resist when you’re submitted to God. Fighting God every day because you think you deserve more, a greater calling, or a bigger ministry isn’t submitting to Him.

Second, resist the devil. To resist the devil isn’t to ignore him, pretend as though he is not there, or try to negotiate peace; it is to exert force in opposition to him. To push back, to go on the offensive, to stop giving up territory and taking his. What much of the church is doing today is not resisting the devil. They are not opposing him directly or indirectly. They’re just hoping that the devil will be satisfied with their current wave of capitulation and relinquishment. He won’t be; the church knows he won’t be, but the hardest lies to identify as lies are the lies we tell ourselves.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

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