I’m no stranger to making stupid choices. In my senior year of high school, I decided to date one of my best friend’s best friends just to make my best friend angry. I wanted revenge for something they did to me. So, I sat down in front of my youth pastor with a few close friends during a staged How I Met Your Mother-esque intervention and excitedly told them my master plan. Their reactions were as incredulous as you can imagine, and they told me how stupid I was, like true friends are supposed to do. My plan unsurprisingly crashed hard a few months later when the girl I started dating ended up cheating on me, but my friends were still around to listen to me vent late into the night, like true friends are supposed to do.
Sometimes I look around and wonder how amazing it is that we’re all still alive. You would’ve thought somewhere along the way someone would have made a choice stupid enough to end the entire human race. We all make asinine decisions every day. Some are inane and inconsequential, like when I put too many ingredients in my shake and blow up the blender. Others are downright pridefully sinful, like my thirst for revenge in high school or like the time I was asked to speak in chapel but I prepared my message for all of 30 minutes and gave the worst representation of Christianity in the most awkward 20-minutes of my life to a bunch of high schoolers. No matter what it is, we all need people—like my friends or my youth pastor—who are willing to sit down with us and let God speak to us through their wisdom when our own thick skulls get in the way. We all need Godly counsel.
One of the best examples of seeking Godly counsel is found in Galatians 2:11-14. In this letter, Paul calls out Peter (aka Cephas) for being hypocritical. When Peter was within the company of Gentiles without other Jews, he would eat and mingle with Gentiles, a sin of uncleanliness due to Jewish dietary laws. But when other Jews were around, Peter would disassociate himself from the Gentiles and become sectarian, only associating with fellow Jews. To Paul, Peter’s actions threatened the gospel because it implied that Gentiles had to live like Jews to be saved The cross freed God’s people up from living under the requirements of the Old Testament Law, not enslaving them to it. Paul spared no harsh word in addressing Peter’s hypocrisy. Peter acted foolishly and Paul confronted him whether Peter wanted it or not.
One of the marks of true wisdom is both seeking out Godly counsel when making decisions and listening to Godly counsel when it’s given to you. In Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus gives an illustration involving an optometrist with a log in his own eye trying to perform eye surgery to remove a speck of dust from his friend’s eye. According to Jesus, we often see the inconsistencies in other people’s lives but ignore the glaring sin in our own lives, and we need other people to point it out for us. Christians should be the people in the world who are most aware of their helplessness because they know that they are completely broken without God’s help. They’re most most aware of their own sin because they know how needy they are of salvation. Bible college is a unique opportunity to live closely with other Christians, encouraging and being encouraged. I’ve been able to recognize things in others lives as well as have others point shamefully sinful things out in my own life. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
True wisdom listens to the counsel of other believers because we sometimes stubbornly shove our fingers in our ears and start kicking and screaming, ignoring God’s voice. Others’ hearts may be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice than our own, and they may be able to bring a message otherwise lost on deaf ears. Christians believe that we don’t have it all together and we can’t live life alone. Wise people submit to the instruction and counsel of others when they tell you you’re being moronic. Wisdom listen to people who may have traveled down the same path you’re about to walk down and know that there’s danger lying at the end. Robert Frost’s road less-traveled may be less-traveled because it leads to a lion’s den. But wisdom is also intentionally seeking directions from a Godly brother or sister in Christ before you even start traveling. If I understood that during high school, I would have saved myself a lot of heart ache.
You can also check out my personal blog at http://aspiringtheologian.wordpress.com
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