When you're walking off the beaten path, eventually you will come to a fork in the trail, an incline to climb or a poorly marked opening where you will need someone else's perspective to safely navigate your way back onto the right path. At this point you'll be tempted to turn to your fellow sojourner for advice.
Resist the temptation.
Chances are, she or he are seeing things from your same perspective. Limited. Focused. Myopic. Amateur.
That's when you'll need to seek wise counsel from someone who has traveled this way before or who has navigated similar twists on their own trail.
Trail Tip #9 - Seek Wise Counsel
Who do you go to for wise counsel? Over the years I've served in ministry, I've not only had one of the best seats in the house to witness God at work in people's lives, but I've also had a good seat for observing people relating to people. And here's one of the odd things I've noticed.
A lot of people esteem the wrong people.
I realize I'm going out on a shaky limb by even mentioning this little quirk. But it concerns me to no end when I notice folks repeatedly going to certain people for wise counsel who have no business passing out directions for doing laundry, much less making the tough decisions in life.
Who do you go to for wise counsel? Do the following criteria serve as your guidelines for wisdom personified?
Wisdom does NOT necessarily come from the following:
- people with gray hair
- the person who talks a lot
- the person who wrote a book
- a rich and famous person
- the person with a following
- the person with an "air" of authority
In fact, according to the Bible in 1 Corinthians 1, that which is truly wise often comes from surprising and seemingly foolish sources.
And according to James 3:13-18, true wisdom will always be attached to a few other distinctively godly characteristics. Always. Without fail.
- Gentleness. The wise person doesn't force their wisdom on you. They gently present it so you can receive it.
- Purity. It is always birthed from the purity of God's Word.
- Peace. The wise person is one who is consistently living a quiet and peaceful life. There is no drama here.
- Reasonable. The wise person is one who is willing to yield. Once again, they don't manipulate you or heap you down with guilt for not agreeing. If they are truly right, they allow you the ability to find that out for yourself rather than insisting on their own way.
- Merciful and fruitful. This person is bearing the spiritual fruit of mercy as well as all the other fruit of the spirit. In other words, this person doesn't just say, "I'm an apple tree," but this person actually bears apples as proof.
- Unwavering. They don't force their wisdom upon you, but their wisdom doesn't change with the wind either. They live consistently by the message they preach.
- Without hypocrisy. Once again, their walk matches their talk.
- Self-abasing. The Bible says this person's wisdom is not present for self-promoting reasons. In fact, this person has no desire to promote self whatsoever. Which is exactly why this person may not even be the first person you think of when you think of a "wise person." They are living so quietly and humbly that they do not in any way draw attention to themselves.
Are you at a crossroads today? Seek God first. He is the source of all wisdom (James 1:5). But if He directs you to seek the counsel of someone who has traveled this part of the path before, look for someone who is so humble and simple that at first you overlook them.
Who do you consider to be wise? What makes them wise in your eyes?
Labels: Trail Tips for a Modern Gal on an Ancient Path, What's in Your Pack, wisdom