“Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.” ~ Proverbs 20:18, NLT
“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.” ~ Proverbs 19:20, NLT
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” ~ Proverbs 15:22, NLT
“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” ~ Proverbs 12:15, NLT
“Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.” ~ Proverbs 9:9, NLT
“Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance.” ~ Proverbs 1:5, NLT
Reading the quotes above, I recall a book I read by John C. Maxwell, “The 21 Laws of Leadership” a few years ago that really impacted me. In it, one of the laws was your “Inner Circle” – paraphrasing: ‘you are no better than the worse of whom you surround yourself with.’ At the time, that really hit home for me. I was in a very bad place in my life and my choice of friends was beyond questionable…not anyone you’d be proud to take home to Mom – or for a more relatable reference – no one you’d want your kids bringing home to you. I’ve since removed myself from that circle of friends and am much better for it in many ways.
In my walk with God, it is even more imperative with whom I surround myself with on this journey. Let me set the record straight right now by stating that: I truly love ALL of my friends, regardless of where they are in their own personal journey in life. I’m not saying I don’t lean on my friends, I’m not saying I don’t talk to my friends, all I’m saying is that I have to consciously ask myself if the advice I’m being given is of God. Do they support my journey towards God?
When it comes to expanding on my walk, understanding my walk, and achieving the goal in pursuing my walk, I’ve come to realize that it is vital to have spiritual counselors who can help along the way, just as the bible says. By spiritual counselors I mean fellow church members and other people who are strong in their faith. Advisors who are wise in Christ. People who can refer to the bible and direct pain and trials back to His Word.
Let me give an example: I’m stressed. My mind is racing and I want to do something that I know is NOT right. In my mind I am making a case to convince myself of the doubt and fears that want to consume me. I call on my spiritual counselor and she refers me to specific bible verses: (Romans 8 – the cardinal mind and how it works against the flesh. 1 Corinthians 2:16 – the mind of Christ.) She instructs me on how to pray, what to pray, and even prays with me. I hang up, refocused again on God and my walk. I am strengthened by her faith. And my demons, for the moment, are defeated.
Spiritual friends feed our faith, friends of the world tend to feed our flesh. Not to say that this is intentional or bad, but how often do we talk to friends and end up in a ‘bitchfest’ or a ‘bashing’ session, taking turns complaining about how bad life is? When we talk of worldly ideas and thoughts, they often times only worsens the fears and doubts by helping to justify them. They pull us away from relationships God wants us to have, or push us towards relationships that God knows are not good for us. God is the only one who can give us true clarity. In the world, there are always three sides to every story, but with God, there is only two. Yours and His…and guess who is always right??