My son Benjamin...
is getting so big so fast! His new thing is to point his finger at things... like his "nose", "mouth", "dada" & "mama"... then there is the occasional pointing at a random person while talking a bunch of jibberish. Like he's telling them what to do. One need only watch home videos of me as a child to know where he got that from... :) It's that typical first-born bossiness coming out I suppose!
As I was reading my Bible this morning and thinking about Benjamin's new "skill", the thought occurred to me that our human nature would much rather GIVE counsel than RECEIVE it. We would prefer to be the ones "instructing" and feeling very proud of ourselves for doing so. :)
Proverbs 19:20 says, "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end." Why is this so hard for me to do? My first thought was, "Well, it depends on who the counsel is coming FROM!" Then almost immediately, I realized this thought stemmed from pride. The truth is, God may choose to speak to me through an "unlikely" source. But, would I be willing to listen?
Now, I do not believe that we should blindly follow every bit of counsel that people shoot at us.... that is not even possible. You would be constantly contradicting yourself trying to please everyone. That isn't the point. The point is, when someone is sharing wisdom with me that is rooted in the Word of God, I need to be willing to examine my OWN self, instead of "pointing my finger," telling OTHERS what they should do.
IN THE SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS Now, that's key. And very difficult to do, I might add. But, how do we refrain from "casting our pearls before swine" or discern if the hearer doesn't have an open heart to hear what you are saying? I have been pondering this subject A LOT lately, and this is what I've concluded so far:
First of all, I believe when we are "giving counsel", it should not be our OPINION of what they should be doing differently. It must be a command in Scripture that they are in direct violation of. If we don't use the Word of God as our measuring stick, what is our measuring stick? The infinite number of opinions out there? No. That won't work. It HAS to be GOD'S WORD.
Secondly, the more I think about this subject, the more I see how much we need the Holy Spirit directing us and giving us a "word" when we need it. (Matthew 10:19-20) Have you ever had that experience before of talking with someone, and all of a sudden... feeling a check in your spirit. Like, "this person just shut down on me, or, this person is overloaded with information and cannot accept anymore right now"? I have! I've also had the opposite happen. I've felt God drop the right words in my mind at exactly the right time, and I thought... "Wow! Where did that come from?!" It's awesome to think how God could use us to minister to others IF our own spirit were in complete submission to His will!!
We CAN'T do it without being rooted in His Word, and we CAN'T do it without the leading of His Spirit!
Lord, help me to always examine myself first; then be willing to open my mouth, FOR YOU, in the spirit of meekness!