A Teachable Spirit
instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Proverbs 8:33.
Study Helps: Testimonies,
vol. 5, 682–691; Testimonies to Ministers
and Gospel Workers, 313–316.
obedient ear will receive reproof with humility, patience, and teachableness.” Sons and Daughters of God, 166.
1 A BASIC DUTY
one of life’s first duties. Proverbs 1:8, 9.
“You must not walk independently of all counsel. It is your duty to counsel
with your brethren. This may touch your pride, but the humility of a mind
taught by the Holy Spirit will listen to counsel, and will banish all
self-confidence. When counsel is given that conflicts with your personal
wishes, you are not to think that your own wisdom is sufficient for you to give
counsel to others, or that you can afford to neglect the counsel given.” Testimonies to Ministers and
Gospel Workers, 315.
does God regard the unteachable? Proverbs 12:15.
“Some who are imperfect in character are connected with solemn, sacred
interests; and when chosen for a special work, they should not feel that their
own wisdom is sufficient, that they need not be counseled, reproved, and
instructed. Brethren, if you feel thus, you will separate from the Source of
your strength, and will be in peril. You may be left to your own supposed
sufficiency, to do as Judas did—betray your Lord.” Gospel Workers, 414.
should we regard counsel? Proverbs 25:9–12.
“Those who are the most closely connected with God are the ones who know His
voice when He speaks to them. Those who are spiritual discern spiritual things.
Such will feel grateful that the Lord has pointed out their errors.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 134.
2 COUNSELING TOGETHER
can a healthy church relationship foster the making of wise plans? Proverbs 11:14; 15:22.
“The evils of self-esteem and an unsanctified independence, which most impair
our usefulness and which will prove our ruin if not overcome, spring from selfishness.
‘Counsel together’ is the message which has been again and again repeated to me
by the angel of God. By influencing one man’s judgment, Satan may endeavor to
control matters to suit himself. He may succeed in
misleading the minds of two persons; but, when several consult together, there
is more safety. Every plan will be more closely criticized; every advance move
more carefully studied. Hence there will be less danger of precipitate,
ill-advised moves, which would bring confusion, perplexity, and defeat. In
union there is strength. In division there is weakness and defeat.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 29,
what ways do we each benefit from the knowledge and experience of one another?
Proverbs 15:31, 32; 20:5.
“Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in the wisdom of our brethren. We must
be willing to take advice and caution from our fellow laborers. …
“It is a mistake to withdraw from those who
do not agree with our ideas. This will not inspire our brethren with confidence
in our judgment. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren, and to heed their
advice. We are to seek their counsel, and when they give it, we are not to cast
it away, as if they were our enemies. Unless we humble our hearts before God,
we shall not know His will.
“Let us be determined to be in unity with
our brethren. This duty God has placed upon us. We shall make their hearts glad
by following their counsel, and make ourselves strong through the influence
that this will give us. Moreover, if we feel that we do not need the counsel of
our brethren, we close the door of our usefulness as counselors to them.” Testimonies to Ministers and
Gospel Workers, 500.
3 FACTORS TO CONSIDER
do we too often forget about Godly counsel? Proverbs 13:1, 8, 10; 27:9.
“There will be men and women who despise reproof and whose feelings will ever
rise up against it. It is not pleasant to be told of our wrongs. In almost
every case where reproof is necessary, there will be some who entirely overlook
the fact that the Spirit of the Lord has been grieved and His cause reproached.
These will pity those who deserved reproof, because personal feelings have been
hurt. All this unsanctified sympathy places the sympathizers where they are
sharers in the guilt of the one reproved. In nine cases out of ten if the one
reproved had been left under a sense of his wrongs, he might have been helped
to see them and thereby have been reformed. But meddlesome, unsanctified
sympathizers place altogether a wrong construction upon the motives of the reprover and the nature of the reproof given, and by
sympathizing with the one reproved lead him to feel that he has been really
abused; and his feelings rise up in rebellion against the one who has only done
his duty. Those who faithfully discharge their unpleasant duties under a sense
of their accountability to God will receive His blessing. God requires His
servants to be always in earnest to do His will. In the apostle’s charge to
Timothy he exhorts him to ‘preach the word; be instant in season, out of
season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine’ [II
Timothy 4:2].” Testimonies,
vol. 3, 359, 360.
balanced understanding is needed when seeking counsel from others? Jeremiah
“Some of our conferences are weak in Christian experience because their leading
men—and the people have followed their example—have sought for the approval of
man with far greater anxiety than for the approval of God. They have looked to
man for help and counsel more than to God. They have made men their
burden-bearers, and have accepted human wisdom just when and where they should
have depended upon God. And too often those of whom they sought counsel needed
help themselves; for their souls were not right with God.” Gospel Workers, 414.
4 COUNSEL FROM
and why are we to avoid excessive or unnecessary burdening of others for
counsel? Galatians 6:3–5.
“There must be far more personal responsibility, far more thinking and
planning, far more mental power brought into the labor put forth for the
Master. This would enlarge the capacity of the mind, and give keener
perceptions as to what to do and how.” Gospel Workers, 416.
can we know God will answer as we counsel directly with Him? Proverbs 4:1, 2; 1
John 2:3–5; 5:13–15.
do prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered? Proverbs 8:33; 19:20; 28:9; James
“Let none deceive themselves with the belief that God will pardon and bless them
while they are trampling upon one of His requirements. The willful commission
of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit, and separates the
soul from God. Whatever may be the ecstasies of religious feeling, Jesus cannot
abide in the heart that disregards the divine law. God will honor those only
who honor Him.” Messages
to Young People, 114.
“When we make request of Him [God], He may
see that it is necessary for us to search our hearts and repent of sin.
Therefore He takes us through test and trial, He brings us through humiliation,
that we may see what hinders the working of His Holy Spirit through us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 143.
will come to those who reject God’s counsel as given through the Spirit of
Prophecy? Proverbs 29:18.
“The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony
of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Proverbs
29:18. Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different
agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true
testimony. He will bring in spurious visions, to mislead and mingle the false
with the true, and so disgust people that they will regard everything that
bears the name of visions, as a species of fanaticism; but honest souls, by
contrasting false and true, will be enabled to distinguish between them.” The Faith I Live By, 296.
5 CAUTIONS REGARDING COUNSEL
type of counsel is increasing? Proverbs 19:27.
“We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to
God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital
interests of His work.” Testimonies,
vol. 7, 108.
“Teachers of falsehood will arise to draw
you away from the narrow path and the strait gate. Beware of them; though
concealed in sheep’s clothing, inwardly they are ravening wolves. …
“We are not bidden to prove them by their
fair speeches and exalted professions. They are to be judged by the word of
God. [Isaiah 8:20; Proverbs 19:27 quoted.] What message do these teachers
bring? Does it lead you to reverence and fear God? Does it lead you to manifest
your love for Him by loyalty to His commandments?” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing,
are we warned against the extreme of totally submitting our mind to another’s
will? I Timothy 6:20, 21; Jeremiah 17:5.
“Satan often finds a powerful agency for evil in the power which one human mind
is capable of exerting on another human mind. This influence is so seductive
that the person who is being molded by it is often unconscious of its power.
God has bidden me speak warning against this evil.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol.
“This entering in of Satan through the
sciences is well devised. Through the channel of phrenology, psychology, and
mesmerism, he comes more directly to the people of this generation and works
with that power which is to characterize his efforts near the close of
probation.” Ibid., 19.
Review and Thought Questions
1 How will the godly respond to
2 Why is there benefit in “a multitude
3 Explain the problems that arise from
4 What should we realize about the
Spirit of Prophecy?
5 When can counsel become dangerous?