May 15, 2011 – May 21, 2011
“Hear 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.
“The obedient ear will receive reproof with humility, patience, and teachableness.” Sons and Daughters of God, 166.
1 A BASIC DUTY
- Name one of life’s first duties. Proverbs 1:8, 9.
Note: “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.
- How does God regard the unteachable? Proverbs 12:15.
Note: “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.
- How should we regard counsel? Proverbs 25:9–12.
Note: “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
- How can a healthy church relationship foster the making of wise plans? Proverbs 11:14; 15:22.
Note: “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, 30.
- In what ways do we each benefit from the knowledge and experience of one another? Proverbs 15:31, 32; 20:5.
Note: “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
- What do we too often forget about Godly counsel? Proverbs 13:1, 8, 10; 27:9.
Note: “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.
- What balanced understanding is needed when seeking counsel from others? Jeremiah 17:5–7.
Note: “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 HEAVEN
- How and why are we to avoid excessive or unnecessary burdening of others for counsel? Galatians 6:3–5.
Note: “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.
- How can we know God will answer as we counsel directly with Him? Proverbs 4:1, 2; 1 John 2:3–5; 5:13–15.
- Why do prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered? Proverbs 8:33; 19:20; 28:9; James 4:3.
Note: “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.
- What will come to those who reject God’s counsel as given through the Spirit of Prophecy? Proverbs 29:18.
Note: “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
- What type of counsel is increasing? Proverbs 19:27.
Note: “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, 145.
- How are we warned against the extreme of totally submitting our mind to another’s will? I Timothy 6:20, 21; Jeremiah 17:5.
Note: “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. 1, 23.
“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 difficult reproofs?
2 Why is there benefit in “a multitude of counselors”?
3 Explain the problems that arise from false sympathy.
4 What should we realize about the Spirit of Prophecy?
5 When can counsel become dangerous?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.