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Week 2: Monday
- 1 Kings 12:1–24
- 2 Timothy 3:10 – 4:5
Questions to Consider
- Who are some mentors you admire?
- Why is it important to seek the counsel of others?
- What are some of the qualities and characteristics of people who make good advisors?
- How do we seek the wisdom of God in our lives? How does God give wisdom?
Plan of Action
- Make an inventory of people you are listening to. Consider if their lives are worth emulating. Find ways to start listening to the people you admire more. Find ways to eliminate listening to the people you admire less.
- Find a mentor for a specific area of your life where you may be struggling. This is someone you may look up to or who is accomplished in a given field. Seek to learn from this person how they got to where they got. Read their book. Listen to their podcast. Call them up. Invite them to lunch.
- Consider if the life you are living is the life you would want another person to live. Make the necessary changes to live the type of life that is worth passing on to others. Share the story of your journey with others.
You don’t know what you don’t know! You may think you know but you don’t. How many of us wish we knew in our younger years what we know now? Back then we thought we knew. However, as we have grown older we have learned our parents were much wiser than we thought. Maybe one of the most important lessons we learn as we grow older is that we don’t know it all.
This is why we are giving up “lack of counsel.” One place we can seek advice and wisdom is from our peers. It is good to be a part of a community with people on a similar journey so we can share our experiences. But we should not limit seeking counsel from our peers alone.
It is easy to default to the advice of our peers. But our peers are often engaged in many of the same struggles as we are engaged in. If you are drowning in the same water as someone else, it is not much help to get advice from that person. It is much better to look to someone who has made it out of the water to help you get out of the water. Yet we find it much easier to pool our ignorance together with our peers. The problem is we may never get beyond our present challenges.
Looking outside our group of peers may make us uncomfortable. It may stretch us. But to move beyond our current circumstances will require new ways of seeing and doing. In the Book of Proverbs it says:
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22 (ESV)
When King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, became king in his father’s place, he was confronted by the subjects of his kingdom. These subjects had suffered greatly under the rule of Solomon. They now asked Rehoboam to relent and to change the overbearing policies of his father.
When confronted with this request, Rehoboam did not turn to the experienced advisors of his father. Instead he turned to the friends of his youth who had no experience governing a kingdom. The result was devastating. When Rehoboam failed to relent, the subjects revolted. The kingdom was divided. And Rehoboam almost lost his life. (see 1 Kings 12:1–24)
If Rehoboam had listened to the counsel of his father’s advisors, all that would have likely have been avoided. But Rehoboam thought he knew better. He surrounded himself with people who would only tell him what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear.
Part of the reason for seeking advisors is to help us discover what we don’t know. When we come to know that we don’t know, we are at a better place to make informed decisions. As we seek wise counselors in our life, we don’t limit ourselves to the counsel of one source alone. We need to consider multiple sources to teach us. Here are a few:
- The Scriptures – the Apostle Paul writes: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:26–17
- Church community – The church is not perfect. But God gives us the gift of the church to share the struggle of our journey together. It is important to have people in your life who are going to influence you towards God, rather than away from God.
- Parents, spouses, family – These people know us well and we are wise to listen to their counsel.
- Books – This is one of the easiest ways to learn from others.
- Conferences – There are many conferences on many different topics. One of the values of conferences is meeting other people on the journey.
- Websites and blogs – There are many great online communities which you can become a part of that offer help along the way.
- Mentors – This is one of the most valuable forms of counsel after the Scriptures. We would do well to be more intentional with mentoring relationships.
- Prayer – Ask God to reveal his wisdom to you. But make sure to watch for him to do that. It will usually come from one of the sources above.
So where do you need some wisdom? Is your marriage struggling? Is your work stuck in a funk? Are you having trouble connecting with God? Seek counsel and aid. If you could have figured it out on your own, you would have done so already. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s ok! You are not expected to know it all. That is why God gives us many mentors in life.
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thanks once again for a very thoughtful Lenten reflection. Your 40 things for lent has been a real blessing for me this cold end of winter.
I am having problems at work and I don’t know how to deal with it.
Thank you for this inspiration! Lack of counsel is exactly what I struggle with.. It is an incredibly lonely feeling to not have anyone other than your peers to talk over your struggles with. I need to find a mentor!!