(Proverbs 12:15 KJV) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
I see this in others and ignore it in myself. It is really hard to “listen” (8085). I like the KJV here. It sounds so elegant to “hearkeneth” unto something or someone. We need to develop the habit and desire to hearkenth up. I can remember in the army, in basic training, where the drill sergeants took on the of deity. When they turned around and said, “Listen up, recruits,” you can believe we listened. There were consequences for not listening. I know that the little old lady who sits in the back row at church isn’t going to make you do push ups or run a mile, but it might be good to get in the habit of listening when she speaks.
A few thoughts on listening.
Make sure that you listen to God, whoever else you listen to. God speaks to me most consistently when I listen regularly. Most often it is through reading the Word. Then it is through the voice of those I call the giants. You know, giants. The guys whose shoulders we stand on. For me this is Wesley, Lewis, Bonhoeffer. For you it might be Calvin, Spurgeon and McGee. This will help you measure the advice of other people. It will also help you recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit when He speaks to you.
Take into consideration past counsel. If someone was a fool last week, it is a good chance they are still a fool. Some people give out so much advice they run out of worthwhile content early. It is like the cook who ran out of fresh tomatoes and substituted ketchup. Same color, not the same result.
Be careful of gurus. The guy on the radio is an entertainer, not a channel to God. We have so many people who know that we are insecure. I sometimes think there is an on-line chat room or a daily conference call where these people get together and share their success stories. “Did you hear what I told that poor sucker who couldn’t tell his three year old ‘No’?”
Remember to accept the good words of “counsel” (6098) along with the bad. Sometimes you are doing just fine. You don’t need to change anything. All you need is to be patient. All you need is to trust. Accept that fact that maybe God has already told you what you need to know, you are acting on it and just need to give it more time. Accept that maybe the problem isn’t you. Sometimes people will actually tell you that.
So? Read, think, listen, pray, grow. Have I said that before? Do I need to say it again? I probably will because it is wise counsel.