In the early 80’s my wife and I lived in the Washington D.C. area and I had a good friend that was in the Secret Service. When our friends from out of town would visit my friend would graciously take us on a personalized tour of the White House. (This was before the heightened security we have now because of terrorism).
After being cleared by giving our social security numbers and providing identification we were allowed to enter, each person wearing a badge attached to a chain around their neck. (It was black and yellow striped in those years). We went late at night when it was mostly empty. Every time I was able to go it was a highlight, seeing one of the most famous places in the world where history was made.
Right beside the Oval Office is a room with a long table, surrounded by leather chairs with smaller chairs on the far outside wall of the room. In the center chair is where the President sits, his seat several inches taller than those in the room. This is called the “Cabinet Room”.
It is where the president’s cabinet of advisers meet to discuss important decisions. Since no leader has a complete grasp on every issue, it is imperative that he have good counselors to inform his thinking. His ability to make wise decisions is as good as those in that room and his willingness to listen to them.
If the president has a cabinet of advisers then so should you. We all need competent, experienced, and wise people who can speak into our lives, especially when we’re confused.
This is one of the keys to making wise choices – having good advisers. I use a template of a pyramid divided into five sections, each level assigned a question with which to pass an issue or problem I’m facing. At the apex of the pyramid is a good decision; it is the byproduct of asking these five questions, in sequential order.
The first question is the most important, “What does the Bible say about the matter?” I believe the primary place to gain wisdom is from God’s Word, the Bible. Those that ignore His design on a subject will inevitably experience failure and painful consequences.
But what if the Bible doesn’t speak directly to a topic? For example, the Bible is clear on the principle of hard work and going the second mile in the area of your job, but it doesn’t speak to the exact place where you are to work. How do we know where to go to college, what major we are to pursue, or even if we should go to college? The next level in the pyramid helps to clarify and reduce the options.
The second question is, “What do my counselors say?” Wisdom is found in seeking advice. Note that counsel precedes wisdom and understanding often in the Bible.
“For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.” (Deuteronomy 32:28) A lack of wisdom is the result of failing to seek counsel.
One of the names of the Lord Jesus is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6) and He has given us His Word to counsel us – “Thy testimonies…are…my counsellors”. (Psalm 119:24). So, we discover sound counsel through the Bible and Christ Jesus.We tend to think that a wise person doesn’t need counsel, but that is wrong. The reason he is wise is because he has sought advice.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)
“Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” (Proverbs 19:20)There are three qualifications for those from whom we should receive advice. In the next post I’ll give these qualities.
If you’re confused about a decision, first find out what the Bible teaches and if you need further clarification, then seek advice from your cabinet of counselors.
Who is in your “cabinet” of advisers? Make a list of them, write them and let them know you’re grateful for how they have helped you. If you don’t have a small circle of counselors, begin to consider who needs to be on your team in that area. Your success depends upon it.
(I heard this song when I was a teenager and learned to play it on the piano. Significantly, it was the ring tone for one of advisers, Richard White. We all need a friend to lean on at times. I have been abundantly blessed by great friends.)