The Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.
Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 4
Friendships & Counselors
As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.
Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1 which says:
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!
Friendships & Counselors
In this post we’re going to talk about our associations, especially our friendships and who we listen to when we seek advice, either formally or informally.
Often we learn too late that going our own way or listening to the advice of fools leads to disaster and heartache. Could you be listening to advice that may sound good, but could take you farther from God and His purposes for your life? Could it endanger you, your marriage, your other relationships, or even your relationship with God?
Good or Bad Advice
The Bible has a lot to say about the person who tries to go it alone and never listens to anyone.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Prov. 12.15 ESV).
Wise advice is a great blessing, but bad advice can lead us over a cliff. It’s tempting to surround ourselves with people who think like us, rather than people who challenge us to change and grow. We like friends who will listen to “our side of the story” and sympathize with us … people who will tell us what we want to hear instead of what we may need to hear.
Proverbs says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Prov. 27.6). A true friend will warn us of danger and patterns of sin in our lives. He or she will love us enough to risk offending us rather than see us doing things that are not pleasing to God. The previous verse says, “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed” (Prov. 27.5).
Do you have friends who hold you accountable, who aren’t afraid to speak the truth in love? And who are your closest friends? Are they believers or are they people who live by the world’s standards?
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; … (2 Cor. 6.14-16a ESV).
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Rom. 12.2 NLT).
One area where we and many of our friends and potential counselors have copied the behavior and customs of this world is concerning feminist ideas.
Paul told us in Ephesians 5:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands (ESV).
Ladies, if we’re married our first source of counsel should be our husbands. And even when that counsel is unsought, we need to lovingly submit. When we do we are really heeding God’s counsel. The only exception would be if we are asked to sin (Acts 5.29).
God has also given us Christian leaders to help us grow and provide counsel:
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ (Eph. 4.11-12).
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you (Heb. 13.17).
Not only do we sometimes seek out people who tell us what we want to hear or seek worldly advice instead of sound biblical advice, we can be foolish in other ways.
Wanting to Know Too Much
Have you ever been faced with a hard decision and wanted to know for sure what you should do? Should you take this job or that one? Should you marry this person or someone else?
Or maybe it’s the answer to another kind of question that’s haunting you … like whether or not your spouse is being faithful? At times like that we want answers and we want them now!
While I certainly understand that desperation, we must be very careful. Too often friends who don’t want to see us hurt or who have been hurt themselves in the past, can push us toward making assumptions that may or may not be true.
Even more dangerous is seeking out mediums or others who claim to know the future and other things supernaturally. There is no white magic and anyone practicing those things and claiming to know Jesus does not know the God of the Bible. Remember Satan himself can appear as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11.14).
We are to, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness …” (Eph. 5.11).
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law (Deut. 29.29).
Parents & Family Members
Some of the most tempting people to run to for advice is parents or other family members. While some may be able to be to give godly, unbiased counsel, many are not. And when the issue involves our spouse, pulling them into it can cause problems for years to come.
It’s not only an easy place to run to for counsel, sometimes it’s offered even when we don’t ask. And it’s hard at times not to listen and follow what’s being said, yet Jesus said:
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matt. 10.37).
It’s not just counsel, but influence that we need to consider.
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor. 15.33).
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Prov. 13.20).
Who do you hang out with? Gossips and complainers? People who act and talk like the world? Girlfriends who disrespect their husbands? And you men, are your buddies other men who drink or run around on and talk disparagingly about their wives?
Or do you develop friendships with those who will challenge you to grow spiritually? What if a friend were to lovingly reprove you and challenge you on some attitude or action? Would you be willing to listen and take it to the Lord?
Let’s ask God to search our hearts and help us see where we might be foolish and how we can be more purposeful to walk in wisdom in regard to our friendships and where we seek counsel. And no matter what advice we hear, let’s be good Bereans (Acts 17.11) and hold it up to the Word of God (2 Tim. 3.16-17; Prov. 3.5-6).
Getting ready for 2017
As this year is winding down I’m going to be encouraging you regularly to think about a plan for getting to know Him better through His Word in the coming year. You know the saying, “Fail to plan; plan to fail.”
I believe we should read through the Bible on a regular basis (not legalistically or pride fully), but because:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3.16-17).
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. There were so many times that I thought, this coming year I’m going to read through the Bible, but I didn’t really have a plan.
Ten or eleven years ago, I decided to get more serious and purposeful about it. I bought a daily Bible which helped me stay on track. Then I set aside some time every morning to read and think about what I had read.
People sometimes ask me what daily Bible I use. I like The MacArthur Daily Bible and have stuck with it for consistency in the reading plan. But any good daily Bible is fine.
And what about Bible versions? I recommend a translation, as opposed to a paraphrase, for your regular reading. There are many good ones. I like the New American Standard and the New King James (The MacArthur Daily Bible is NKJ, but his Study Bible is available in several translations). I’m also coming to enjoy the English Standard Version. The New Living Translation is good and so are the New International and New Century Versions. I’m sure there are others, but those are the ones I’m most familiar with.
And I hope you will sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.
Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January. I’ll, also, be giving away free daily Bibles and other resources throughout the rest of the year. Sign up so you don’t miss your chance to win.
You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in. As an incentive, I’ll be giving away one daily Bible to someone who signs up between now and October 31st and another one to someone who leaves a comment based on that day’s reading between now and then.
So will you join me? Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together. I hope as you do, you’ll share your insights with all of us in the comments section of each post.
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Previous posts in the “Blended Families” series:
Previous posts in the “Wise Woman” series:
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Mondays Making Your Home Sing Musing Mondays Darling Downs Diaries Mom to Mom Mondays The Life of Faith The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Our Home of Many Blessings The Beauty in His Grip Moments of Hope
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