We often receive ‘counsel’ from several people including people who consider themselves ‘spiritual leaders’. Many people tend to think if a religious leader – may it be a pastor or an elder or a Bible study group leader etc – tells you something you need to take it as gospel truth… Worse is, some of such people expect that from you too…
So how do you know when it’s actually something you need to consider or not?? This is often a task that many find it difficult.
I once had a situation whereby a certain person whom I was fond of decided to tell me that God had shown the individual that something that I believed was God’s Will for my life wasn’t indeed God’s Will. When I thanked the person for concern but yet replied that I believe God has spoken to me otherwise, I got the sarcastic response, “Are you talking about the same God?” What a hit below the belt! These are people who society accepts as leaders, who have a name and a status so to speak so it’s easier for them to attack someone who is a nobody in the eyes of the “Christian” community (goodness, I’m not a nobody in God’s eyes.. I’m a royal priest and I’m His beloved daughter, precious princess as much as everybody who believe in Jesus as their personal Saviour and are led by the Holy Spirit are – we are all equal!).
It’s not about being wrong – whether it is God’s will or not, as I know when we have surrendered hearts God makes the way for His will despite the odds or impossibilities.. and if we are deciphering things in the flesh, God will set our hearts on the right path. That simple! And all I want is not my fleshly desires but to be in the centre of God’s will every mm of the way!
It was the individual’s words that caused ‘doubt’ (was I indeed not worshipping the Living God?) and I ran to the feet of my Heavenly Father. As I cried out to the Lord, He took me to the Bible passage of the 10 spies returning from Canaan… 8 of them (the majority) came back seeing all the obstacles and the reasons why they shouldn’t move forward. The remaining two – Caleb and Joshua – returned accepting the obstacles existed, seeing the reasons why it was the promised land and trusting God that if He had said it was for them, that there was no problem going forward. God refers to these two as being of a different spirit.. They had the spirit of God – as their trust was in God in the unseen and not what is seen.
Many can call themselves believers and to the ‘religious’ thing.. they can ‘play’ church.. However it’s not the ministries or activities that makes one a believer… even if they are accepted leaders in the “Christian community”. We need to always test the spirit.
This person held a grudge against me… I had previously refused to accept the unsolicited advise offered to me. Shortly thereafter, several people were “warned” about me – not to help me etc… Obviously a person with such ‘standing’ would be “respected” – in a culture of hierarchy, respect = unquestioned obedience…
A person who comes to give counsel with the right Spirit will have the right motive and will exhibit the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. However an individual who is forceful that they are right or who go behind your back to ‘protect’ others simply because you didn’t listen them or someone who will condemn you or put you down… is obviously not exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. God never condemns us and whatever He says He does it with love and truth. God never forces His will upon us – He gives us free choice.
So who are we to force something on another person? Besides we often base our thoughts on appearances, on what we see or on our experience with an individual… We don’t know the whole picture.. There may be something in us that triggers negativity in another. God sees the hearts not the appearances… And He will never send His Word through a vessel of condemnation..
God doesn’t condemn but He convicts..
A person who has experienced God’s grace will extend it to the other too.. Just as much as the person knows God has been ever so patient with himself / herself, the individual will do that with the other too.. Besides, don’t the very mistakes that we make draw us closer to God?
We have the right to speak the truth IN LOVE to one another and 1 Corinthians 13 clearly outlines what love is all about. this passage is often equated to love in marriage. However that is the standard for us who are the Body of Christ where ALL parts are EQUAL. Paul clearly tells Timothy not to let anyone look down upon him because of his youth.
Also remember if you are yearning from the bottom of your heart to follow the narrow path that God has for you, then God will speak to you directly… Confirmation can come from anywhere… Hey, God even used a donkey to get His Word across.. Remember Satan used Scripture to try to pull Jesus away from doing God’s Will… Scripture can be misused and abused. It’s important to understand God’s Word in context – of the entire written Word and in which situation and where and how each passage was written. It is only when we are stubborn and not responding to God’s call will God send a prophet to speak up… but He gives us time.
Not everyone has a right to just waltz into your life and give you advise.. It has to be earned.. there has to be mutual respect and where there is mutual respect, the attitude will be right.. but then again someone who is doing it as a result of God speaking to them will be led by the Spirit and as a vessel of His love.
The one speaking with love will indeed Listen, Offer, Validate and Empathise (this is from the image – found on the internet)
Truth with love will be spoken at the proper time and proper place. Ideally it would be face to face with full attention and definitely not while multi-tasking. Such a person will ‘hear’ you out and also ‘care’ (not just words) about aspects of your life, instead of tearing down your life. Paul tells us to build each other up and not tear down. It is the enemy that comes to kill, steal and destroy. Remember Satan can and often does use loved ones to try to achieve his goal – i.e. to hinder God’s plan. He didn’t exempt Jesus from that either!
Take whatever you hear to your Heavenly Father in prayer and test it! Seek His wisdom, discernment and revelation!
Don’t be fooled by titles or status or standing and don’t show partiality based on this…
In God’s eyes all parts of the Body of Christ are equal and are to equip and edify one another… with LOVE.