Ongoing Counsel

BY Jamie Tisler

Recently I read the column “Ask Dr. K” in the newspaper. A person in his eighties wanted counsel on how to maintain his ability to walk. The column brought to mind several things concerning seeking counsel.

The person who sought the counsel knew who to seek it from. Who should I seek counsel from when I need advice on matters of the heart? First and foremost, it is God. Job, during his suffering, said this, “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). I find God’s counsel by praying and reading His Word. God’s counsel involves His laws, commands, promises, instructions, and ways.

Does this mean I should never seek counsel from another person? No, for Proverbs 27:9 states, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” However, when I seek the counsel of a friend, I want the counsel to be  what he knows God has spoken, not his opinion.

The reason the inquirer posed his question was that he truly wanted to know about maintaining his mobility. Dr. K. recommended exercise. He said that sometimes when he gives this counsel to a senior patient he receives this response, “It is too late, besides I have not been physically active for years.” Dr. K. commented that his reply to such a remark is, “It is never too late to start exercising.” A thought comes to mind concerning this exchange. When I receive God’s counsel and realize that I am not doing such, do I say “It is just too late for me to change, besides I am the way I am?” God’s prophet Ezekiel in recording the promise of the New Covenant stated that God would give His people the ability to obey His commands (Ezekiel 11:19-20). As a believer of the Lord Jesus Christ and a child of God, there is no excuse for not following His counsel.

There is no way to know if the council given by Dr. K to this person is being followed. However, my thoughts and actions are an open book to God. What happens when I repeatedly reject His counsel? He brings circumstances into my life to humble me, to redirect me to obedience, and to cause me to cry out for His mercy and forgiveness, which He grants to me. This is God’s way of dealing with blatant sinful rejection of His counsel by His children (Psalm107:10-16). Why does God discipline me? He loves me and it is for my good (Hebrews 12:5-10).

In finishing his counsel to the 80-year-old person, Dr. K gave him some specific suggestions on exercising. The doctor will most likely never have additional contact with this person. It is a blessing to know that God’s counsel is not limited but ongoing; “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24)!