During times of trial and difficulty we seek the help of friends, family, pastor’s, counselors, and mentors. We want advice, relief and guidance. When we are in a lot of pain, and are emotion driven, we may be prone to tell everyone we see about our problems. Without knowing it, we may think that sharing will give us the relief we need.
The thing is not everyone is a good advisor. Some people simply don’t know what to say. Some people will enable us to play a victim, when we need to take action. Some people empathize with us, but don’t have a strong enough foundation to provide biblical guidance.
Here are some signs that you have a good advisor. I gathered these from my own experience seeking help, and having served as a biblical counselor, mentor and coach.
- A good advisor will point you towards God, His Son, and His Word. We don’t really need people. We need Christ. We need God’s Word. A good advisor helps you search the Scriptures for help, look for ways for you to be obedient, helps you deal with sin, gives you encouragement and looks for ways that God might be using this trial in your life for His glory and your good.
- A good advisor listens more than they speak. In order to grasp what is really going on a good advisor needs to listen. The more they listen the better questions they can ask. If we concentrate on listening, we will be patient and wait to give advice.
- A good advisor displays what they are talking about. If I encourage a young mother to respect her husband, even when he cusses, then I need to ensure I am respecting my husband. Otherwise my words are meaningless. People can tell when we are not genuine. We can’t tell our kids not to smoke if we have a cigarette in our mouth. Right?
- A good advisor will point you towards your spouse. If you are a woman, what your husband thinks and says is more important than what your advisor says. We are to be one with our spouse. Even if your spouse is the problem what they think is important, and except in extreme cases, we should always be pointing each other to speak to our spouse first. What does your husband think or say about this situation?
- A good advisor will work hard to ensure you do not become dependent upon them. I have studied a couple different schools of thought on this. One group believes that we should counsel 8-10 times, and others believe we are in it for the long haul. God’s people are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and have the tools they need to get through the most difficult times. Sometimes we need a little extra help, but that help should cease at some point. The goal is to live as a servant of God, dependent on Him, not people.
I have counseled and been counseled. A friend of mine is a biblical counselor. She doesn’t mince words, she always points me to God, my husband, God’s Word, His attributes and doesn’t let me become dependent upon her. When I am done talking to her I am drawn closer to God. When I picture my friend, I picture Christ.
She gives me counsel that is pointed towards obedience, studying and meditating on God’s Word, prayer, and taking action. She expects me to get busy solving my problems, and she gives me no excuse for remaining idle in my walk just because of some difficulty. I can count on her to get to the point, be blunt and tell me how it is.
If you are in need of help I pray you seek it. Please be prayerful about who you choose to advise or counsel you. It is wise to seek the counsel of many advisors, let’s just be sure they are pointing us to God, His Word, and His Son. Let’s ensure they are drawing us to God, not away.
“Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established” (Prov. 15:22).