I received an e-mail recently from a sweet, young mom who is a dear friend and the mother of a very strong-willed little one. She was concerned about a recent Christian radio program that had advocated what seemed to be some pretty unwise counsel when it came to handling strong-willed children. When I heard what had been advised, I, too, thought it not the wisest advice I had heard on this subject, but I could not argue with the fact that the speaker had enjoyed some success with her way of handling her own strong-willed child. At the same time, my friend knew had she followed this advice, it would have made matters worse not better in her home.
Here's the problem...many times as we face difficulties in our lives, we will call out to God, our Wonderful Counselor, and He, in His great love and kindness, will give us an answer...and it works!!!!! Woo! Hoo! Boy, are we excited! We have found the answer to _______________ !(You fill in the blank with whatever dilemma you are facing). In fact, it has worked SO well you think "I'll write a book and help everyone else who is facing this problem!" And so you do and your book will help some, but for others who follow your advice, it proves disastrous.
Being the mom of six children and the grandmom of more all the time, I have learned one great truth: I need fresh counsel from God for each of these who I love so well. Not only do I need fresh counsel for each individual, but new counsel for every unique season of relationship I live and love through as the years go by. The wisdom of others, their experiences and what they have learned can help, but truly if I do not seek my Wonderful Counselor for His thoughts, I am missing out on wisdom that is a "perfect fit" for me at any given moment.
Let me encourage you with some absolute treasure. Allow the truth of these Words sink into your spirit...
"For unto to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
"Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine...I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me, I will not be shaken because He is right beside me...You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16:7-11 (NLT)
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him or knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
"I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them Your Word, which is truth. Just as You sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I gave myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message." John 17:15-20
We have this GREAT gift of the Holy Spirit, a Wonderful Counselor, who lives in us! We have a Savior, who in His last moments on this earth, thought of US! When I allow myself to ponder these truths, I am awed by the "bigness" of this reality. I have a Savior who prays for me continually. I have a Holy Spirit who counsels me...if I seek His counsel and listen. So often the health of our spiritual life pivots daily on the "ifs" we handle correctly each day. I am saddened by how often I have not asked Him..."What should I do?" "How do I handle this?" "What should I say?" "Am I wrong?" "Lord, please, speak to me." If only...
The Bible dictionary gives this definition of counselor: "One who analyzes a situation and gives advice to one who has responsibility for making a decision."
Who can "analyze" my situation better than One who knows the future, knows me, my situation, my family...each member intimately...knows their temperaments, personalities, and, most importantly, the way to their hearts? Not the most highly respected counselor on the planet can do this, but the Counselor in me and in you, He can.
I am certainly NOT advocating throwing out all your parenting or self-help books, nor am I downplaying the role of good, godly professional counselors. Each of these have a place of nurture and healthy guidance in our lives but not to the exclusion of THE Counselor.
Can I toss out a thought to ponder? Being guided by the Holy Spirit many times takes patience, time, and self-control (not to do what you want to do or not to say what you want to say). Reading a book, taking a class or seminar, or getting some outside counsel is so much easier, kind of a "quick fix" to our problem and then, if it doesn't work, the responsibility is off of us and on someone else.
I am the first one to admit that I searched for answers all over the place, asked for all kinds of opinions, read books, received a ton of counseling before I finally fell on my face before the Lord and listened for a change. I was stunned when I began to hear from Him through His Word and the Holy Spirit in me. His counsel was not what I expected at all; and, to be completely honest, sometimes I was not obedient to His course of action. However, when "my way" failed time and
time again, I finally, out of sheer desperation, decided to give His
counsel a try. And wouldn't you know...IT WORKED!:) Why am I always shocked at the results of GOD'S perfect counsel?!?!?
In His goodness and grace to me, as I am learning the lesson of listening to His Holy Spirit, as I am
learning the lesson of waiting patiently, as I am learning the lesson of
obedience--even when it seems exactly opposite of what I thought I
should do, He is showing Himself faithful to give wisdom and
direction...after all, isn't that what He has promised? He isn't called Wonderful for nothing!
Blessings, love and wonderful counsel to you...