Proverbs 11:14 states “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” In my experience as a pastor and counselor I am more convinced than ever of the importance of guidance to society as a whole and to any individual.
In reading through 1 Kings I noticed how clear a role guidance played in the missteps of Israel. In 1Kings chapter 12 we learn about King Rehoboam’s transition to king in place of his father Solomon. Rehoboam took counsel with those old men who had stood before Solomon. They advised him to be merciful and a servant to the people. As a result he would have them as his servants forever. Rehoboam rejected this counsel and sought instead the counsel of the younger generation that he grew up with. They advised him to be more harsh and demanding than his father. “My father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” When Israel saw the king’s mindset, they abandoned the idea of a unified Israel: “To your tents, O Israel!” Israel remained divided from that point.
Today the consequences of a lack of guidance are just as clear cut. Without a foundation of loving and supportive parents, many in our current generation falter. Without the guidance of God’s Word, people follow by default the counsel of the ungodly.
Christian counseling provides an opportunity for a guidance makeover. What I mean by a guidance makeover is not that a counselor will tell you specifically what are the right and wrong things to do in life. Instead counseling provides a framework whereby healing may occur in regards to all of the mixed messages and hurts that make life confusing. The guidance a Christian counselor provides is in reference to the internal confusion, division, and spiritual warfare within the self. With the moral compass of Jesus as Savior shared between counselor and counseled a guidance makeover results ultimately in greater spiritual maturity.
I believe that within the church there is also much potential for growth in the area of guidance. To start with many unchurched are desperately seeking guidance in life. When they visit a church do they experience it as a place that will offer true guidance? Will a visitor be able to envision how members of the church might care about her and become trusted advisers in her life?
Perhaps a visitor is more likely to see this opportunity if the congregation itself is busy at the work of giving and receiving the Lord’s guidance. It is one thing to attend Bible study and value your pastor’s sermons and teaching, but it is another thing to be open to receiving guidance at church to the point where you make changes in your life. In our present day it takes courage and humility to ask brothers and sisters in Christ for guidance about important life decisions. Our society perpetuates the myth that we can all make it on our own and shouldn’t need to ask for help from others.
It also takes courage to provide guidance to others in love. We feel as if we are imposing our wills or are being pushy if we offer Godly guidance to others. Proverbs 12:26 provides a picture of how important it is to take the risk of offering guidance to others. “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” God has put us in a position to be a guide to our neighbor. When we neglect to offer the guidance of our faith maturity to others out of fear, we are by default letting the counsel of the wicked have a greater opportunity for influence.
Ultimately all righteous guidance we give or receive in life starts and ends with Jesus. He is the “way the truth and the life.” As we pray in the Lord’s Prayer “Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying that our life and our community are both alike guided by His truth.