As we continue our series on being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we want to go on examining the functions or operations of the Mind of Christ. The Mind of Christ is a divine seven-fold process of thinking that is bestowed upon each of us the moment we believe and accept Christ into our hearts.
My understanding for this supernatural gift of God is Isaiah 11:1-2: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots [this is Jesus, of course]: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, [that is] the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord."
Like we said last month, the big task before us is "not the finding of the truth, but the living of it." So, my prayer with each of my books and with each of these newsletter articles is to lay out a Biblical, and yet as practical as possible, approach to the exchanged life-living Christ's Life instead of our own.
Over the next several issues of Personal UPDATE, we want to address God's Spirit of Counsel, the fourth function of the Mind of Christ. Our purpose is to understand, a little more clearly, how to appropriate this very important supernatural gift in our everyday lives.
There are many diverse opinions in the body of Christ these days as to what true Biblical counsel is. So, let's see what God's Word has to say about His Spirit of Counsel.
Spirit of Counsel (Hebrew is Esa - Greek is Boulomai)
The Spirit of Counsel is a wonderful, supernatural gift of God. It's simply supernatural knowledge of God's Will for our own individual lives. In other words, it's God's personal instructions, His directions, to help us make the godly choices! How many of you need this? I certainly do, every single moment.
The Spirit of Counsel is like our personal advisor, our helper, our guide. God's counsel is wonderful, because He tells us what we should and what we shouldn't do. He gives us His advice so we can make the right decisions.
The Old Testament word for counsel is esa. Esa means "steerage" or "not letting us veer off course" (i.e., not letting us miss the mark). Naturally, only God can keep us "on course," because only He knows our "true" course.
Only God knows what His perfect Will is for our life. Romans 8:27 says, "He that searches the hearts, knoweth what is the Mind (attitude) of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
An Example: "Lean not to thine own understanding"
Years ago, we knew a precious Christian family who lived down the street from us in Newport Beach, California. Their son was critically injured in a diving accident, similar to Joni Eareckeson Tada's (where she broke her back and was paralyzed from the neck down). He, too, broke his back and was paralyzed.
The first week after an accident like this is always very critical. Many life and death decisions must be made. All the doctors had advised the family that if they wanted their son to survive the ordeal, he must have a bone fusion operation immediately. This was going to be a very dangerous operation, especially because of the boy's already precarious physical condition. All the doctors had concurred that the operation was the best course of action to take and everything had been done to prepare for it.
The mom decided to go and be alone with God, pray and seek His Counsel. She told God that she didn't have the slightest clue as to what the best course of action was for her son. But, she acknowledged that God was in control of their lives and she asked Him that if this operation was the wrong decision, that He would intervene.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
Just as the boy was about ready to be wheeled into the operating room, an uncle (who was also a neurosurgeon on the East Coast) called and told the family definitely not to have the operation. I've forgotten all the medical reasons he gave them, but the family felt it was definitely God intervening, so they chose to postpone the operation. I'm sure the doctors were completely baffled at the family's decision, but they nevertheless conceded. Less than two hours after that phone call, the son came down with a serious respiratory problem and had he been in the middle of that operation, he never would have survived.
That same operation was scheduled three more times. But in each case, God supernaturally intervened and managed to stop it. One time, while the son was receiving a transfusion in preparation for the operation, he developed an allergic reaction and burst out with hives. Once again, the operation was postponed. The last I heard, the boy never had that operation, but had survived and was doing quite well.
God can be very creative in the ways He leads and counsels us, if we allow Him to and if we don't take matters into our own hands. "God's Ways are not our ways." This is why we so desperately need His Spirit of Counsel to help direct our ways, so they will definitely be His ways and not our own.
Waiting On God
Philippians 2:13 tells us that God is in us "...to will His good pleasure." This means that God is in us to let us know what His Will is for our own particular situation. The "secret" is, of course, that we must "wait" for His Counsel, His Advice, His Guidance as to what His Will is. In the Hebrew to wait means to "bind together by twisting."
Isaiah 40:31 validates that waiting is the "key." "They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Often the waiting is the hardest part, because waiting and seeking God takes time and most of us are in too much of a hurry to do that.
So, rather than wait and listen for God's Counsel or His answer to our problems, we run to a friend, a pastor, a counselor, a psychologist or others, because we feel they can give us the answers we need right now.
Most of the time we feel it's "easier" to talk to a pastor, a friend, or a counselor because we can tell them our own side of the story and hear their responses as to what we should do.
The truth is, however, only God knows our true situation (the real facts)-both sides of the story. Only He knows our hearts and all the debris (bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness, etc.) that has covered them.
Men can't see these things, and even the best of them are still only guessing as to what the real cause of our problems might be and what to do about them. Psalm 108:12-13 validates this, "...Vain is the help of man, [but] through God we shall do valiantly."
Only God is our best counselor! Only He can expose the truth and completely heal and restore us!
Now, I am not saying don't ever go to other counselors, because I do believe God uses them along the way.
Be sure, however, that your counselor is a true, practicing believer, "living the truth." Now, they don't have to be "perfect"-none of us are-but at least their lives should reflect what they say. Then you can be assured, as he leads you to Christ to help you renew your mind, that God's Spirit of Counsel will be operating. And God will be faithful to take your sins away "as far as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12)
Please, and I stress this, if you are a Christian, don't go to secular, worldly counselors. The reason is, you will get secular, worldly advice, which Scripture tells us is not only different from God's Wisdom and His Counsel, but is completely opposite. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
An Example: "No one will ever dig these up again"
A Christian gal in one of my seminars back East had been going to a secular psychiatrist for years.
Now, he had helped her to see and understand some of the traumatic things that had happened in the past (when she was little, her mother had tried to kill her by drowning her and throwing her down the stairs; she had been molested as a child and raped as an adult, etc.), but no matter how hard her psychiatrist tried, he could not take these wounds and memories away from her. In other words, He could not "heal" her.
My friend "saw" and experienced these painful memories of her past, but when her psychiatrist could not get rid of them for her, she had no other option but to bury them again. (They were too painful for her to retain in her consciousness.)
This time she buried them under a ton of self-protective walls, vowing that no one would ever dig them up again.
This precious sister in the Lord came to our seminar seeking God, but when she heard that He wanted to expose some of the things that she had buried down in her hidden chambers, she froze and determined to leave the class at once.
Three of the ladies she came with, however, loved her and wouldn't let her go. Over a period of several days and nights, her precious friends stayed with her and ministered to her.
Finally, because of God's Love through them, she made faith choices to release all the hidden debris to the only One who could remove them from her completely and forever.
She wrote me a few weeks later that she had been freed and felt like a "new person." She said she never went back to her therapist, because as she put it in her letter, she now has the "Master Psychiatrist" and "He does a much more excellent job."
So, worldly counselors can help us locate and identify our problems, but no matter how hard they try, they cannot take the root cause of those problems away.
Without Christ in the center of that counseling session, guiding, healing and literally taking away our painful memories and wounds, we often will end up worse off than when we began.
Isaiah 30:1 validates this: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of Me; and that cover with a covering, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin."
God's Spirit of Counsel is critical!
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