None of us are perfect. Just as we make mistakes in things we do, we can mistakes in the way we think: we don’t see things clearly because of bias; we are affected by our emotions; we allow our judgment to be influenced by unexpected, unwise counsel; or we just plain have a flaw in our logic when thinking through a situation. These can all lead to wrong conclusions and improper decisions. Attempting to stand alone is fraught with problems and likely failure. We all need help. Even if we think we are “tight with God,” we still can’t do it alone. For instance, consider Elijah:
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. – 1 Kings 19:1-3, ESV
Elijah had just come from a major spiritual victory. He was literally on a mountaintop, Mount Carmel. There God spoke amazingly through fire and proved that all the false prophets Ahab and Jezebel pampered were just that: false. And then, at Elijah’s request, God sent rain to the land of Israel thereby ending the drought that had come. After seeing the magnificent power of God, who was Jezebel to be afraid of? After all, Elijah had just faced 850 false prophets to his lonesome self, but he was on the winning side because he was on God’s side. If 850 prophets armed with knives could do him no harm, why did he think Jezebel could succeed if God didn’t want her to do so? It’s not logical. When we get scared, we often don’t think logically, though. In Elijah’s case, God came through and set him on the right track. However, a scan through Scripture shows that it’s often the people we surround ourselves with that God uses, not direct intervention. So we had best not count on God being so blunt and direct with us, especially when He tells us to help one another.
This is why having trustworthy advisers is important. We need folks who will tell us the truth. We have to be able to trust these people if we share private concerns and issues with them. They can’t be ones to gossip what we share with them. These folks also need to be able to think through a situation and not be prone to react emotionally. They need to be able to and desire to consider what is really best for us. Finally, if we’re talking about advisers for a Christian, we’d want them to be Christians with a close walk with Jesus Christ. Sometimes the best advice will fly in the face of logic and reason because it is bound in trusting God by faith. A Christian walking with God and interacting with Him frequently through prayer will be a better source to help and to provide counsel to pursue this direction, especially when this is the circumstance.
If you don’t have these types of folks in your life, consider who might be good candidates. Don’t just choose your buddies unless you know they will be the type of advisers you need. “Yes men” don’t do us any good. We’re looking for people who are willing to say something when they believe we’re going the wrong direction. We also want folks, though, who can tell us why they believe we’re making the right decision, especially when we’re struggling with a choice. Trustworthy advisers also give us support when we need it. Don’t forget about the importance of that. Once you have an idea of who might be appropriate for you, approach them privately about it. If they agree, then the next step is to actually involve them and include them in important things. Don’t inundate them with meaningless or unimportant questions or problems. Remember, if they agree to help you, treat them with respect and courtesy.
If you don’t have those types of folks in your life and you are having trouble coming up with good candidates, ask around. See who others place their trust in. Build relationships with those people. Invest in them so they’ll be willing to invest in you. Determine if what you’ve heard matches up to what you’re seeing. Make sure they are right for you. And then approach them. Build your group of trustworthy advisers.