In an abundance of counselors there is safety and victory (Proverbs 11:14 & 24:5-6). The Lord himself is our great Counselor. In addition to his word and the work of his Spirit within us, he uses people to aid us in making wise decisions. There are at least two ways in which the “abundance of counselors” principle should be applied in our lives:
- Seek counsel from many people for one particular decision. This is perhaps the most obvious application of the principle.
When we have a particular decision to make, perhaps we are considering a job offer, we go and get counsel from a number of friends and mentors to aid us.
One potential abuse of inquiring of many advisers for a decision is seeking counsel from different people until we find someone who agrees with our preconceived desire. A second potential abuse is asking too many people for help for the sake of tallying their votes and failing to take responsibility before God for making a timely and conclusive decision.
- Keep many friends who are wise in particular aspects of life. Know which one or two to go to depending on the particular challenge we face. This is perhaps a less obvious application of the principle and one in which many people need to grow.
Having an abundance of counselors means that a man has some people who will help him to grow as a husband, some who will help him make decisions as a parent, some who will assist him in thinking about his career, some who will provide insight for problems he faces in the church, and so on. A wise man recognizes that he does not always need counsel from many people, but he always needs many wise counselors who will be able to address every different kind of life-situation.
The greatest potential abuse here is that we can fail to have accountability. If everyone is a counselor, we can deceive ourselves and have no counselor when we need wisdom the most. While we need not be slavishly linked to the opinions of a single mentor or friend, we do need transparent accountability with someone who will ask us the hard questions of life as a faithful friend.