The Counsel of the Lord
Proverbs 19: 21 -- There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.
The counsel of the Lord is what we should seek every day, yet many do not. We devise our own plans, our own ideas of what we must do. Yet the Word tells us that it is the counsel of the Lord that will stand. Our own devices will fail.
Jeremiah 10: 23 -- O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Spiritually, we will never go far if we direct our own steps.
Proverbs 16: 9 -- A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
As these three verses describe, it is only God who can truly direct our steps. Man may try to devise his own way, but it never works out to his advantage. If we want the best, we have to trust in God and His Word. God is His Word.
How does the Lord counsel us? How does He direct our steps? He directs us according to His Word. We don't know the Way to go unless we know His Word. To know it, we must read and study it.
When we pray to God, we should pray for Him to direct our paths. How many times have we prayed by telling God what we want Him to do? That is getting the cart before the horse! A very wise, spiritual man once said, "One great work of the spirit is to direct the heart." The choices we make in daily life should be based on spiritual counsel, not our own selfish thoughts. Man's way of doing things is to clean it up on the outside. He may have a big fancy house, a new car, and all the latest gadgets. Yet inside he is empty and hopeless. God's way of doing things is to clean it up from the inside. If we have inner joy and peace, it will show on the outside, and we won't have to buy bigger and fancier material goods to try to make ourselves feel better.
Even in the church, people have been deceived. Christianity is not what man does, it is what God has done through Christ. Our good works did not provide our salvation. Christ dying on the cross, and being raised again is the key to our salvation. Many religions attempt to direct the flesh by way of rules and regulations. They try to make the flesh bring forth spiritual fruit, which is a vain endeavor. Only the spirit can bring forth spiritual fruit.
Galatians 5: 22, 23 -- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Matthew 15: 11 -- Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Matthew 15: 19, 20 -- For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
The religion of that day prescribed that people must always wash their hands before eating. If not, they would be 'defiled' spiritually. While hand-washing is good hygiene, it does not affect your spiritual health. Christ was telling the people that what you put in your mouth does not defile you, but what comes out. Man has made ordinances to direct his ways, and he has gone a step farther and made them to direct the ways of others. This is religion.
Colossians 2: 20, 21, 22 -- Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Spiritually, born again believers are no longer citizens of the world. Yet many Christians make themselves subject to ordinances, attempting to direct how they are to live in the flesh. It is only the Word of God that can direct a renewed mind believer to do the work of Christ.
Romans 12: 2 -- And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Are we glorifying God or are we glorifying man? Again, this is the one question that we should ask ourselves in every situation. Do my works glorify God? If we walk in the spirit we will always glorify Him. Man's work, resulting from his own devices, fleshly thoughts, and desires, attempts to bring glory to himself. A Christian who applies God's Word, desires to, and successfully BRINGS GLORY TO GOD.
II Corinthians 11: 4 -- For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
The Corinthians were warned about another spirit, one that works to misdirect and deceive. This is a 'religious' spirit. A person can be very religious by doing all the right things: going to church every Sunday, serving on committees, and following the rules set forth for the congregation. Yet, this person will not have any spiritual fruit, and can be out of harmony and alignment with God. They will be as empty as their neighbor who buys material things to try to feel better.
Psalm 73: 22 - 25 -- So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless, I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
By following our own devices we are foolish and ignorant. But God is there to help us if we would only listen. He will guide us with His counsel, and receive us to glory. There is no one else, in heaven or earth, to whom we should look for guidance.
I John 5: 21 -- Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Literal translation according to usage:
I John 5: 21 -- Do not seek any help, guidance, or instruction from any other source other than your Heavenly Father.