Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ecclesiastes 7:5

"It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man Than for one to listen to the song of fools."

Are you careful to regard the loving correction of a fellow believer above the flattery of a worldly unbeliever?  We all struggle with the desire to have our decisions and actions be authenticated by others while avoiding the painful rebuke of Biblical council. Think back to a time when you had gone a few days without praying or exposing yourself to the Word of God. Surely, your thoughts during this time were shaped not by Scripture but by the world around you. How many phone calls and personal encounters with fellow believers that you otherwise would have welcomed did you avoid because you just didn't want to hear it!  Much like an avalanche picks up speed and size as it rolls down the hill, so too do we become emboldened with each day that passes in our arrogance resulting in an inability to submit to Scripture or a willingness to allow other Biblically minded believers help us see where we have gone wrong. It is quite revealing that the first instruction that King Solomon gave to his son Rehoboam in Proverbs 1:5 pertains to keeping and listening to wise council: "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise council  (The account of Rehoboam's failure to heed to this advice is recorded in 1 Kings 12). 

There is a recurring theme throughout the New Testament especially in the Pauline epistles that is communicated though the word parakaleo which means to encourage, or literally to call another alongside to where one is. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says: "Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." God has provided His Word to be the source of all correction, conviction, and training (2 Timothy 3:16), but he does not simply leave us to ourselves to receive this instruction.  Just as God works through the believer to communicate the Gospel to the unbeliever He works through individual believers to encourage and correct others in the Body of Christ.  We are responsible to encourage and correct others and we also must be ready to receive the same encouragement and correction when we are struggling. 

Nothing betrays us more than our feelings.  How we feel at any given moment is the last thing that should govern our thoughts, decisions, and actions.  Never is this more true then when we have strayed from the dominance of a Biblical perspective in our lives.  It is at these times more than any other when we must overrule how we feel and humble ourselves so that we submit to the Scripture which may take form in subjecting ourselves to the rebuke of a wise fellow believer.  In so doing, we are not submitting to another believer but the truth of Scripture as the basis of that believer's encouragement to us.  1 Corinthians 3:19 states: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness".  When we forego the tough love of wise council for the song of the fool we are trading the Truth for a lie.  Be careful and use good judgment regarding the council you keep.  Regardless of the problem that you may be encountering, the answer is always found on the pages of the Word of God. Good council will always bring you back to the text of Scripture not the world's system to help you through your struggle and they will have as their motivation the desire to see you draw nearer to God. 

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