Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
I’m going to be honest here. I was shocked when I read this verse. For some reason, I was surprised these words were in the Bible. Not because it’s contrary to the faith, but because it’s a natural concept we all seem to acknowledge and understand. I’m always surprised when something so reasonable to us is also found in Scripture. Why? Because I know human logic is faulty. But then I remember: the Word came first and then we followed (John 1:1-3). So clearly, all these concepts we think WE came up with, all these little sayings we think WE created, they actually originated in Scripture. All we’re responsible for is distorting them into meaningless clichés and ignorantly disobeying and mocking the Word of God. That might sound a little extreme, but I think the reality is we don’t want to accept truth.
We all acknowledge that guidance is necessary to be successful in life. We understand we need someone to lead us and share their wisdom with us. We apply this thinking to our education and career goals. But that’s usually as far as it goes.
Yes, it’s true. It is wise to seek guidance about what classes to take, which major to pursue, what jobs to apply for, and how to “get somewhere” in life. But I refuse to believe God meant for us to apply this concept to our social, professional, and material well-being alone. It’s fine and dandy if that’s how you want to use it, but know that God intended these words for a spiritual purpose. Proverbs teaches us “The Skill of Living” (<<< click the link and watch the videos). But sometimes we confuse that concept with “how to be successful” – i.e. distorting the Word of God into meaningless clichés.
Here’s a crazy thought: Let’s apply Proverbs 11:14 to our spiritual lives! Mentorship. Discipleship. That’s what I believe the Lord has called us to – that’s what these words mean.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls” – Without guidance, without discipleship, a people falls. Not “a single person,” not “a career,” not “material blessings.” No. Without guidance, without discipleship an entire people fall. We need to understand this:
people – LIVES > personal career, money, title, success
We have the opportunity to influence lives. Plural. Our one life can touch thousands of lives – and each life we’ve touched can influence a thousand more. Often, we wonder why young people abandon the faith and fall away from the Lord. But it’s not just young people. It’s all people, of all ages and backgrounds. We wonder why people turn from the Lord. Perhaps we’ve even wondered why we ourselves have fallen from the Lord. We wonder why God isn’t doing something. Could it be less of God’s fault, less of His lack of care, and more of our shortcomings? Could it be that we ourselves aren’t guiding, discipling, and pouring into the lives of those around us? Could it be that we aren’t seeking godly counsel for how to live a godly life? Could it be that we are the ones that just don’t care, that are too busy, too self-involved to invest in others?
“but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” – When godly counsel is being exchanged, when we’re pouring into others, we – as a people – are safe from the clutches of Satan. The “exchange” is the important part. When we encourage others to seek godly counsel, when we ourselves seek such counsel, we are abiding in the Lord. There is no safer place than walking in the will of the Lord. And when we are walking with Him, following Him, surrounding ourselves with godly community, how can Satan snatch us up? Sure, exchanging advice on career moves can certainly give us financial security. But what does it matter if we’re financially secure and spiritually lost? What does it matter if we play all our cards right on this earth, for this life, but we have done absolutely nothing for the eternity that awaits us ahead?
Oh, and just a side note: Eternity DOES await us. Every single one of us. Sometimes we think eternity is only for people going to heaven. We think eternity is only for people who believe in eternity. But the existence of eternity is not dependent on human belief. It just is. We need to answer this question: How do I want to spend “forever?” How do I want my loved ones to spend “forever?”
Which brings us back to Proverbs 11:14. We know the worldly implications of seeking and giving guidance. Which is good and necessary and wise! But do we even recognize the spiritual implications of this verse? This isn’t just a concept we came up with, y’all. It isn’t just about how to “make it” in this world. It’s wisdom from the Lord about how to ensure vitality among believers.
Life yields life. Yet another “duh” statement, I know. But consider its spiritual implications. Only life can yield life. Death or the absence of life cannot yield life.
We are given LIFE in Christ. When we pour our lives into people, we encourage them in the faith, we challenge them, we build them up and they in turn can do the same for others – life yielding life.
But if we fail to invest in the lives of others, if we fail to advise and encourage them in the spiritual things, if we keep our testimonies to ourselves, then life withers away. And the one who is in this world more easily snatches hold of our lifeless, discouraged hearts.
So here’s the two-fold challenge:
- Regardless of your age, regardless of your spiritual maturity, find someone (or several “someones”) to disciple you in the faith. Seek godly counsel. Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life who can mentor you, speak His truths into your life, point you in His direction. And when that person shows up, RUN with them. We are running a race, y’all. So RUN in the faith. Briskly walking just isn’t going to cut it anymore. RUN. Chase after Christ just as He chased after you. Running this race with someone who is stronger, better equipped, more experienced, more mature will STRENGTHEN and HUMBLE you. It will push you to your limits and foster within your heart love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It will introduce you to a more mature way of thinking and living for Christ.
- Regardless of your age, regardless of your spiritual maturity, find someone (or several “someones”) to disciple in the faith. Offer godly counsel. Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life who you can mentor, speak His truths to, and point in His direction. When that person shows up, RUN with them. Teach them that briskly walking just ain’t going to cut it anymore. Encourage them to RUN with you. Encourage them to chase after Christ just as He chased after them. Running with babes in the faith will STRENGTHEN and HUMBLE you. It will push you to your limits and foster within your heart love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It will introduce you to a more mature way of thinking and living for Christ.
This isn’t a “pick one or the other” challenge. This isn’t a voluntary challenge or merely a suggestion. It’s God’s way of protecting, growing, and strengthening His children. It’s His way of expanding the Kingdom. It doesn’t matter if no one mentored you when you were younger. It doesn’t matter if anyone is begging for your mentorship. It doesn’t matter if there doesn’t seem to be anyone around to disciple you. Pray. Seek. Ask.
Yield to life and yield life. It’s the only way to do life.
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.