NEXT STEPS

Wise Counsel

Posted on

NOVEMBER 17

WISE COUNSEL

It’s been said that we make our decisions, but then our decisions make us. Often, the difference between a life that seems tragic and one that seems well-lived all comes down to the decisions made therein. But making all the decisions we’re forced to make can be exhausting. How do we know if we’re making the right decisions? And how can we set aside our pride and seek help with making the wise choices in our lives that could be life-changing?

Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

DOWNLOAD NEXT STEPS

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Have you ever told a joke or a story that didn’t land or failed to garner the reaction you’d hoped for? What was that like?

2. Have you ever wondered whether God had our entire lives planned out for us, including small decisions? This week we learned that God’s plans for us are likely much more like a loving father who simply wants the best for us, with multiple good options for decisions in many cases. What are some positive hopes and desires your parents or loved ones had for you?

3. Read Psalm 119:105, 133. The first step to making good decisions is to make sure we’re aligned with God’s will as seen in the Bible. In some ways, the Bible is like an operating manual. What is one important “instruction” you’ve taken from the Bible that helps you make good decisions?

4. Read John 15:9-12. We can show our love for God by following His will and ways. Do you read and study the Bible so you know God and His will? How can the knowledge that knowing and doing God’s will is a way to show love for Him affect how often you read and study the Bible?

5. Have you ever wanted/expected a clear and easy answer from God, but you felt like you didn’t get it? What did you do in those circumstances? What do you think God would want you to do?

6. Read John 16:13. God sent His Holy Spirit to help guide us in our decisions. God’s Spirit is available to all who believe or trust in Him, so we are not alone when we are faced with tough decisions. Do you feel like you are paying attention to the Holy Spirit each day? What does that focus look like in your life?

7. We learned this week that an important component of making good decisions is seeking wise counsel. But in order to do that, we must remember not to attempt to find people who will simply confirm our own belief, and we must remember that, in the end, the decision is ours, not theirs. How can you begin to daily apply the decision-making principles we’ve learned thus far?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Psalm 119:105, 133 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.…Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

John 15:9-12 – “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”

John 16:13 – But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.

DIGGING DEEPER

As you look to dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, consider checking out the Wisdom outcome in Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path. Here’s an excerpt:

Let’s make a distinction: wisdom is different than intelligence. Intelligence may be had by those able to hold a great many facts in their minds. They know a lot about a lot of things, which can be a very useful tool. But there is such a thing as an intelligent fool, or conversely, a person who may not have a high degree of intelligence but who has a deep degree of wisdom. Wisdom is the person who knows how to live and how to relate. The intelligent person might be gifted at crafting words or statements, for example, but the wise will know when to speak and when to be silent. The intelligent may have the competencies to be impressive in the moment, but the wise will have the discipline to get things done overtime. Wisdom is not flashy and is often overlooked and under-appreciated. Ecclesiastes tells us “there lived…a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom.” It goes on to say, though, that “nobody remembered that poor man.” (Ecclesiastes 9:15). The wise are content with this. They do not live to be impressive but effective, unlike the fool who parades himself. Scripture has a great deal to say about wisdom. The book of Proverbs is dedicated to wisdom, as are Ecclesiastes and a few others. James is often referred to as the wisdom book of the New Testament, Song of Solomon has a great deal to say about romance and relationships, and Job gives wisdom for enduring hardship and suffering. Scripture tells us, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” (Proverbs 3:13-14). Wisdom is found through both Scripture, and according to Scripture itself, through the counsel of many (see Proverbs 15:22). We learn from our own experience, the experience of others, and the experience of Scripture. Those who grow in wisdom are those who listen carefully to the counsel of Scripture…

To complete this outcome in its entirety, go to gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/wisdom

SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/wisdom