Should we seek the counsel of others?

Bible Answer

Psalms 32:8 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."

Proverbs 11:14 "Where no counsel is, the people fall:
but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."

Proverbs 15:22 "Without counsel purposes are disappointed:
but in the multitude of counsellors they are established."

Inspired Answer

"In all our dealings with one another, God desires us carefully to guard the principle of personal responsibility to and dependence upon Him."—Loma Linda Messages, p. 258.1

“If we are to be co-laborers with God, we must hold direct communion with Him: we must ask His guidance in everything we undertake. We cannot commit to another the explanation, or ask them to direct us. But how few know what it is to hold intercourse with God. How readily some place the responsibility of their duty on others, and ask them to tell them what to do. We say to all such, You must know your duty from God. Many have depended on their fellow-men until they have no individual experience. They are towed along as a barge by a steamer. All must see and understand their duty for themselves, after seeking wisdom from God. He is the only one to whom you may commit your soul for safe-keeping. If you come to Him in faith, he will speak His mysteries to you personally. You may sit together in heavenly places with Christ. We may individually understand God’s will; we may know for ourselves what He would have us do; for He will direct us if we will consent to be consecrated and humble in heart before him. Our hearts will oft burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge.” We need Him who is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”—Manuscript Releases, Vol. 6, p. 381.,23

“One great object in the mission of Christ was to establish in every believer a sense of the guiding and controlling power of God. This lesson is to be repeated again and again. No greater injury can be done to our churches than for members to be taught to look to their fellowmen for guidance. And there is no man so humble in heart and so respectful of his brethren that he can safely take upon himself this work.”—Loma Linda Messages, p. 212  

“God would have you united in pleasant cords of companionship. As the Lord's workmen, you are to open your plans one to another. These plans must be carefully and prayerfully considered, for the Lord will leave those who do not do this to stumble in their own supposed wisdom and superior greatness. [John 15:16, 17, quoted.]   One person must not suppose that his wisdom is beyond making any mistake. God would have the greatest cherish that humility that will lead him to be the servant of all if duty thus orders it. But while you are to love as brethren, and think soul to soul, heart to heart, life to life, you are individually to lean your whole weight on God. He will be in your support. He is not pleased when you depend on each other for light and wisdom and direction. The Lord must be our wisdom. Individually we must know that He is our sanctification and our redemption. To Him we may look, in Him we may trust. He will be to us a present help in every time of need.”—Manuscript Releases, Vol. 21, p. 337

“In the place of bearing your perplexities to a brother or a minister, take them to the Lord in prayer. Do not place the minister where God should be. The minister of Christ is like other men. True, he bears sacred responsibilities, but he is not infallible. He is compassed with infirmity, and needs grace and divine enlightenment. He needs the heavenly unction, in order to do his work with success. Those who know how to pray, who know what are the invitations of the gospel of Christ, show dishonor to God when they lay their burdens upon finite men. It is always right to counsel together; it is right to converse together; it is right to make the difficulties that present themselves in any enterprise plain before your brethren and your ministers. But do not depend upon man for wisdom. Seek God for the wisdom that comes from above. Ask your fellow laborers to pray with you; and the Lord will fulfill his word, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst." —Youth Instructor, February 15, 1900

"We have a divine audience to which to present our requests. Then let nothing prevent us from offering our petitions in the name of Jesus, believing with unwavering faith that God hears us and that He will answer us. Let us carry our difficulties to God, humbling ourselves before Him. There is a great work to be done, and while it is our privilege to counsel together, we must be very sure to counsel with God; for He will never mislead us. We are not to make flesh our arm. If we do, depending upon human help, human guidance, unbelief will steal in, and our faith will die. {Ms29-1907.10}  Frequently I receive letters from individuals, telling me of their troubles and perplexities and asking me to inquire of God what is their duty. I reply to them, I have not been appointed by God to do such a work as you ask. The Lord Jesus has invited you to bring your troubles to One who understands every circumstance of your life. {Ms29-1907.11} ... I shall not dishonor my Lord by encouraging people to come to me for counsel when they have a standing invitation to go to the One who is able to carry them and all their burdens. {Ms29-1907.13}

Further Thoughts

Living at the center of God's will should be the objective of every follower of Jesus. God promises to reveal His will to us (Ps. 32:8). that being the case, we should be able to ask God for wisdom and receive that wisdom in God's sanctioned way—Scriptures, opening providences, impressions of the Holy Spirit, etc. There is also strong admonition to seek counsel from others, for, as the Scriptures state, there is safety in a multitude of counselors. However, as the paragraphs above state, our primary source of wisdom should be God. The counsel above is in line with what Mrs. White called the "Principle of Individual Responsibility," which had to do with individually seeking and receiving God's direction for our lives.—Dan