“For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” – Proverbs 24:6
Football is a beautiful sport. It owes its beauty largely to its complexity. Every ten seconds or less, the flow of the game pauses, and there is a fresh opportunity for new strategy to be injected. As a result, there is perhaps no other sport where there is as high of a potential of being “out-coached”. It is a display of the Proverb noted above, and many like it, which claim that wisdom has a greater hand in success than any other single factor, including strength, talent, riches, popularity, and age. Wisdom can trump all of these.
So, if you want to be more successful, just get more wisdom – right? If only it were that simple. The Bible tells us the wisdom of God (real wisdom) is folly to man (I Cor 1:18-25). Wisdom, it turns out, can be hard to find even when you think that’s what you are after. Practical steps toward the success which comes from wisdom can take a lifetime to acquire.
Two big components of wisdom are learned from our relationship to God: humility and trusted counsel. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. Specifically, in this context, that means realizing you are not the Lord. You do not possess the needed inexhaustible resources within yourself.. We need help every day. We need sustaining grace and help from God, and one of the ways we act out our dependency on Him is by reaching out to others for help.
God himself does not operate alone, but in Triune relationship. He is continually in fellowship and consultation between Father, Son, and Spirit. For starters, then, it’s safe to say we all need at least two other people in our circle of trust. When we enlist the pursuit of wisdom to strive for an optimal outcome, what we are seeking is to align our own thinking as much as possible with God’s thinking. God knows the minute details of every situation, plans out everything, and is always motivated by the highest good.
We have a lot of limitations that prevent us from batting 1.000, like God does. Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief. You’re going to come up short a lot of times. You’re going to fail a lot of times. You’re going to miss things, or fail to properly analyze different factors, and that’s okay. But that in itself is an important realization: you are not God.
If we think about our steps toward wisdom, it begins with acknowledging our weakness, and then seeking to transcend those weaknesses through help that comes from God. That help often flows through the channels of other people. As we enlist other trusted counselors, we are, in effect, taking steps to admit, and then step beyond our limitations. We hope to surpass the narrow horizons of our own perspective by listening to others. In doing so, we take miniscule steps towards imitating God, who sees all perspectives at all times, and holds them together in perfect unity and harmony. The more we step outside our selfish and limited perspective, the better chance we have of appraising a situation in its truest colors, and choosing the wisest course of action.
You can, of course, press this advice to absurdity if you need to consult forty-three people before deciding how dark you should toast your bagel. Trusted counselors are what is important. Look for people who evidence their own humility and dependence on God. And let God’s Spirit through his Word be the first counsel you seek.