Listening Up or Down

Michael Beck

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

Trouble doesn’t seek our permission before it enters our life. Jesus promised His disciples: “In the world ye shall have tribulation …” (John 16:33) Like an unwelcome intruder, trouble thrusts itself upon us. Whether we like it or not, often out of nowhere, it appears. At other times, the storm that has been brewing for a long time, suddenly breaks forth upon us. In such precarious times, depending on the counsel we have built our life upon, our “house” will either stand or fall.

There isn’t a neutral stance we can take to life’s problems. We have to work out a response to events which occur. The only question is “with whom” will we work out our response. Especially when we’re between a rock and a hard place we need to know what to do. Where do we go to get counsel? Will we let the Holy Spirit and the word of God help us work things out; or, will we walk in the counsel of the ungodly? Those who are unaccustomed to seeking God for problems big and small, undoubtedly will receive counsel that is “earthly, sensual, devilish;” and will do so at a hefty price. “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.” (Isaiah 30:1)

We cannot afford to be without the “wisdom from above.”

If we are to navigate the treacherous waters of this life we must have close assistance from the Spirit of God who will always guide us aright and preserve us from evil. We cannot afford to be without the “wisdom from above.” One wrong turn can mean disaster. Actions spring from thoughts. The words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart need to be acceptable in God’s sight. No, we cannot control what others do to us; but the Holy Spirit is always ready to directs our hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ. A wounded ego, unattended by God and devoid of His counsel, will work itself out in an evil response.

In this life of trial and trouble, Jesus told us to be of good cheer because He had overcome the world. Only by abiding in Him and having His words abide in us will we be able to do the same. Take heed in what soil your heart is planted. Good fruit that glorifies God comes when we are being led by His Spirit. For your own good, listen up, not down!

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.