The cliché “Two heads are better than one” intimates that it is better to get advice or opinions from another person when one is uncertain about something. Often, after a horrific incident has occurred, the news will interview “experts” or a panel of “experts” in hopes of getting some explanation as to why the heinous crime happened in the first place.
Those experts may give statistics or have background information on the victimizer and then, through deductive reasoning, psychological evaluations, and theorems, come up with a variety of reasons as to why the egregious act happened. Even with an educated and astute “expert panel” do their best to fill in the blanks, the human mind still wants to understand how someone could commit such a crime. And as important and useful as they may be, we often want something more, something higher than those evaluations and explanations to bring us the peace we so desire. I know that I do and when I do, I turn my questions to God, seeking His thoughts and His wisdom.
During my years of being mentored, prior to opening up my practice of mental health mentoring through the knowledge of God and scriptural text, my mentor shared with me, after I had asked her what she thought about a particular challenge I was having, that it didn’t matter what she was thinking, and that she was not in the practice or habit of sharing opinions. She added that she doesn’t carry opinions on anything, just the knowledge of what she has learned of God.
She further elucidated by giving me an example that remains with me as an invaluable concept regarding this subject. She taught me that the word “pinion” meant “the outer part of a bird’s wings” and that the letter “o” before the word “pinion,” as a play on words, could also be looked at as a zero. She concluded that opinions have zero wings to take flight. In other words, opinions have no credibility. (Similarly, I know an English professor who borrows Terry Cole-Whittaker’s book title and tells her students, “What you think of me is none of my business,” although she adds, “What you learn from me is.”)
My mentor then went on to say that leading someone to higher thinking is the best counsel to offer rather than telling someone what to do whereby robbing him or her of an opportunity to strive for the answers through praying and pondering. She also forewarned me that when someone offers a human opinion or mere conjecture, he or she could easily influence someone in a direction that God had not intended that person to go. This became a standard rule which I implement in my own practice, to recall that opinions are pace! As I usually do in all areas of my life, I decided to look up citations in scriptural text to support and reinforce my mentor’s wise counsel.
I discovered in Proverbs 18:2 that expressing opinions could make one look foolish for it is written, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (ESV). In Isaiah 2:22, the prophet said, “Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” (ESV) Namely, we put the credibility in man’s counsel.
That wise comment from Isaiah prompted me to think about how many billions of dollars are made annually in self-help concepts. When someone becomes famous, beats the odds, or has reached a high level of success, people want to know how that person did it and what the formula is. Some authors have devised a step-by-step method claiming that, if those steps are taken, then success will follow.
I am not suggesting that those kinds of stories be withheld—they can be motivating, useful, and even inspiring—but I am suggesting that each of us has our own individual path, and even if we were to try to follow another person’s path exactly, many variables would alter the journey and eventually the results. As Athos tells D’Artagnan in Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, “In general, people only ask for advice that they may not follow it; or, if they should follow it, that they may have somebody to blame for having given it.”1 We must each find our own path in our own way.
Someone once asked me why he had not yet manifested the success he had been fervently praying about for years. He explained that a man who had never played the lottery before won millions when he played it the first time. I didn’t suggest that he go look for a self-help book on How to Win a Lottery For first Timers and follow it step-by-step! Rather, I reminded him that it would be more efficacious to focus on his work and not become distracted with what others are or are not doing, to remain in steadfast prayer, trusting God would bestow His wisdom and insight as to the direction of his purpose.
He then asked me how he could discern between his thoughts and God’s. So, I referred him to Isaiah 55:8, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (NIV).
Traveling the same thought pattern day in and day out can not only quickly become mundane, but it can also lead us to feeling unsatisfied, longing for something greater than we were told we could ever achieve. However, traveling on the highway of thinking, listening to God-Mindedness, the Head above all others, will elevate thought and open up new opportunities. It is more than possible, it is likely, by God’s wisdom to experience and manifest greatness.
In 1 Chronicles 29:11, it is written, “Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all” (NIV). “As head over all”— if one does in fact accept that and believe it, one will experience the wisdom and knowledge of God with great understanding!
In the gospel of John 8:47, it is written, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God” (ESV). Hearing God means that one must be familiar with Him, His ways, and His voice. Becoming familiar with someone requires spending time with that person to get to know him or her. It is the same with God.
Simply put, to hear God means to know God, and to know God means you will hear God.
I heard this profound Bible teacher once say that most people do so much talking to God that they are “down-right rude,” that we need to listen more to God if we are to get to know Him.
After having listened to (no pun intended) the professor’s sagacity, I decided to try it. I practiced remaining still and just listening. It took a while to settle in and remain poised and serene in prayer, but once I did, the inner voice of reason, insight, wisdom, and acumen became clearer and clearer. The more I prayed with humbleness and receptivity, the more I was led to what turned out to be healthy and uplifting decisions and experiences.
I have always been a fan of reading a psalm a day, and Psalm 139 is primarily dedicated to God’s omniscience or All-knowing. The idea of God knowing all our thoughts, not barring where we are each moment and never separating Himself from us, makes it clear why the author of Chronicles said that God is the “exalted head above all.”
Asking God, who knows it all, is far better than asking someone who is a know-it-all but in fact knows very little. Joseph Joubert, an essayist wrote, “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.”2
By asking God, even if you must wait for the answer, the result will be the truth, without human infiltration. However, asking God directly may for some at first seem odd, yet if the Bible clearly instructs us and encourages us to ask God for wisdom then surely it must be a most useful idea.
In James 1:5, James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God…” and James continues in 3:17 with, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
Is it possible that because we cannot see God that it is easier to lean on a person for counsel, direction, and understanding? Is it possible that we have forsaken the Creator and in place of Him we have set-up man, God’s creation, to be relied upon?
Maybe if we could see God, meet him for lunch, and converse with Him, or even email Him questions, we may be inclined to turn more to Him for answers than to family, friends, and others. I am in no way proposing that we do not receive useful information and most needed support from others, but I am submitting that there is no wisdom wiser than God’s! And He wants to share His wisdom with those who seek Him as an answer to their needs!
In Proverbs 21:30 the words of God are, “No wisdom, no understanding, and no advice [can stand up] against the LORD.”
It stands to perfect reason why when one is seeking answers, asking for God’s wisdom is the way to go! His wisdom is unadulterated, absolute, impartial, unbiased, and nondiscriminatory. As Albert Einstein said, “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are incapable of forming such opinions.”
ESV-English Standard Version
NIV-New International Version
1 Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers. Bantam Books: Toronto, 1984. 300.