Counsel. What an interesting word. This concept has been on my mind recently, mostly due to one of my favorite scriptures from the Book of Mormon–
“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” –Alma 37:37
I love this scripture, especially the first part (bolded for your convenience). I have a strong testimony of receiving direction from the Lord. As a matter of fact every good decision that’s ever worked out for my benefit has come from the guidance of the spirit.
Unfortunately I’ve also felt the sting of regret when I’ve chosen my own will instead of seeking out what the Lord would have had me do. Truth be told, this has happened more often that not and I’ve had some strong impressions recently that I have made too many important decisions on my own and I haven’t sought the guidance of the spirit as I should have.
Nevertheless the Gospel is all about pressing forward, learning, growing, repenting and working towards a brighter future. Here are four principles I’m trying to take to heart when it comes to counseling with the Lord.
1. Be humble.
Notice that the scripture states “Counsel with the Lord.” and not counsel at the Lord. This works with another great scripture, Jacob 4: 10,
“Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.”
Too often I find myself praying with the intent of telling the Lord what I want to do and just hoping He’ll go along with it. However, we need to humble ourselves and be open to what the Lord would have us do and not our own will. Sometimes our will is the Lords, and sometimes it’s not. The trick is to be humble enough to receive His counsel and to truly desire it.
2. Be Patient
Often answers to our prayers don’t happen all at once. God is not a vending machine in which we can push a few buttons and automatically get what we want. He answers in His own time and in His own way, but He DOES always answer.
3. Be willing to follow.
Sigh. This one can be tough. Sometimes the Lord may require us to make hard decisions that may be difficult to follow. But how can we expect Heavenly Father to give us answers if we aren’t willing to act on them? The fact is, regardless of the difficulty, His counsel is for our benefit. Which leads me to the last principle…
4. Trust Him.
God loves us. I find it amazing how often I forget this simple yet powerful truth. He wants only what is best for us and He knows us better than we know ourselves. Any counsel He gives us is to help us find happiness in this life and peace in the life to come. He knows our potential and what we are capable of through Him.
Overall, I’m just really grateful to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is always there for me and He’s always there for you too, no matter what you are going through. I know that if we sincerely counsel with the Lord, we will see His hand in our lives and most importantly, we’ll feel the Love of God in our lives.
So what about you? What have you learned about “counseling with the Lord”?