”Being spiritually and emotionally mature does not mean making important decisions independent of God and wise council.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible related to gaining wisdom and direction from God. The first part is pretty easy. We are to trust God with all our heart. However, the next part is not so clear. We are not to lean on our own understanding. If we are not to lean on our own understanding, on whose understanding are we to lean?

Throughout the Old Testament, God set up structures by which those in authority made decisions. God established a principle whereby we are not only to seek Him, but also others in making decisions. This is the only way that God is glorified, the most informed decisions are made, and the best outcomes are guaranteed.

In the Old Testament, the priest made decisions based on which way the Urim and Thummim fell inside his breastplate. The casting of lots was another means of allowing a decision to be left with God. Proverbs says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33

Another means of making a decision was through the agreement of two or three. No one could be guilty of any crime without the witness of two or three. This was a biblical way of confirming a matter. Still, another means of making a decision is through a multitude of counselors.

Given all these scenarios, what is the lesson to be learned? We are told in Jeremiah 17:9, ”The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” So what really protects each of us from the deceit of our own heart? I believe it is the combination of all the above.

When we get to a place with God that our decisions are accountable to others, whether they be a wife, a board, or a few close friends who are committed to the same godly goals. Only then are we protected from the deceit of our own heart and making decisions that bring disappointment at best, or worse, great harm.

This is one of the hardest things to yield to God, the right to make our own decisions. Yet, it is the most elementary principle God requires of us to receive His blessing in our lives or the ministry for which we are accountable. This principle took a long time for me to appreciate. However, I can tell you I would never make a major decision today without the counsel of others who are close to me and committed to the same cause and outcomes.

Relational equity and accountability are almost lost in today’s culture due to our hunger for independence and our fear of being brutally honest with present reality. I have experienced firsthand and too often the hardship resulting from making decisions that God did not endorse and not seeking Godly council from wise people.

Walking in obedience and submission to God is only the beginning. Finding the will of God personally and making wise decisions as a team requires walking in fellowship and submission to those God brings alongside us.

This is the only real way to find real freedom in Christ and the ”peace that passes all understanding,” Philippians 4:7. This peace is a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances. You will never experience that apart from God and being interdependent with wise people willing to be totally honest with you and each other.