We should always learn from others and value their experience, wisdom, insight, and guidance. But ultimately we need the whole counsel of God. But, what does that mean? What does that look like?
…I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Acts 20:27 (ESV)
The Partial Counsel of God
If you are predominantly influenced by someone who is always warning, cautioning, and correcting you but never portraying the goodness, freedom, and grace of God, you’ll eventually find yourself hearing the voice of God through the filter of fear, self-doubt, and guilt. You will become dependent on always having to have someone else tell you the right thing. You will end up living in a corner, cautioning others to beware of the “red flags” you see everywhere. You will have a cloud of anxiety and worry that begins to follow you wherever you go.
If you are predominantly influenced by someone who always encourages you and tries to make you feel good, but never really exposes you to the deeper things or the dangers at hand, you will end up spiritually emaciated (abnormally weak and thin). You will find yourself selling good news on wholesale and marketing hype because you don’t truly know the value of realness and counting the cost. You’ll think you are portraying the happiness and love of God to everyone around you, but many will perceive you as elitist, shallow, or misguided as if you are trying to keep yourself from dealing with the challenges we all face in this life and in our journey with God. You’ll end up believing whatever you like instead of whatever is wholly true.
If you are predominantly influenced by someone who only focuses on the supernatural power and presence of God, but never encourages you to do anything with it in the real world and never shares anything about the practical realities of day-to-day life in the world and with God, you’ll end up spiritually bi-polar. You find yourself always chasing another spiritual high, swinging from big “ups” to big “downs.” You’ll begin to feel inferior, like you can never attain to or maintain the level of some idealistic image of life that you begin to idolize. You’ll start compartmentalizing your earthly life from your spiritual life until it’s as if you you have a split personality. You’ll chase Christian superheroes who you hope will come to save the day, hopefully laying hands on you and magically lifting you above your self and your circumstances.
Christ The Fullness
Jesus portrayed joy, love, and peace as well as power and authority in the darkest places. He didn’t keep his encounters with Heaven hidden and He wasn’t ashamed of the supernatural. On the other hand, Jesus never shielded His disciples from the stark face of reality in a fallen world. He never avoided real life and real people, pretending it was all roses and lollipops. He also didn’t spend his ministry as a motivational speaker on a mission to help people feel better about themselves and their miserable lives.
Jesus didn’t only come out on the stage in moments power and glory. Rather, He lived everyday life with others. He ate with friends and foes, went to weddings and barbecues, He even listened to His mother. He invited a few to walk closely with Him and let them see how He dealt with real life and how He walked with with the Father step-by-step. He showed them that His spiritual life wasn’t disconnected from His earthly life. He taught them the practical, the basics, and the supernatural. In short, He taught them how to become like He is and how to do everything He did.
Jesus didn’t hold anyone back from “daring” and “doing.” He revealed Heaven on Earth, challenged earthly mindsets, and made people look higher and further. He taught basic truth as well as deeper things that astounded the learned and empowered the humble of heart. Jesus fully revealed God in all His glory, in truth and in grace.
Embracing The Whole Counsel of God
So then, we must look at ourselves. Are we truly following Christ? Are we embracing the whole counsel of God? It doesn’t require having all knowledge and wisdom, or having it all figured out. It’s about Christ Himself—He is the whole counsel of God, the full revelation of God once hidden but now made known. We must first and foremost look to Him and follow Him.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 (ESV)
How are we influencing others? Are we declaring the whole counsel of God? Are we trying to share a God who fits into our ideal happy box or our shielded, hidden corner, or are we willing to point to Christ in all His fullness despite ourselves?
Are we exalting our own understanding, perspectives, and experiences, or we are we exalting Christ above it all?
Are we guiding others to live within the limits of our own relationship with God, or are we pointing them to Christ Himself?
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for eighteen years, and is the proud father of two boys.