Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
Except in extreme and ultra-rare cases, life is not lived in a vacuum. Each of us develops in this life in the presence of others. Each of us is subject to the influence— whether good or bad—of those around us. It is not unusual for us to discover that we are acting in ways that are in clear imitation of the people who are most influential in our lives. There is very little we can do, in fact (outside of being cave-dwelling hermits), to avoid the impact that the lives and decisions of others has on our own lives and decisions. As we grow and mature (and as we take on the responsibility of teaching and influencing others to act in good and godly ways), we typically learn better who it is we should follow, and who it is we should imitate. Regardless how old or mature we may be, however, there is never a time when we should stop seeking the counsel and the wisdom of people who are walking in Christ.
As Paul wrote, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” When we see that others are clearly living for God, we are wise to imitate them. As often as possible, we need to be people who are open to godly and prudent instruction—we need to be open to instruction that comes from the Lord through the lives and through the insight of people who have walked with Him for a lifetime.