Three Questions to Consider When Seeking Advice

 I love to give other people advice, and I love to receive advice from other people.

Often times, though, there is a gap between giving and receiving advice and actually implementing it. This inconsistency is part of the human condition, but it can be conquered with persistence.

Most of the New Testament is an instruction book. I realize that I have been talking a lot about the Bible.

Let me explain.

My thinking has radically changed about the Bible. I am learning that my life will all be for naught without Christ and the transforming power of His living word, the Bible.

But what does this have to do with giving and receiving advice?

The Old Testament laws were often hard to keep, but the New Testament instructions are possible if you’re walking in grace.

Grace is God’s DNA coursing through your veins.

Grace pushes you closer and closer to Christ, so that you begin to look more like Him.

Follow Christ, walk in grace, and be transformed by the power of God’s word.

That’s the New Testament in a nutshell.

I am telling you all of this because the best advice to follow is godly in nature.

The Bible is where you filter all advice that comes your way. It helps you find the biblical principles to back up the changes that need to be made in your life.

There are two Scriptures that best illustrate this point. The first is found in Ezekiel 33: 31-33:

“So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to this passage. I have been given advice, ignored it, and then saw the prophecy come to pass. Conversely, I have also heeded sound advice and reaped the benefits.

The second Scripture, Acts 17:11, is probably more familiar to you.

“[The Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

The Bereans understood that it was ultimately their responsibility to teach themselves good doctrine. It’s always easier to spot a phony when you are educated and informed.

All of this said there are three basic questions to ask when seeking advice:

  1. Who is giving this advice? Are they trustworthy? Responsible? In a place to be giving out advice?  
  2. What Scripture(s) back up this advice?
  3. If Questions 1 and 2 can be answered, what’s my plan of action?

If you walk away with nothing else from this post, keep this in mind:

Advice, much like exercise equipment, only works when it’s put in use. 

Did God Just Call Me A Knucklehead?

Prophets had a tough gig in the Old Testament.

I mean the Lord came to them and said, “Listen up! The children of Israel are knuckleheads, and I intend to teach them a lesson—to put a dunce hat on their stupid, little heads. Go tell them my plans because of their stupidity.”

Can you imagine being a prophet in that situation? Can you imagine how scary it must have been? Especially because the prophets knew that this was a group punishment? Meaning that they were also a part of this group…

I’m reading in Ezekiel right now, and let me tell you what! God was seriously ticked off. In Ezekiel 16: 30 He says:

“How degenerate is your heart! says the Lord God, ‘seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot.’”

That’s a pretty heavy statement.

But it gets better! Well, I guess it just depends on your definition of better…the Lord seemed to breathe for a second before attempting to reason with the people.

Let me paraphrase Ezekiel 18:21-24 for you:

“When a wicked man repents and follows God, his iniquities are forgotten. When a righteous man turns away from God, his sins are remembered in full. Does God want anyone to die in unrighteousness? No! However, he’ll judge everyone according to their works.”

Ezekiel 18:25 deserves to be directly quoted. God was talking his way through the above scenarios before declaring:

“Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?”

Wow. God laid down the law. Notice a few key words here: way and ways.

There is only one way to follow God, and that is His way. Man’s ways are wrong.

Is it really that simple?

I love the fact that the Bible is so clear, that God is so clear. Christians are to follow God and God alone.

What is God’s way?

Believe in His son, Jesus Christ, as the ONLY way to receive salvation. Walk in grace, listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and encourage others to do the same.

If the Bible is the foundation of a Christian’s life, then it is imperative that we understand this fundamental truth.

It’s not okay to figure out other ways to follow God, ways, I might add, that are so rooted in the world that Christians are not even recognizable as followers of Christ anymore.

Fair is fair.

God has made the terms pretty clear:

“‘Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’”(Ezekiel 18:31-32)

I have been a knucklehead like the children of Israel. I have attempted to figure out ways to do as I please and follow God as well. And every time I have found myself in the same situation: Frustrated and stuck in a rut.

I am thankful that God left His children some instructions. The more I read the Bible, the less I look like a knucklehead, and the more I look like a child of God.