Disclaimer: This post is not addressing Godly biblical advice which we all need. This is about grey areas where the Lord allows us liberty to choose.
When making choices, we can get a lot of advice from well meaning friends and family. Everyone has an opinion on what we should do.
I think you should take this job
I think you should take a loan
I think you should marry her
I think you should go back to school
I am also guilty of dishing out advice. However, we are all different. The strategy that gave one victory, if applied to another, will not necessarily work. Now, the Bible is clear on overall Biblical principles such as loving God, loving our neighbor and living in harmony with each other, and many others, which need no debating.
However, sometimes we do not have specific advice or strategies for specific situations. Why? Because we are all different.
1 Samuel 17:
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
Saul presumed that David needed his armor – his helmet, his sword and his tunic in order to slay Goliath. But David could not even walk properly in them!
See, well meaning advice may not always resonate or apply to the other person. It is not that they reject the advice; they cannot fight the battle in your armour. They cannot walk in the faith you walked in that situation although it looks like a carbon copy of your situation.
Instead of shoving down our strategies on each other, I suggest we do the following:
- Listen without giving advice, unless requested
- Instead of concluding you know what is best for the person, pray for them. If you strongly think they ought to go a certain way and they cannot see it, then ask God to show them.
- Remember if they are doing it out of duty, it is not of faith and the Bible calls it a sin, for whatever is not done in faith is sin
- Realize only the Holy Spirit leads people into all truth (John 16:13)
- Instead of dishing advice – ask questions. Tell me why you feel this way. Tell me why you don’t want to do this/want to do this.
You are Unique. Fight in Your Own Armour.
If you are on the receiving end of advice:
- Seek the Lord’s counsel, because wisdom comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Prov 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding)
- Examine the counsel you are receiving. You have the Holy Spirit in you. Does He bear witness? If He does, then do it.
- Just like David, fight your battles in your own armour. What does the Lord require of you? Wait? Step out in faith? Walk away from a situation? Whoever lacks wisdom should ask the Lord, who gives generously (James 1:5).
Always remember you are unique. So fight in your own armour.