Advice

<<guidance, counsel, suggestion>>

The best advice we can obtain for living is from God, our creator. As we read the Bible with the Holy Spirit enlightening our hearts, through prayer and meditating on its truths, we are guided toward right living (Ps 119:105). Life is too complex to go it alone; we are incapable of directing our steps (Jer 10:23).

But God says, “I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go”, so our prayer should be, “Show me your way, O Lord”, with a willingness and obedience to do what He says (Ps 25:4,5,9,12, 32:8).

Bind spots or prejudices are exposed by input from several sources, each having a different perspective that brings fresh ideas and options. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” so “Make plans by seeking advice” (Prov 15:22, 20:18, 24:5,6). If you are not sure of the way to 

In major matters humbly ask for the advice           and insight of more mature godly people

go don’t act irrationally or in haste, instead let things take their own course (Act 5:35-39). We can learn so much from  the counsel, insight and

experience of wise mature Christians who have been on the path longer (Job 8:8-10). Ask for and be open to the views of others (1 Chr 13:1; Job 6:24; Prov 19:20). However, evaluate all the human advice received – is it consistent with the Bible’s teaching and principles, is it realistic and attainable? Ask God for wisdom (Jas 1:5).

When called upon to give advice, endeavour to understand the person’s situation and the factors involved so the advice is relevant and practical, just as we have in turn invited the Lord to guide us 

Do I follow my own advice?

(Prov 3:5,6). The advice we give to others should be an honest appraisal – neither reflecting our personal preferences nor being too negative or too positive but balanced – as it can have a great influence on the choices and actions of those who have requested our opinion or confirmation about a planned action.  Telling people what to do or giving them information does not work as effectively as when they see for themselves and are convinced that this really is the best choice, as they consider the various possible outcomes.

Advice is only ‘what I consider you should do’. It is purely a suggested approach; in no way should it be viewed as manipulation, control or definite instructions – the final decision is up to the person seeking the advice. Sometimes others just want a loving shoulder to cry on, or someone to sound out their ideas as they clarify the situation. However, if the Bible is specific about the issue it calls for tough confrontational recommendations pointing out God’s view as well as examples from the lives of others to emphasise either a proposed good or bad choice. To receive God’s blessing we must walk in His ways.

See also: counsel/counseling, guidance (divine), mentor.

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