Life Advice

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I was on Facebook one day and I saw a quote. I don’t remember the name of the person who posted it or exactly what was said word for word but basically it went like this, stop taking constructive criticism from people who haven’t constructed anything.

Now I think there can be some exceptions to this advice depending on how you interrupt it. Like I don’t need to know how to cook to be able to recommended trying to add less than a pound of salt in your pasta. But it is something to think about. These who criticize the efforts of others the most tend to be the ones who are lacking in their own or don’t have any interested in what you personally feel called to do.

David was interested in defeating the enemies of Israel. “But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. ‘What are you doing around here anyway?’ he demanded. ‘What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!’ ‘What have I done now?’ David replied. ‘I was only asking a question!’ 1 Samuel 17:28-29

When Nehemiah was trying to rebuild Jerusalem “Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, ‘What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?’ Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, ‘That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!’” Nehemiah 4:1-3

“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.’8His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” Genesis 37:5-8

We notice both in and out of the Bible people tend to get angry or uncomfortable when God calls you to do something big and you start moving in that direction. So that may provide some insight into the response of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4 whose son died and she went to the man of God to bring him back to life. Numerous people asked why she was looking for Elisha but she didn’t stop to explain everything to any of them and just went to get Elisha to restore her son without getting the input of others, not even the man who worked for Elisha. Her son was restored to life and there is a good lesson in this; you don’t have to tell everyone what your motives are in life or even what you have faith will come to pass.

There is another story in the same chapter of the Bible about a widow who needed oil to sell to pay off her former husband’s debt so her sons would not be sold as slaves by the lender. So Elisha told her to borrow many empty containers from her neighbors put the one jar oil she did have into those in order to have more but she was to shut the door behind her and her sons who were at risk for the miracle to happen-and it did. Sometimes when God tells you to do something you should keep it to yourself-unless God told you to tell someone of course-and just do it. If you know what God wants there is no need for a second opinion. Sure God can still work even if you run into opposition but we shouldn’t make obeying God harder than it needs to be by getting sidetracked with the options of others when God didn’t tell us to get involved in that. Sometimes God may but sometimes God may want us to shut the door behind us and spend time alone with Him while waiting for our miracle.

It is good to take the advice of Godly people of course. I am not saying getting an opinion is always wrong. The Bible says “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 and “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 Yet, above all God should be our counselor. “I will praise the LORD who counsels me— even at night my conscience instructs me. I keep the LORD in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:7-8. Sometimes we won’t have the many good advisers like the Jewish Bible recommends but we can always have the advice of the one good God and that alone is more valuable than the advice of many who are wrong.

So while advice is good we should keep in mind who we are taking advice from. We should seek God’s will for ourselves and not blindly accept human opinions of what we should be doing. When Godly people teach it is good to listen but the only way to know they are of God is to compare the counsel to what God says and pray for yourself to confirm if what was said really was good counsel. It is easily to get discouraged when attempting something new when others don’t support it but you shouldn’t be too easily swayed out of your dreams you believe are from God by people who aren’t interested in changing anything. It is nice to have human support but don’t the humans turn you against what God wants you to do.

Picture originally found here

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