Giving and Getting Advice

What is the craziest bit of advice you’ve ever been given? I’d love to hear it! My dad always used to tell me: “Keep your eyes open, son…otherwise you’ll bump into things.” It was decent enough advice. Getting good advice can be very beneficial in our lives; Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise person listens to advice.”

On the flip-side of that, sometimes in the context of spiritual guidance we can feel pressured by advice we receive. We’re going to be reading Acts 21:1-16 this Sunday, and Paul is going to get a lot of advice from some influential people and friends.

Why do you think the people around Paul were urging him to not go on to Jerusalem? What was motivating their advice? How do you think we can discern the distinction between good intentions and God’s will?

Sometimes we can advise people directly from God’s word on issues, such as moral ones, that apply to all of us under the divine directive. But what are some of the decisions we have to make in life that the Bible doesn’t cover, and how should we approach getting or receiving advice in those cases?

What did Paul have as his highest good when it came to his decision? How can that guide us in handling the advice people may give us?

Have you ever felt pressured to follow someone’s advice? How did you respond?

Here’s some unsolicited advice from me: you should come to Eastgate this Sunday because this is an interesting topic to explore! Also…weather-permitting….we’ll try to do Surf-N-Grill again this week! Hope to see you there!

2 responses to “Giving and Getting Advice”

  1. “Here, eat this candied lotus root. It will give you lots of children.”

    To which I responded: “Uh, I’m only 19.”

    “Oh, that’s fine. It will still work.”

  2. I think there were several motives to the disciples warnings…One was their genuine love and concern for him. The text said that they had through the spirit seen trouble coming for him, fear for his life enters the scene…It seems they assumed that since God revealed trouble He wanted them to convince Paul not to go…That seems reasonable, they love Paul and I’m sure don’t want any more suffering to come his way then God even shows them what’s coming so in their heightened emotional state for Paul they are probably convinced God wants them to try to persuade him to stay…We humans never imagine suffering to be in God’s plan but it certainly was for the role model we are to pattern our lives after…I imagine even if they did understand that God was possibly just showing them that this was coming so they wouldn’t be shocked or loose heart over it, it would still have been difficult to swallow or even say to Paul, yea God showed me bad stuff’s on the way for you but that’s ok it’s His plan for your life and He’s probably going to use it to accomplish something much larger than we realize…It was the same with Jesus, He told them He would suffer but they really didn’t get it until after the fact.
    Discerning whether advice is God’s will or someone’s good intentions can be tough for sure. This is where our own since of conviction comes in…If we’re soliciting advice we should first pray and get a since of what direction God may be leading us in ourselves…when we can’t quite put our finger on the answer sometimes God will confirm our own convictions through someone else..It will seem right to us or bear witness with our own hearts if so…If someone comes up and simply gives us advice or even a “word from God” unsolicited the responsibility still lies in our court to pray about it and see if indeed God was speaking or if another loving heart was emotionally swayed….
    Man there are soooo many things we don’t have the answer in black and white to in the bible, should I put my elderly parent in an assisted living facility?, is it time to kick my adult child out of the house, should I allow my teenager to date, do I quit my job, sell my house, move to another state?, ….. No doubt we will have lots of opportunity to practice these discernments as we journey through this life..Paul had as the bottom line or highest good, obedience to God…He said it doesn’t matter what happens to me in Jerusalem but what the Master does through my obedience…How hopeful is that….When we are able to come to the decision that we know is obedience to His plan there is no limit to the good God can do through our choices to follow His lead!!!

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