Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Advice and Instruction

Chuckle: "Wouldn't you know it . . . brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever."
Quote: “Many receive advice, but the wise profit from it.” --Publilius Syrus

"Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life" (Proverbs 19:20 NLT).
We all like to think we are wise and can make sensible decisions based on our own life experiences, education, and common sense. Teenagers can be resistant to advice, especially if it comes from mom and dad who, by definition, just don't know anything. But the problem is not limited to teenagers. Some of us older folks are so set in our ways that any advice that suggests changing the way we think and act is automatically rejected. We often rely on these overused words: "I've never done it that way." Today, I challenge each of us to examine our attitudes toward receiving advice and counsel.
After watching the swing of a pupil, the golf pro began making suggestions for improvement. But each time the pupil interrupted with his own version of what was wrong and how to correct it. After a few minutes, the pro began nodding his head in agreement. At the end of the session, the student paid the pro, congratulated him on his expertise as a teacher, and left in an obviously pleased frame of mind.
An astonished observer asked the pro, "Why did you go along with him?" "Son," the old pro said with a grin, as he pocketed his fee, "I learned long ago that it's a waste of time to try to sell answers to a man who only wants to buy echoes."
Obviously, not all advice is good advice. Larry Burkett put it this way: "A wise man seeks much counsel . . . a fool listens to all of it." We must learn to discern between wise and foolish counsel. But the point of this lesson is to open our minds to fresh and new ideas that can positively affect the way we live, make decisions, and relate to other people. Of course our best sources of advice for living are God's Word and the counsel of godly people.
But we can close our spiritual ears to the point that we cannot accept advice even from God himself. This attitude can prevail in an individual Christian or the entire church. A church can become so locked in tradition that form and format become more important than substance in worship. The Holy Spirit cannot work freely in such an environment.
A key ingredient of true wisdom is the recognition of personal intellectual and spiritual need for counsel combined with the willingness to accept and utilize advice and education, especially spiritual instruction. "Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others" (Proverbs 12:15 NLT). The more we learn the more we realize how much we don't know. When our physical and spiritual minds are open to learning, we will become much more valuable in the Lord's work as we serve other people.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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