Monday, January 14, 2008

receiving and giving advice

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice.

Proverbs 27:9

It is wonderful to have people who care and are able to give good advice. I have experienced this here and there at important times, and continue to do so. And I want to be available to so help others.

I want to say here that it's all about relationship and loving others as God in Christ has called us to do. This proverb is quite interesting in expressing what makes a friend pleasant. It's when that friend really cares and takes the time to give advice in godly counsel.

Notice Paul's words in his letter to the Roman Christians:

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Romans 15:14

We need to have faith both to give and to receive words of wisdom to help each other. Of course to be "full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another" is not something that is automatically true for all of us in Christ. I believe Paul was expressing confidence in the believers at Rome. And that this is for all of us in Jesus. But that it takes some living in the way of the Lord, along with learning in an apprenticeship kind of way. We learn from others who are living this out, and through them from the Lord.

We are to become followers of Jesus, but we learn to do that by following others who are followers of Jesus. This is a way of life that is cross-formed and like Jesus. As we learn to live this out more and more in our real lives, we will begin to be enabled to give heartfelt advice and wise counsel to others, based on God's revelation from Scripture and in Jesus. Just as I have received excellent counsel from others, particularly from one person recently. This person is gifted in counseling and is a blessing to a good number of people. But in a general sense we're to be present for each other in this, ready to both receive and give.

And as we do, it is pleasant indeed!

What might you add here?

9 comments:

The Walk said...

As so often happens, you seem to have hit me right where I'm at.

I don't like asking for advice. Lately, though, I think I've finally started overcoming my fear of asking for help. Oddly, though, I've noticed I can ask for advice but won't listen when it's given! Perhaps my ears don't quite connect to my brain...

Ted M. Gossard said...

The Walk,
You posted before the time I sent it! Actually I sent it UK time, so I say, and tis' true!

We need discernment when others give us advice to sort out what might not be helpful. But I also think we need to find a godly, reliable counselor whose counsel is with reference to Scripture- I would say to God's revealed will found in Scripture and in our Lord- and we need to prayerfully seek to apply everything they tell us.

If we question something they tell us, we should ask them about that. It may come from a misunderstanding they have about what we've told them, or just as likely, we may need a little further explanation to help us see the wisdom and point which they are making.

I think a key is to take it to heart, prayerfully. Question if we like, is a part of that. And the Biblical word translated "hear" in the Old Testament has within it the meaning of obeying. So we need to act in faith in God's word, on the counsel we receive. I find for myself, that is where change in my life really begins to take place.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Your post made me think of this scripture:

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Pr 17:6

NaNcY said...

good advice! :-)

Ted M. Gossard said...

halfmom, Susan,
So very true- of course!

If we want to be in, and live in "the way of the Lord" we're going to have to accept correction along the way.

I really appreciate the counselor I mention in the post, because in kindness they don't hold back from telling me the truth, and that's not exactly easy to hear. But that's what I need.

And doesn't the word of God do the same for us? As numerous of the Proverbs, Psalm 119 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 remind us, along with other Scripture, rebuke and reproof are needed and therefore given to us, so that we will grow up in our salvation and into maturity in Christ.

Of course I know you know that! Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Nancy.

Ted M. Gossard said...

....well, maybe not so much Psalm 119, but it is refreshing the love the psalmist has for God's word. And part of that refreshing certainly comes through the rebuke and correction in it, we need!

preacherman said...

Ted,
I want to say that this is one of the best post you've done. I think it is important on who we recieve advice from and be slow in give advice to others. I believe as Christians we should ask God before giving advice. He will give us the answer given in His word then we can direct people to the word of truth. God's word answers advice from having sex before marriage, taking drugs, getting a tatoo, self-mutilation, divorce-and remarriage, pre-counceling, his feeling on homosexuality, job situations and more.... The Bible is full of God wisdom and how God feels about about a million topics that are relavent for today. Are we ready to recieve and give advice frome I AM? That is the question?

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Thanks.

Yes it's our goal to be true to Scripture and that isn't always easy. Though I think on most issues, and especially on salvation, it is pretty straightforward.

I just think there's a dynamic in Scripture that wants us to be in interactive relationship with God and in relationship with others, in working out God's will in our lives. I believe that means we need to listen alot, while not hedging from revealed truth, yet seeking to apply it with much grace- full of grace and seasoned with salt. A challenge for us all! (and I guess I'm thinking more of speaking or conversing with an unbeliever- though your comment would apply either way-- i.e., to believers or nonbelievers)