The world is currently full of advice. There thousands upon thousands of articles, podcasts, posts, lectures and blogs like this one out there to help you in life. They touch on every topic under the sun for every person on the globe.
The Bible affirms that we need lots of good advice. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.” (NIV) Advisors and their advice are inherently good, but not always correct.
Recently I was reading an article about youth sports. At first glance, it sounded like good advice, but upon further investigation, it had an unbiblical note to it that I just couldn’t shake. I dug a little deeper to find out the author was not a Christian and appeared to have only one child. Suddenly, the advice sounded different to me. A red flag went up, and a few words of advice on advice came to mind for anyone who calls themselves a follower of God.
1. Always Consider the Source. Please, please, never read an article and accept it at face value. I notice that on my blog one of the most popular posts is my “About Me” section. People want to know who I am and part of my story. That is great. I wish more people researched who was speaking to their lives.
2. Ask if the Author is a Christian. To me, this is a defining moment. As a follower of Jesus, I want to know what other people on this journey think. Sure, almost everyone has some agenda in their words (including me), but I want it to be a Christian agenda. Do the words connect with Scripture concepts in any way? Do they seek to glorify God in some way? Big questions.
3. Find Out About Their Journey. Recently I received some advice from a woman about marriage. My issue was that I discovered that it came from a lady who was now in her fourth marriage. Yes, she had been married her whole adult life but to four different men. Her years of marriage experience was really just a few years repeated four times, and not to sound arrogant, that is entirely different from my 23 years to my one wife. I believe she was well-intentioned and had good insights, but I took it with a grain of salt so to speak.
4. Find out if They are Ahead of You in Life. One of the problems I had with the article about youth sports was that it was written by a young, first time parent. The advice sounded like something I would have said ten years ago. Now my children are grown, and I see it differently. I would plead with you to seek the counsel of people who are where you want to go on your journey, not those standing beside you. There is an enormous amount of wisdom in years of experience.
5. Think for Yourself. My professor used to say, “I milk a lot of cows, but I make my own butter.” His principle was simple. Get all the info you can about life, then make your way. Never take advice from another person’s journey completely. Each person has a different road to walk. Pray for wisdom. Test theories. In the end, walk your own path and use the brain God gave you.
Unfortunately, for every piece of good advice I hear or read, there are three pieces of bad counsel from a Christian perspective. Use your head, ask questions, and allow God to guide you with the wisdom of others. Just make sure it is wisdom and not foolishness.