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The Dangers of Getting “Good Advice”


When you have an important decision to make, to whom do you go for wise, godly counsel?

Years ago, a pastor I knew called me to ask my advice about what kind of car he should drive.  I was immediately curious about why he would call me, because although I drive very nice cars, I’m not a “car guy.”  I know nothing about engine sizes, suspensions and performance – nothing!

So here was his question; “I’m thinking about buying a Volvo.  But I’m concerned about how that might look to the people in my church that their pastor is driving a relatively expensive car.  What do you think?

Well, here’s what I was thinking: This guy knows full well I drive a much better car than a Volvo, so of course I’m not going to lecture him about driving pricey cars.  He called me because I was safe.

That’s one of the dangers of getting advice from others.  We tend to seek out the people who are likely to give us the answers we want. If you’re a guy and were thinking about buying a motorcycle, you’d probably not first discuss it with your wife.  You’d first throw the idea out to your buddies.  “What do you think guys?”  Of course you know what they think!  Their only question would be, what model and color?

As an elder and spiritual mentor for over 30 years, I’ve noticed that men thinking about getting a divorce, often go to Christian, but unspiritual men who’ve left their own families for “counsel.”  Then they read books like, How Your Children Can Thrive Through Divorce!  They rarely go first to the most godly people in their life for advice.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  2 Timothy 4:3

When people come to me for advice, I almost always ask this question, “what do you think God wants based on everything you know about him from scripture?”  I’ve noticed, if they’ve made a decision they’re reasonably certain God does not want, there’s a moment of hesitation before they answer and they’ll often say, “I don’t know.”  That means they do know, but just don’t want to do it.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  Psalm 32:8

Getting good counsel Another pastor friend of mine once gave me this great advice.  He went before the Lord and asked him for the names of three people in his life he most respected, spiritually.  He’s written their name in the front of his Bible.  He’ll make no important decision that has moral or spiritual implications without serious prayer and without their counsel.

“Clare as a pastor I see too many Christians making sinful or unwise decisions, contrary to the Bible, by getting second opinions from ungodly people.  Somehow they think God’s word can be trumped by counsel of an unspiritual golfing buddy.  It’s incredible!”

So what about you?  Do you recognize your tendency to get advice from safe sources?  I’ll admit it, it’s dangerous to go to spiritually mature people for advice.  They may, “put a stick in your spokes,” ask tough questions and say things you don’t want to hear.  But in the end, if you’re wise enough to seek out godly counsel and really value it, you’ll live a life that truly pleases God!

So who are the three people you most respect spiritually?

How following Jesus works in real life.

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