Generally speaking, people are not excited about being told what to do. This is probably one of the greatest reasons why the world rejects the Bible and the ways of God. In fact, it’s rare to find anyone that is excited about taking advice, even good advice. Think about yourself for a moment. How often do you read God’s Word or hear a message and come away saying, “that’s a great idea and I am going to incorporate and apply this truth into my life!” When it comes to wise people trying to give us counsel, I suggest we at least listen because when we consider the strengths and expertise of others, we are being given an excellent opportunity to glean wisdom. When is the last time you heard someone say they hate being wise and are trying to avoid success? Being a stubborn know-it-all reveals our arrogance and many times will end up with us struggling to climb our mountain when we could have taken the chair lift.
There have been many times where I have simply acknowledged that I do not know what to do and I admit that I do not particularly enjoy being in these places. As I have said in the past, it would be wonderful if God would meet us at the kitchen table each morning and we could go over the day while drinking our coffee but that would just be too easy. It’s important to have devotions every day, but I am sure you have noticed that much of the time we are doing all the talking? Speaking of prayer, when we are facing critical situations and really need a definite answer, it’s common to feel like our requests are going no higher than the ceiling. Why? Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that God is listening to every word. Just because it does not seem like we are getting through does not mean the Lord is too busy to deal with us or not interested – He is. The bad news is that this silent treatment could be the result of our own doing. There is an encouraging passage in Isaiah chapter fifty-nine and verse one that declares, “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that He cannot hear.” This was a message to God’s people explaining why they had not received the miracles they were desperately needing and the next verse reveals the true problem. Come to find out, it was not a power shortage on God’s part but rather their sin had locked the windows of Heaven. This is a hard lesson but God is not a Jeanie who lives in a magic lamp and stands ready to grant our wishes. He is the Sovereign Almighty Creator that operates according to His perfect will and conditions associated with our obedience.
There is usually no shortage of advice as parents, teachers, family, and friends are trying to help, but ultimately, the person who is in charge of making decisions is you. Sincerely ask God to speak into your life and He will be happy to guide your life. Our world is filled with distractions so try spending time in the stillness of solitude as this can make it easier to hear His still small voice. I’m sure that others are sincere and have good intentions but it’s more profitable to draw near to God so that we can understand our destiny straight from the source. Proverbs chapter three and verse five says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” This is a loving warning which graciously explains how to avoid depending and following our own ideas. Much more than earthly advice is the spiritual reality of God’s desire to speak to us and I believe we can agree that His voice is the most important of them all. I’ve often thought about how difficult it is to hear someone whisper when they are down the street and the logical way to hear more clearly is to minimize the distance. James 4:8 invites us to approach God and promises if we will come toward Him, we will be able to communicate and comprehend who He is and what He wants us to do. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
Dr. Holland is a Christian minister, author, and community outreach chaplain. To read more articles and stories or to request a free copy of his new CD at: billyhollandministries.com
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