“Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes… but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Proverb 1:30-33
Are you the kind of person who likes to dole out advice? According to an article in Psychology Today, research tells us that whenever a person tells us what to do and how to do it, we respond with defensive defiance because we want to maximize our personal freedom and decision-making. And in another study about giving advice, it indicates that, even if you’re not actively out to take the reins over others, giving advice can make you feel like you have some sway, which helps you feel more powerful.
So here you have two polarizing human actions. The need to have some, a little or maybe even a lot of power over people’s decision making coupled with a defiant audience wanting to, as toddlers so often say, “do it myself!” Is it any wonder that the entire first chapter in God’s book of wisdom, Proverbs, focuses on the challenges and pitfalls of ignoring God’s advice? We humans want so often to go it alone. We buck and itch at someone telling us how to do it better or different – even when we can see they are correct. Our sinful nature seeks immediacy, comfort and pleasure. Yet, God’s Word can sometimes ask us to do the exact opposite.
Here’s a secret about God. He doesn’t need to feel more powerful. He is all-powerful already. He doesn’t need you to listen to Him. He can do just fine without you or me. You will eventually experience any consequences of ignoring Him all on your own. He doesn’t have any other motivation in giving advice than this one thing: He loves you immensely. He won’t be a “stage mom.” He’s not pushy and obnoxious. He simply lays out a very clear path to make living this temporary life in this broken world as best possible.
So friend, while you may spurn the advice of others because you are unsure of their motivations I encourage you to embrace His wisdom. We can be assured of His motivation. He loves you so much that He wants you to live a good life with eyes toward His eternal kingdom.
Lord, help me not to turn my ears from your Words. I want to soak up your advice and live out a life full of your wisdom. Amen