Where do you go for advice?
A family member?
I guess it really depends on what kind advice you need. It’s natural to go to someone who is familiar with the situation that you need advice about.
I’m thankful for family, friends, counselors, doctors, and many others who have helped me through situations in my life. They have provided answers, ideas, and medical help that have truly made a difference in my life.
But, as I’ve been reading through Matthew 16, I am beginning to reconsider who I go to for advice.
From the Pharisees knowing how to interpret the weather signs, but not understanding what God was doing in their midst, to the disciples thinking they needed to be careful of the bread the Pharisees ate, not realizing it was about their false teachings, and Peter hearing the truth from God one moment, but then responding from his own feelings and emotions the next moment; it seems it comes natural to respond from our own understanding. To respond to situations from a human view point.
Jesus made it very clear in Matthew 16:22 that Peter’s response was not based on good advice.
Advice given from a human point of view will hinder the work of God.
How often have I given advice to others from my own understanding. How often have I spoken from a view point that wanted to protect others and wanted to help them, when I was actually hindering the work God wanted to do in their lives?
Jesus was telling His disciples that He needed to suffer, die, and be raised again. It wasn’t a good plan, but it was a necessary plan.
Jesus went on to teach them a lesson from the example He was going to experience Himself.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:24-26
Like Peter, we view life situations through our feelings and emotions. We look to others who feel the same way we do and ask for their advice. We go to those who have studied what we are going through and expect them to be able to give us answers. We look out for our own well-being and success by searching out all we can and applying it to our lives. With the internet there is so much we can figure out for ourselves. There is so much knowledge available to us.
Is all that knowledge and advice helping us to handle life situations better?
Is the counsel we receive resolving relational issues?
Are we less stressed and healthier?
If anything, the more information, advice, and counsel the world has to offer only makes us more confused, adds more strain to relationships, and increases stress.
I believe there is a lesson tucked into these verses that Jesus told His disciples.
Jesus was demonstrating the importance of not trying to save your own life.
Though Jesus was about to face something very difficult, He knew His heavenly Father loved Him very much and no matter what He faced He could trust His Father had a good plan and would take care of Him.
God’s view point was what mattered!
Trust in God’s view point enables you to give up your own way.
Peter’s response is what many do today. When we see a difficult situation we try to save our lives. We try to escape all the things in our lives that we don’t like. We ask others for advice and answers to fix our problems.
But, what if trying to avoid situations, or looking for advice to fix our problems are “our own way” that Jesus tells us to give up? What if all our searching and running after answers is what Jesus calls, “hanging onto your own life”? What if we spend our lives trusting in the answers the world gives only to find we have lost our lives, and our souls?
Sometimes I think we forget who we are. We say we are Christians, but are we really living like Christ?
Because we have been created in God’s image to be loved by Him we can trust that He understands the situations we face better than we ever could, and that He has the best advice available!
As God’s precious children, we have a relationship with the One who knows us perfectly, who never leaves us or forsakes us, and who promises to provide everything we need!
As a member of God’s family we have access to our heavenly Father who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above, and beyond what we could ever think or imagine!
Why would we rely only on people whose understanding is limited to their experiences and by their human point of view when we have access to One who says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Why would we spend hours on the internet to find answers and neglect the answers we can find in the truth of God’s word?
Corrie Ten Boom, in her book, The Hiding Place, wrote of the way her father handled fixing a watch he didn’t know how to fix. He would pray and ask God to show him how to fix it and then he went to bed, and during his sleep God would show him in a dream how to fix the watch!
This is the same God we serve!
Do we give God a chance to give us advice?
Do we trust that He knows what is best for us and choose to listen to His voice only?
Are we patient enough to wait for Him to answer us?
Do we like to spend time alone with Him and are we willing to receive His answer even if it isn’t what we want or expect?
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus cried out three times begging His Father to find another way. He didn’t get the answer He wanted. Jesus could have called ten thousand angels to save His life, but He chose to submit to His Father’s will and for the joy set before Him He endured the cross.
Like God’s response to Jesus’ plea in the Garden, it seems God rarely takes us out of a situation. He rarely gives us instructions of how to make the situation go away. But, instead, He often shows us the attitude of our hearts that needs to be realigned to His will and as we die to our selves, we find He gives us the grace and the strength to endure the difficult situation and come through it better than we were before.
Jesus calls you to follow Him…
Jesus wants you to trust His advice…
because there is nothing worth more than saving your soul!