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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Do I act or not?

"He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other."
(Francis Bacon)

Good advice comes from various sources - sometimes the wise words of a cherished friend, at others a discovered truth from God's Word, and at times it even comes from those we might not think to really have had much influence in our lives until we look back and see their fingerprints in what has become our "molded character". Many times advice is sought, but there are also times when it is offered without anyone asking for it. In those moments, it can be listened to, heeded, and result in some type of impact in our lives. It can also be ignored, not acted upon, and result in an even bigger impact. The key isn't that we acted or didn't act - it is in discerning which was the advice we were to heed and which it was we were to ignore!

The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path. (Psalm 37:30-31 NLT)

We tend to rely upon advice oftentimes more than we might realize. We listen into the news in the morning before we make our daily commute into work, seeking the advice of the reporter assigned to monitor the condition of the roadways and the flow of traffic. Our goal was to get some advice on the things to avoid. We take in the talk at the lunchroom table about what movies our friends went to see this past weekend, only to form an opinion of the ones we might want to see and those we won't waste our money to view. We share our frustrations with other parents over the issues we are having with a teenager who is forging a path we don't want them to go down, in hopes we might get some glimmer of hope the teen can be dissuaded from their pursuit. Advice is sought, given, gleaned, casually "put out there", and even "caught" in the most common of occurrences and daily exercises.

What we do with the advice we receive is quite a different matter - for it may be easily embraced and quickly acted upon, or it may be forcefully rejected and labeled as "bad advice". We tend to embrace that which "makes sense" or gives us some element of hope. We tend to reject that which either seems to monumentally "out there" to ever "work for us", or is just not "adding up" to what we wanted to hear. No advice is as solid and worthy of our attention as that which lived out in the lives of those who render it - for the example behind the words is the best judge of whether that advice, once heeded, will produce the results we might have hoped for! Just sayin!