God, the ultimate advice columnist
By Jessica Brodie
“What do you think? What should I do?”
In my teens and far into my twenties, those words always seemed to be on my lips. After all, I was trying to navigate the world the best I could without a road map, and to my young mind, these other more centered, more knowledgeable, more “with it” people surely had the answers.
I got some great advice over the years—and also some horrible wisdom. These were just people I was talking to, after all. They were people just like me, all of them stumbling through the world the only way they knew how. Those I judged to be worthy of advice-giving were usually the confident, the seemingly successful, the contented. But in truth, I didn’t stop to wonder about their faith journey or whether they were Christ-followers. I didn’t look at the way they were living their lives or what path they were on. I just looked at the surface.
It was a frustrating exercise, me all clamoring and struggling and clutching onto often-empty advice. In my heart, I think I knew it was futile, which is why I usually didn’t stop at seeking advice from one single person—I kept asking all sorts of people, like someone would have the magic answer and my heart would call out “Aha!” and the issue would resolve.
Now, I seek advice from the Lord and wisdom from His Word. When I struggle, I pray. I cry out for God. I open my Bible and hunt for His answers in the Gospel, in the psalms, in the prophets and the proverbs.
And it’s made all the difference.
In the very first psalm, the author writes, “The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice, doesn’t stand on the road of sinners, and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful. Instead of doing these things, these persons love the Lord’s Instructions, and they recite God’s Instruction day and night! They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don’t fade. Whatever they do succeeds” (Psalm 1:1-3 CEB).
That’s the difference. Back then, I didn’t have enough discernment to know what was wicked or not. I didn’t pay a bit of attention to whether these advice-givers were on the road of sinners. Even if I had, who’s to say I would have known the truth? We cannot accurately judge a person based on the image they present to the world. I might have called myself a Christian back then, but why was I following the words of others rather than following the example, the knowledge, and the words of Christ?
As the psalmist wrote, the truly happy person loves the Lord’s advice.
That’s the only advice worth seeking.