In 1 Kings 12, Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king. The people asked him to lighten the load that his father had put on them. He asked for time to talk to advisors and would answer. He went to his father’s advisors first. They agreed he should lighten the load so the people would be loyal. Then he went to his friends who were younger. They advised him to make things harder. He rejected the advice of the older people, and the nation revolted. The kingdom split in two and he only ruled a small portion of Israel.
We all need advice from time to time, even Solomon did. Who we listen to determines how life is going to go for us. Good advisors don’t just tell us what we want to hear. They give us wisdom and see things we can’t. The best advisors are people who are older than us because they’ve been down the road and know where the road bumps are. Ultimately, every decision we make is ours, and we have to bear the responsibility for those choices. So when you’re looking for advice, lay down your pride and get it from people who are wiser than you.
Here are some verses on getting advice.
1. Sensible people accept good advice. People who talk foolishly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 10:8 GNT
2. People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.
Proverbs 13:13 NLT
3. Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they are established and succeed.
PROVERBS 15:22 AMP
4. Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.
Proverbs 12:15 MSG
5. Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
Proverbs 13:10 NLT
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I grew up seeing things very black and white. I believed I had a firm grasp on all the rules in the Bible. The way I interpreted those rules was simple, if you broke any of them, you were going straight to Hell. There was no room for mercy or grace in my mind because those things don’t follow the rules very well. They aren’t easily definable and didn’t fit into my black and white world. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to make room for those in my mind and in my life. The more I looked at the things Jesus did, the more I saw that He wasn’t about the rules as much as the Pharisees were.
One of the stories that helps me to see differently is in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus was teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. There was a woman listening who had arthritis so bad that her body was twisted and she couldn’t look up. Jesus saw her, laid hands on her and healed her. The head person was furious with Jesus. He said, “Six days have been defined as work days. Come on one of the six if you want to be healed, but not on the seventh, the Sabbath.” But Jesus shot back, “You frauds! Each Sabbath every one of you regularly unties your cow or donkey from its stall, leads it out for water, and thinks nothing of it. So why isn’t it all right for me to untie this daughter of Abraham and lead her from the stall where Satan has had her tied these eighteen years?” (MSG).
Jesus was telling them and us that it’s not just about the rules. We’ve got to have compassion, mercy, love and grace too. As I said, those don’t always fit into our predefined understanding of the rules, but Jesus constantly showed us that those things trumped the rules we try to force people to live by. Jesus was constantly at odds with the legalism of the Jewish leaders and did things like this to help open their eyes to what God really wants from us. A life led by God’s love for others will always yield more fruit than one bound by legalistic thinking. Yes, we need the rules, but without compassion we miss the point.
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If you’ve ever read through the books of Kings or Chronicles, then you know it’s the stories of the Kings of Israel. A lot of it is this king did what was right in God’s eyes or this king did not do what was right. One of the Kings who did what was right was Hezekiah. He cleaned out the Temple, purified it and began to have the people live God’s way again. A few verses later, an undefeated army started besieging towns, then turned their eyes to Jerusalem. Instead of panicking, he prepared for war and made things difficult for the opposing army. That’s when they sent a message to Hezekiah and Israel to try to win psychologically.
The message said things like, “Why would you have confidence when I’m the one attacking? Don’t you know I’m undefeated? Your king is lying to you giving you false hope. The gods of other nations couldn’t stop me, your God can’t either. Give up now. Why delay the inevitable?” Hezekiah countered to his people in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 by saying, “Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles” (GNT). God fought for Israel and sent that army home in shame.
I tell you that story because many times our enemy comes against us psychologically telling us we’re not good enough, God doesn’t love us, it’s easier to just quit, we will never find happiness, we’re all alone, etc. He tells us enough so that he can change how we feel about God and affect our behaviors, but those are lies. Greater is He that is in you. He can and will fight off our enemy when we call on Him and are determined to trust Him no matter what everything appears to look like. Put God’s Word in your mind. Know who you are in Christ and you will be able to win the victory.
The above picture was drawn by my friend Becky Woods. You can purchase prints of it here.
When I went through a devastating time several years ago, friends and family wanted to comfort me. Many offered up some phrases to try to help me. One was, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Another was, “Time heals all wounds.” My heart was broken and I was devastated. I couldn’t see past my pain to believe that one. Then, as time went on, things would trigger my pain and it would be as raw as it was before. I found that time didn’t heal my wounds, it simply helped to cover them up. At any given moment, I was susceptible to the wound being reopened and feeling it all over again.
Several years later, God spoke to me through an evangelist’s message that I needed to reopen the wound so that God could heal it. God then peeled back the layers that time had put over it. God began to do the work that had needed to be done. He brought about the healing that I needed. Psalms 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]” (AMP). I found that it’s God who heals all wounds, not time.
Every one of us have hidden pain that we’ve let time cover up. We believed the myth that time heals all wounds and we’re walking time bombs until we allow God to come in and bring the healing. The healing starts with a prayer asking God to come and heal the brokenness in you. It may require opening those wounds up again and sorting them out with Him. I’ve learned that when God brings healing, He doesn’t cover up the scars or make them go away. He then uses them to bring healing to other people.
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Life is full of opportunities where it seems easier to just give up. Despite what you see on social media, everyone had challenges and things they face that push them to their limit. We all have a white flag of surrender that’s just itching to come out in certain situations, but there are no rewards in giving up. There is no growth in quitting. Proverbs reminds us that no matter how many times you and I get knocked down, we are to get back up. We must purpose in our hearts that we won’t be defeated and that we won’t give up or we’ll take the easy way out when it shows up.
Most of the time, our breakthrough is just beyond the point where we want to give up. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. It requires us to hang in there and stay engaged. As Ephesians 6 put it, after we’ve done everything, we should at least still be standing. When we continue to stand despite the set backs, despite the sucker punches, despite the news we receive, God honors that. Giving up is admitting defeat, but you and I fight from a place of victory that’s already been won.
Here are some verses on not giving up.
1. Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect GOD to get here soon.
Psalm 31:24 MSG
2. Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up.
Hebrews 12:3 GNT
3. Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart.
LUKE 18:1 AMP
4. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9 NLT
5. They were trying to intimidate us into quitting. They thought, “They’ll give up; they’ll never finish it.” I prayed, “Give me strength.”
Nehemiah 6:9 MSG
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