Giving advice comes naturally for me. In fact, I’m so good at it sometimes that those receiving the advice don’t have to say much at all. What I’ve noticed, though, is a serious lack of following of my advice.
Lack of follow-through happens because my advice too often comes from me and not Christ. Sure, it may contain knowledge, but it lacks wisdom.
The key to giving advice that truly teaches and counsels others involves first letting Christ’s words dwell within us, making us wise. In other words, an internal work must take place before external works have value. That internal work happens when Christ’s words don’t simply exist in us but when they instead dwell in us.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” (Colossians 3:16)
This word “dwell” means to “have its home” as a master instead of a servant. “Richly” involves having a master that keeps a good house with an influence that isn’t just a presence but on with a direct and consistent impact on conduct in every part of life.
Christ’s wisdom must rule our own hearts before what we say truly has life. In other words, knowledge must be self-applied and guiding our own lives in love lived out in every part of life as we are clothed with a brand-new nature (Colossians 3:9-10).
I need wisdom dwelling within me in order to have good relationships. More specifically, I need Godly wisdom that:
- Begins with fear of God (Proverbs 1:7)
- Means accepting wise advice (Proverbs 13:10)
- Boasts in God (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
- Understands God’s ways (Hosea 14:9)
- Follows God’s guidance (Hosea 14:9)
- Builds on God and his word (Matthew 1:24-27)
- Is different from the world’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1-16)
- Is always given when asked for (James 1:5)
Without wisdom, I’m not sure what to say to a friend contemplating divorce or to someone frozen by fear. Without wisdom, I don’t know how to help my boys have good relationships and overcome temptation.
Without Godly wisdom, my focus falls to my selfish desires because that’s what the world shapes in me. Without his wisdom, my inner atmosphere shuts itself off protectively against hurt, struggle, and control.
Wisdom built on Christ, through His words and example, unites me with him. This wisdom, when it dwells within me as my master instead of my servant, guides and directs the affairs of my heart and how I live out love.
As my life lives in the wisdom of God’s Word and as it dwells within and directs my heart, only then does my advice have eternal value. Only then can words of teaching (i.e., the imparting of skill and giving of instruction) and any admonition (i.e., words of caution or even scolding) combine with New Nature Relationships to add value to the kingdom of God.