“If you have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s as though you were still under the world’s influence. People will tell you, ‘Don’t handle this! Don’t taste or touch that!’ … These things look like wisdom with their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body. But they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt nature” – Colossians 2:20-21, 23 (God’s Word Translation)
People do tell us how to live, and we get all sorts of advice – most of it intended to make us the best we can be. “Keep away from that church! You’ve been brainwashed” might be said by someone who sees you’re changing and wants the old you back because to them, the old you was better, but if you know those changes are doing you good, you’ll probably choose to stay where you are. A friend who struggled to control his drinking told some of us that when he saw Christians drinking alcohol, he felt they wouldn’t understand his problem, and that made me think about what was more important; having a vodka in my hand or being approachable? People might come to different conclusions about that, and I can see both sides – wanting the freedom to enjoy things in moderation, and yet not wanting to trip somebody else up. You could go round in circles, tying yourself in knots about things, but that won’t do you a lot of good, so how do you decide?
Probably the best advice I can give is from the chapter I’ll be reading tomorrow: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” – Colossians 3:15. In the end, these things have to be between you and God. If you want to follow Him, God will show you His plan for your life by the peace He puts in your heart, and He’ll get you through it even when others don’t understand.
It has been suggested that perhaps I’m unteachable, or I don’t take on people’s opinions when they’re honest with me. I hope I don’t come across as arrogant! It’s not that I don’t value people’s advice; I do, and sometimes I take it, but not always. When I stand before Jesus, I won’t have anyone else to answer to for the way I’ve lived my life. It’ll be Him, and Him alone.
Have you been given any advice lately? Maybe you’ve handed some out. I’m here for a chat if you want one.