One Day at a Time Devotional
Oftentimes as a parent, I have sent many messages or instructions through one of my children to another child. The conversation may sound like this, “Charity, tell Carissa to clean up her room.” Of course, while sitting in the living room downstairs, I hear Carissa bellowing defiantly from upstairs, “Who says?” In response, Charity says, “Momma says!” This in return receives an answer, “Okay.” It is amazing how just the right name of authority with the message makes a difference in that child’s response.
Now, let’s place ourselves in a similar scenario. The preacher, teacher, counsellor, spouse, parent or other scriptural authority says, “don’t lie”, “obey your parents”, ”submit to your husbands”, “don’t gossip”, “follow the speed limit”, “love one another”, “don’t be lazy”, “ don’t get offended”, “ there’s only one way to Heaven”, “tithe” ,”be baptized” , “go to church”, “listen to your boss” and the list goes on. Do you ask, “Who says?” Let’s suppose the answer is, “God says.” What is your response, is it “Okay” or is it “No way.”
In the beginning of I Thessalonians, the preacher, Paul, thanks God for how the church at Thessalonica responded to the Word of God. He says, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” When you are given the Word of God through a scriptural authority, how do you respond? Is it “Okay” or “No way?”
Perhaps you say, “Well, this person is always telling me what to do”, “This rule doesn’t apply to me”, “They just don’t understand”, “It’ll never work”, “God doesn’t love me”, “They don’t really care”, “I’ve tried it before, but I didn’t get the results I was looking for”, “They only told me to do this because someone has been talking about me” or “They’re controlling”. Maybe, you can add more of your own responses.
So, how do you know if you should follow the counsel or instruction given to you?
1. Is it in the Bible? Is God the true messenger? One person, said it this way, “If the Bible says it, I believe it.” It is all about your faith in the truth of the Word of God. Romans 3:4a “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;”
2. Are they a God-given authority? God is clear throughout Scripture concerning our response and submission to those placed in authority over us. See just a few passages in Scripture on this topic; Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 5:22, 24, 25, 6:1, 6-7, Colossians 3:18-20, I Peter 3:1, 7.
3. Their reasons behind giving you counsel? Are they trying to deceive you? Is it for the wrong purpose? Is it to trick you? Do they have selfish motives? Are they trying to gain something from you? Or is to help you? “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:” I Thessalonians 2:3.
4. Are they just trying to tell you what you want to hear, use flattery or is it counsel that has been prayed over and taken from the Word of God? Some will say anything to eliminate the hassle of your difficult circumstance, in other words, to get rid of you and your problems, but others are willing to help. What is their motive? I Thessalonians 2:4, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
5. What is their testimony? How have they lived and how are they living now? Are they trustworthy? Does their life exemplify Christ or self? I Thessalonians 2:7-11 “10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:”
6. Are they encouraging you to have a closer walk with God or are they pulling you away from Him? I Thessalonians 2: 12 “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”
We all receive advice and counsel in our lives, but it is up to us to make the decision to follow or reject that advice. The next time you are sitting in church, speaking with a family member, or instructed by a boss. Don’t refuse to heed their counsel, ask yourself these questions above, pray about it and decide that if it falls in the guidelines given in Scripture, you will follow that counsel. Ask yourself, “Who says?” If it’s biblical, then God is the True Messenger and the answer should be “Okay, God”.
Brandy Suri &
One Day at a Time Devotional,
a ministry of Riverview Baptist Church