Have you ever been tempted to purposefully give bad advise?
Imagine this scenario:
A friend tells us she’s had an argument with another one of her friends. We know we should encourage her to work things out with her other friend, but when she asks for advice on how to handle the situation we do the opposite.
Why would we do such a thing? Because we’re jealous of their relationship. And in a moment of weakness, we allowed our jealousy to influence our actions.
“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:18 ESV
What’s in our hearts will eventually make its way out of our mouths. The condition of our heart impacts our thoughts and attitudes towards things. If sin is lurking in our hearts, it can—and will if we don’t do something about it—influence our motives and the advice we give.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV
The council we give has the power to promote peace or cause disunity. When offering our advice, we need to make sure our reasons for giving it are honorable. Our goal when giving advice should be to build up one another, encourage unity, and lead others towards peace.
Step Back & Examine Your Motives
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.” Psalm 26:2 NLT
How can we be sure our advice will promote peace?
First, we need to examine our motives. Are they pure and trustworthy or have they been tainted by anger, jealousy, and judgment? Do we want what’s best for everyone involved or could it be that we’re seeking our own selfish desires? Will our words encourage peace or create conflict?
To do this, we’ll need to ask the Lord to reveal the purpose behind our motives. Spending time in prayer will help us better understand them. If we find that our motives have been contaminated by sin, it’s best to remain silent. We shouldn’t offer our advice or opinions unless we can do it with a clean heart. Advice that is motivated by sin will not encourage peace. We must first let God deal with the sin in our own hearts before we can proceed with giving advice.
Seek Wisdom & Proceed with Caution
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV
Even if we find that our intentions are prompted by love and mutual edification, we still need to seek God’s wisdom on how and when to proceed. We don’t want to carelessly give out our advice; a good word said in the wrong way or given at an inappropriate time could potentially do more harm than good. We want our advice to be delivered in a way that produces peaceful results. Before we offer our advice let’s make sure our motives are pure, and that we’ve sought God’s wisdom on how and when to give it.
Lord, I praise you for your wisdom and guidance. Lord, I want to offer advice that will encourage unity and lead others towards peace. Create a pure heart in me, Lord (Psalm 51:10). Help me to keep silent when I’m tempted to give ungodly advice until I can do it with a clean heart. Thank you for your mercy and kindness. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!
Is this your first time here? I invite you to join us as we dig in to learn more about the Fruits of the Spirit. This post is a part of my current series, Sweet Smelling Fruit—Cultivating a Heart that Lives by the Spirit. Currently, we have been taking a look at the Fruit of Peace. If you would like to read past articles from this series click here.
This concludes our study on the Fruit of Peace. Next, we’ll take a look at the Fruit of love and wrap up our study on the Fruits of the Spirit.
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Thank you for joining me today. ~Kelly