We all have thoughts and feelings. It’s called being human. And because we‘re human, our thoughts and feelings more often than not take form in opinions.
People have opinions on what kinds of foods are best, what qualities are needed for a healthy relationship, what cities are the best to visit or live in—if it exists, opinions exist about it.
But a major problem I’ve observed is that sometimes people confuse opinions for gospel truth.
Its good to consider wise council and the thoughts of our closest friends and family, Biblical even. Still, unless our measure for truth comes from the One who’s name is Truth, we’re going to get so confused and frustrated with the reality that’s being handed to us. Eventually, it leads to an inability to separate ourselves—our own mind, will, and emotions, our very soul—from everyone else’s.
If it’s wisdom we’re after, we won’t find it in opinions.
James says it like this.
“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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” —James 1:5-8 NIV
In other words, where is your pipeline? Who do you go to first for wisdom—God who created you AND the cosmos, or the humans who are flesh and blood and just as liable to error as you?
Don’t get me wrong here. It’s good to consult the ones we trust. But they aren’t our source. They’re people who need grace just like you and me.
If we’ve all fallen short and need God, then wouldn’t it make more sense to get our answers from Him first and then talk to people? People should never replace or come before the voice of God in the secret place where it’s just us and Yahweh.
On the other side of the same coin, God gave us people to walk this journey with us, to speak into our lives and help us clearly define what the will of God is. And here, it’s important to define good advice from bad (which takes you right back to God’s voice directly speaking to us).
There’s a story in the Old Testament about a young king, Rehoboam. The Israelites came to him asking him to make their workload lighter as his father was harsh and overworked and taxed them. He asked the elders what to do. Their advice was to lighten the load of the people, and in turn the people’s loyalty would be his. When he asked his punk friends what to do, they told him to be a real tyrant about it, make the work load way heavier.
Kings 12 tells us that these guys grew up with Rehoboam. They weren’t some bad crowd he’d gotten caught up with in sophomore year. They’d known each other their whole lives while the elders were probably the ones scolding them for causing a ruckus as children.
Rehoboam listened to his friends, and he lost the love and loyalty of all but the tribe of Judah. They went to live in tents and killed anyone sent out to enforce labor.
Now, if you compare Rehoboam to Solomon, you’ll see one main difference: Solomon went to God for wisdom. And now, Solomon’s gone down in history as the wisest king. Truth and wisdom that will never fail come from one throne, one Voice.
When we hear opinions and advice, we should never take it and run with it.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” —Philippians 4:6 NIV
In every situation, pray.
The end all be all is right at where we started: ask God.
My dad would tell me this every time I asked him anything: “What’s God said about it?”
He would tell me to go pray, and listen for God to give me my answer.
I would encourage all of you the same way. Ask the one who’s name is Truth for your answers first every time. You might not always like the answer, but you’ll never be disappointed with the end results.