I’m sure sometimes people get tired of my advice, which mostly boils down to read the Bible, pray, and obey God. Sometimes it may seem like I’m oversimplifying things by giving such advice, but let me break something down for you: if you haven’t attempted the most basic steps, you shouldn’t go seeking after the more complicated ones.
People often go looking for advice that goes beyond “seek God,” but they haven’t yet tried seeking God. Maybe you think that’s a task that isn’t worth the effort, buy in my own experience I’ve found it to be the only advice that actually works.
Take, for example, a man who is having marriage troubles. He goes to the counselor looking for steps to take to repair what’s left of the relationship. If the counselor is a godly one, the correct first question to ask is “are you loving your wife?” The command given by God to husbands is this, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) So, are you loving your wife? Are you loving her as Christ loved the church? No? Then the advice can go no further. Start there.
Stubborn men, though, they don’t want this counsel. They want something else to try. I’m sorry, but if you aren’t obeying God by loving your wife, there is no other advice to offer. Begin with step 1, then proceed after that.
Likewise, I’ve had people ask me for advice on whether it’s morally okay to do this or that. Let’s just say for example that it’s something like cheating on an expense report. Is it morally ok to falsify this expense report if I think my company owes me more than what I’m technically allowed according to the rules? My response to that would be to ask what God’s Word says about cheating. The Bible doesn’t explicitly speak about expense reports, but it does say, “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2) and “Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors” (Proverbs 1:19), among many other things. It’s clear: God is not for cheating to gain financially.
Why do I so often advise to read the Bible in response to questions? Because usually the person asking is unaware that God has already spoken on the subject and the answer is clear.
Why do I always advise to pray? Because, while people know in their heads that it’s something they should do, they often go looking for people to tell them what to do when they haven’t even talked to God yet.
Why do I ask people if they’re obeying God? Because nothing I can say for you to do, no action steps can help you get unstuck from where you’re at if you’re in a disobedient state. God’s not going to bless you if you’re willfully rejecting Him and then asking to be prosperous. It doesn’t work that way.
Jesus Christ came to this earth as the perfect representation of God (Hebrews 1:3), living out a perfect life free of sin as an example to us of God’s character and nature. Though He was God himself, He obeyed the Father at all times. Though He knew the mind of God, He prayed so as to be in the right attitude and thinking. Though He wrote the Scriptures, He read them and used them as a guide for living. Why do we think that He did all this and yet we’re above doing so? He was obedient to the point of dying on the cross and we can’t even get the “love your neighbor” thing right.
If you’re stuck and can’t seem to find a way out, if you’re searching for answers, I just have to ask; are you even obeying God? Have you prayed? Have you sought His answers that He’s already given in the Bible? If not, why not start with those actions before looking for some better answer.