Our world is full of advice. We are constantly being told what to do, what to think, all in our best interest, of course. Everybody has an answer. Going all the way back to the beginning, even a snake had an answer. What is interesting is that he also asked the question! A formal tournament debate is always set up in two parts: first, is there a need for change? Second, does the proposed answer fill that need better than the present situation?
Underneath the flood of advice we are swept up in is the assumption that somebody knows better than we do what we need and what we should do about it. However, we all want to think we know what we're doing! I've been dealing with a lot of change in my life in the past ten years, and I thought I knew what I was doing. It's one thing to recognize that some things aren't working, and something else altogether to deal with it. It's not easy to recognize what should be saved, and what should be let go—especially for a congenital packrat.
Jesus asked people to do one thing: Follow Him! One of my favorite glimpses of Jesus is right at the beginning of His ministry, at the end of John 2. As the crowds began to gather, He would not entrust Himself to people like us, for He knew what is inside of us. His original disciples struggled with this for the three years they were with Him, and then the rest of their lives. The advice He gave them as He was preparing to launch them into showing the world His answers for life boils down to two things: love and obedience. The world offers gives us all kinds of advice as to how to love and what to obey, and all kinds of people to follow. Our job is to put these in the context of what we know about God's love, and obeying God. How do we need to change, and what does He need to do in our lives? And how do we recognize others on the same journey, and whose advice we should be willing to entrust ourselves to? And how can we build each other up into His image? That is what we as His followers are seeking to do through doing His life together!