September 29 – Living Courageously – Constructive Criticism

Read Proverbs 19:20

Each Christmas Eve, my husband would find himself sneaking to the basement to assemble complex train tracks for our kids. He would open the box and about one hundred gray, various-sized track pieces would fall out. He would sit there surrounded by straight and curved pieces, unsure of where to begin. I would take that opportunity to wish him well and leave him to figure it out!

Thankfully, the directions were included with words and pictures to help this dedicated dad assemble the pieces into a spectacular Christmas surprise. I’m sure many of you can relate to this experience. In this instance, directions are a lifeline to completing a difficult task. In life, we have much more difficult tasks to face. Relationships, parenting, and finances are just a few that we would all like to have a set of detailed directions for. The good news is that God provides the help we need to live courageously for Him.

In Proverbs 19:20, God’s Word teaches us that courageous living doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, but that we must be willing to seek out direction. It says, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.” So many things in life are easier when we follow directions, not try to figure it out on our own.

God gives us several avenues to use in order to find direction for right living.

First, we have God’s Word. Wisdom is found in the pages and stories of the Bible. Accounts of men and women like Abraham, Jonah, David, Rahab and Deborah help us understand how God wants us to live. The Bible also includes advice about how to treat our fellow Christians and neighbors and, when followed, these words can cause us to live and love with courage only God can provide.

God also places certain people in our lives either for a season or a lifetime. I once heard this wise advice: It is good to have friends who are older than you and friends who are younger than you. The point being that you can learn from the older, wiser friends and influence the younger friends who can learn from you! As I pondered this, I realized it was true! I had friendships with women who were older than me who lovingly offered me advice about relationships and handling stress. Fortunately, I also had younger women around me with whom I could share bits of wisdom I had learned along the way. Sometimes, we just need a word of confirmation to reassure us that we are headed in the right direction. Other times, we need words of admonition or accountability to keep us on the right track.

Be brave and seek out these people in your life.

Finally, God gives us a direct line to Himself through prayer. When we need advice or wisdom, James tells us to simply ask (James 1:5). We can talk to God honestly, admitting we don’t know what to do. We can ask for direction, opportunities, and insight. The other part of prayer is listening for a response from God. When we are quiet and listening, God reveals His will for us through His Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us to pray about everything, expecting God to help (Philippians 4:6).

In order to live courageously, you and I need to bravely seek the wisdom and advice of God. Will you commit to searching the Scriptures for direction? Will you send a text or meet with a friend who can encourage you? Or will you block out some time today to pray and seek God’s wisdom?

Go ahead . . . be brave!

Tammy Finney

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