We have been looking at how you can know what God’s will is when it isn’t quite obvious and last week we saw that asking for advice from mature Christians is a good way to know what God wants you to do. This week I want to expand on that thought, by encouraging you to seek the advice of mature Christians in books.
When seeking advice, we do not only go to people that we can hear audibly, but we often go to written resources. For example, if you want to learn about nutrition, you could speak to a local dietician. But you could also read books about food and good nutrition.
There are many advantages of using written resources. Firstly, books aren’t as time limited as human resources. If you speak to a dietician, there is only so much time that they can afford to give you or that you can afford to purchase from them. But a large book can give you hours upon hours of instruction for a fraction of the cost. Secondly, in books you can access the instruction of experts who you would never be able to speak to face to face. Your local dietician may not be very knowledgeable about your particular health needs, but another one on the other side of the world who has written a book might be just who you need to hear from.
Now this is precisely true with learning about God’s will as well. Firstly, you can ask advice from people that you know about your particular situation, but they only have so much time in which they can advise you, particularly if it is your church pastor. But with a book on your particular problem you can cheaply receive hours and hours of counselling. Secondly, the mature Christians around you may not be all that experienced and knowledgeable on your particular problem. But a theologian in England who has written a book might be thoroughly acquainted with your dilemma and you can access him by reading. Or even a theologian who died several hundred years ago can be accessed today through reading.
So to not take advantage of the Spirit’s help via Christian authors is very foolish. But remember, like I said last week, the advice of mature Christians is not always reliable for discerning God’s will. There is a lot of unhelpful material written in the name of Christ. So read with discernment.
Do you read the advice of mature Christians when you try to determine the will of God for you?