Advent: Wonderful Counselor and Bad Advice

Ever feel like you get advice from the E*Trade baby? It’s cute when it’s on T.V., but not when it matters. Where do you go when you need advice?

I love this commercial! However, that’s not where I’d start when I needed advice.
Advice…we all need it.
We’ve all given it.

Here are three types of advice that I run into on a normal day.
How about you?

Bad Advice

The trick with bad advice is that is doesn’t always start off sounding bad. In fact, it starts off sounding brilliant! With notable exceptions: “I’ll protect your savings,” “You can be rich as early as next week,” “This will make you sexy with no diet change or exercise!”

Most bad advice falls under the Sheryl Crow Law:
“If it makest thou Happy, It canst not be that bad unto thee!”

Bad advice means that your debt, like your blood pressure, is going to go up. It means that while you might get what you think you want, no one else does. If your relationships are a mess, chances are you are Sheriff of a world that exercises the Sheryl Crow Law like Miranda in L.A. County.

Good Advice

When we get good advice, we benefit from the wisdom of human experience. Good advice is good. The thing with good advice is you have to take it, and generally, you have to take it in the way it was intended. Good advice must always come with question: “Who is this advice good for?” For instance, you are love and want to get married and some wizened mother says, “Son, don’t marry her. I don’t think it will work out.”

It’s going to be good advice for somebody.

Good advice is sometimes difficult to take. Someone wiser than yourself might understand the consequences of a choice and be honest. Taking good advice often means that you are going to something difficult, something that will cost you. Good advice can be like…well, taking investment advice from a baby.

* This is one reason I love counseling. You pay someone to keep their best interests to themselves. Genius! Genius! Genius! But it’s not:

God Advice

God advice is the best possible option and the first advice we don’t want to take. God advice is always good for you and good for God. While good advice relies upon the wisdom of human experience, God Advice relies on the wisdom of Eternal Experience. God Advice redeems. God Advice restores. God Advice reconciles and with all due deferrence to Ms. Crow, it won’t look like it’s going to make you happy.

But it will.

“I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go.
I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.” Psalm 32:8

For Advent, I’ve begun to preach through the names of the Messiah

mentioned in Isaiah 9:6

A child is born to us, a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

What does it mean that God is Wonderful Counselor?

1. Jesus is the first best place to look when you are wondering what your next step is.
2. Jesus is the only voice that can speak to you with human and eternal experience.
3. Chances are you’ve tried everything else…how’s that workin’ for ya? (via Dr. Phil)

Where do you go for good advice?
How do you decide what to do next?

If you have a moment, here’s the first sermon on the Isaiah passage.


Here’s an Wonderful Counselor Devo Sheet…goes with the talk.