November 3, 2018
I’m called a traveler, but this story could apply to anyone, because we are making decisions each day. A trip stands out because I learned an important lesson about accepting advice from those whom God places in our lives to help us along the way.
Early one morning I threw my suitcase into my car and started driving. Along the way I came to a stop. Ahead of me a traffic officer was offering advice on which road was the best and safest. I tried to be polite and listen as the officer said to me, “The road to the right is in better condition than the road on the left.” I asked, “Which way is shorter?”
The officer explained that the road on the left was shorter, but it was in disrepair. It was barricaded to keep people from having to deal with the ruts, debris, and other dangers. The officer said, “The road on the left might be shorter, but if you want to travel safely to your destination, then take the road on the right.”
I thought for a minute and then ignored the warning and turned to the left, driving past the barricade. I watched the officer shake his head sadly. But I had places to go and people to see. I didn’t have time to waste. So I took the short route.
Soon I started to experience challenges. One time I turned a corner and found myself headed straight into a boulder sitting in the middle of the road. That boulder looked as big as my car! I slammed on my brakes and just managed to squeeze past it. Another time I had to struggle and push to get my car out of a ditch. I had sweat running down my forehead and into my eyes, and my shirt was stuck to my back, but finally I managed to get the car back on the road. There were warning signs alerting drivers to the road’s condition. There were lots of opportunities to turn around if I had only listened to directions.
Along the way there were kind people and friends who told me that I should turn around; that the road ahead would be filled with dangers and difficulties.
They repeatedly told me that the other road was much safer. They pleaded with me to turn around, but still I drove on and would not be persuaded.
As I listened to the weather forecast on the radio I learned that a big thunderstorm was ahead. This was not good news, considering the damaged roads filled with potholes on which I was traveling. But instead of heeding this last warning, I turned off the radio. I was determined to keep on going no matter what. Perhaps I would reach my destination before the storm hit.
Sadly, it wasn’t long before the sky started turning darker and darker. The wind had picked up, and soon there were big drops of rain hitting the windshield, making it difficult to see. Lightning flashed in the dark sky, and thunder boomed loudly overhead. Suddenly, when I thought that things could not get worse, I heard a subtle noise, and I knew what it meant. I dropped my hand on the steering wheel and groaned—a flat!
After changing the tire, I got back into my car, soaking wet, shivering, and cold. I just sat there listening to the pouring rain pound the roof and thought about how much trouble I had experienced. What had started out as a wonderful day had certainly gone terribly wrong.
Then I came to realize that I really should have submitted to the advice of those who knew about the road conditions much better than I did. If I had only listened to the advice, I would have enjoyed a much more pleasant journey to my destination.
—Kathleen D. Sowards
Memory Text: “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Hebrews 13:7, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 10, The Experience of Salvation: “In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit, we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, Substitute and Example.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 126
Read Philippians 2:6, 7.
Craig sat in church with a tremendous conviction resting on his soul. He sensed that God was reaching out to him. He took an honest look at his habits and knew that the video games he played, sometimes late into the evening, interfered with his time spent with God and his family. He wasn’t sure how to deal with this problem.
Craig wanted to reach out to an adult for help. His Sabbath School teacher, Jeff, was cool. But he wasn’t sure if he was ready for Jeff to know about this problem. There were a few others that Craig thought he might go to to ask for help. What should Craig look for in a mentor? What qualities would be most helpful? How should Craig go about asking for help? Do you think he should tackle his problem with a caring adult right away?
Read: Genesis 3:15; John 3:3-8, 16; Romans 12:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 1 Peter 2:21, 22.
When we surrender our lives to God’s leading and are born again, the Holy Spirit will renew our minds, write God’s law of love in our hearts, and give us the power to live a holy life. As we live in Christ, we take on His nature and have the assurance of eternal life.
“Meekness is a precious, Christian attribute. The meekness and lowliness of Christ are only learned by wearing Christ’s yoke. . . . That yoke signifies entire submission.” “The submission which Christ demands . . . [is] brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit. There must be a transformation of the entire being, heart, soul, and character. . . . Only at the altar of sacrifice, and from the hand of God, can the selfish, grasping man receive the celestial torch which reveals his own incompetence and leads him to submit to Christ’s yoke, to learn His meekness and lowliness” (Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 236).
What does it mean to”submit” to the the Lord?
In the Bible there are two well-known men, one of whom was great in strength and the other was great in wisdom and wealth. Who were they? See Judges 13:5, 6 and 1 Kings 4:29-34.
Were there times, in the lives of these men, that they should have asked someone’s advice? Explain.
Read 1 Timothy 4:12.
How has Paul helped mentor Timothy in the service of God?
The vast multitude of joy-filled believers have seized moments of wisdom and accountability from someone else they trust.
Accountability is giving someone the right to hold you to your promises. If you want to stop engaging in harmful behaviors, or want to be nice to others, or use your time more wisely, then often a wiser, more experienced Christian can remind you of your commitment to God. Think of all the forgotten commitments we have made over the years. Would we be different people if we humbled ourselves to another and asked for help?
The greatest change agents in the world are not super individualists, but the humble students who give others, including the Holy Spirit, a chance to help them to greatness.
Fill in the blanks. All texts are taken from the New International Version.
1. “You then, my son, be in the grace that is in. And the things you have heard me say in the of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:1, 2).
2. “I am writing this not to shame you but to you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:14-17).
3. “Follow my, as I the of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
4. “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by, that he has you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with, with the and. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of and of the, for you the in the midst of severe suffering with the given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in and” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-7).
5. “Remember your, who spoke the of God to. Consider the of their of life and their” (Hebrews 13:7).
6. “In the same way, you who are, yourselves to your. All of you, yourselves with toward one another, because, ‘God the but shows to the’ ” (1 Peter 5:5).
Review the memory text.
Submission, humility, and having a teachable spirit are not popular qualities in society. In fact, many consider seeking help a sign of weakness.
But submitting to God’s Spirit and to fellow Christians who are guided by Him is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of tremendous courage.
You might recall that Jesus’ most stern rebukes came to those who were self-sufficient. To those who stood before others proud and in need of no one. But grace, wisdom, help, and healing spill out of the Savior like a waterfall to those who know they need Him. Nicodemus didn’t have all the answers. Mary made more mistakes than she could count. Zacchaeus desperately scaled a tree to get a moment with the One who could help him. The Syrophoenician woman endured the scorn of racism to get close to the Healer. This is the truth about God’s kingdom: Those that humble themselves before God and others become the story makers and heroes of God’s kingdom of grace.
Read 1 Timothy 4:15, 16.
“As the lessons of the Bible are wrought into the daily life, they have a deep and lasting influence upon the character. These lessons Timothy learned and practiced” (Ellen G. White, Conflict and Courage, p. 346).
Consider the following questions as you choose to place yourself before someone who can help you become what God wants you to be.
In what area of your life do you need someone’s advice?
Who is a caring Christian adult who would be able to mentor or advise you?
How is prayer of key importance before you reach out to someone for help or advice?
How would you ask that person to be your accountability partner or to advise you?