選擇你要接受的建議

不久前我與一位網站設計師聊天,他向我保證每個人都用摩斯拉火狐(Mozilla Firefox)作為主要瀏覽器,所以我應該讓那瀏覽器在我的網站上充分發揮。按照他的說法,網路探險器(Internet Explorer)已過時,我可以不要再用了。

我的朋友也常提醒我,每個重要人物都用麥金塔(Macintosh)電腦,所以我應該不要再用微軟視窗(Microsoft Windows)。

我做了一點研究(這是很容易做的),發現只有8%的人用Firefox進入我的網站,而超過90%的人使用Internet Explorer,而且只有7%的人使用麥金塔電腦。

當我知道90%以上的人使用微軟視窗和Internet Explorer,這事實提醒我對別人的意見要小心分辨。這也提醒我在表達自己的意見時要謹慎,因為那些意見很容易被實際資料證實或反駁。

在使徒行傳17章11節,聖經說:「這地方(庇哩亞)的人賢於帖撒羅尼迦的人,甘心領受這道,天天考查聖經,要曉得這道是與不是。」根據這經文,考查聖經要曉得這道是否真確就是賢明的定義。

我們不應自己不去考查,就盲目地接受別人告訴我們的事。當我們在做重要的商業、財務和個人的決定時,必須要如此。而在有關永恆的事更要如此。你喜歡用哪種瀏覽器,可能沒有很大的關係。但了解上帝的愛和透過我們對耶穌基督的信心能得到祂的赦免,對我們的永恆有很重要的影響。所以你的結論不應該是道聽途說,相信別人的意見,自己卻不研讀聖經。

自從我與那網站設計師討論後,我就下載Firefox,而且發現它確實有些優點。然而,Internet Explorer也有優點。所以我就視狀況交替使用這兩種瀏覽器。它們都只是工具,而搜尋網路沒有萬能的工具。你的工具箱有愈多工具,而且你愈多知道何時該用哪種工具,對你的工作就愈有幫助。

靈命的成長也是如此。研讀聖經是認識上帝的一個重要工具。禱告是我們靈命的成長的另一個重要成份。但別人的鼓勵也很重要,因那是我們信仰家庭的一部分,還有聽講道、參加其他造就班、讀屬靈書籍、和其他獲得屬靈知識的方法。

以下是三個應記得的重點:
不要相信你聽到的一切事。 使用你可獲得的有用工具。 對上帝向你說的話要敞開心。思想 / 討論題目
當你想尋求別人的建議時,你如何決定要找怎樣的人?你又如何面對所接收到的資訊? 你是否曾對某人的建議深信不疑,但後來卻發現那建議是錯的?你遭遇什麼樣的後果? 許多值得信賴的商業期刊都肯定靈性在職場上的正面作用。在靈性成長上,你覺得哪種工具最有幫助? 本文作者提到從前庇哩亞人每天研究考查聖經,要分辨使徒保羅告訴他們的話是否真實。你對這種尋求屬靈知識的方式有何看法?這種方法對你有幫助嗎?請解釋。若你想看聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請翻閱以下經節:
約書亞記1章8節;詩篇119章9-11、105節;腓立比書4章8-9節;提摩太後書2章2節、3章14-17節;希伯來書10章24-25節。

CHOOSING YOUR TOOLS – AND THE ADVICE YOU ACCEPT
By: Jim Mathis

Some time ago I was talking with a website designer who assured me that everyone uses Mozilla Firefox as their primary browser, so I should optimize my site for that browser. According to him, Internet Explorer was now outdated and I could pretty much ignore it.

I am often reminded by my friends using Macintosh computers that everyone important uses Macs, so I should stop working with Microsoft Windows.

I did a little research, which is easy enough to do, and determined that only 8% of people accessing my websites use Firefox. More than 90%, however, use some form of Internet Explorer. Also, only 7% of them use Macintosh.

Learning that more than 90% of the people use Windows and Internet Explorer reminded me to always take other people”s opinions with caution. It also reminded me to be careful about expressing my own opinions, since they can be easily verified or refuted by factual data.

In Acts 17:11, the Bible says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Examining the Scriptures to check the facts is the very definition of noble character, according to this passage.

We should not blindly accept what people tell us without doing our own thoughtful study. This is true whenever we are making important business, financial and personal decisions, but perhaps even more crucial for issues with eternal consequences. It may not make much difference which Internet browser you prefer to use, but understanding God”s love and the forgiveness He offers through faith in Jesus Christ does have major consequences for eternity. Therefore, your conclusions should not be left to hearsay and the opinions of others, without studying the original source book – the Bible.

Since the discussion I had with the website designer, I have downloaded Firefox and found it does have a few advantages. Internet Explorer, however, also has some advantages, so I find myself switching back and forth depending upon the situation. They are both only tools and there is no universal tool for searching the Internet. The more tools you have in your toolbox, and the more you know when to use them, the better.

The same holds true for spiritual growth. Bible study is an important tool for learning about God. Prayer is another important component in our spiritual growth, but so is encouragement from others that are part of our community of faith, as well as what we learn by listening to sermons, other spiritual presentations, reading books and other means for gaining spiritual understanding.

Three points to remember:
• Do not believe everything you hear.
• Use all the useful tools that are available.
• Be open to what God is saying to you.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and recently has opened a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
When seeking advice, how do you determine who you go to for counsel – and what you do with the information you receive? Have you ever taken advice that someone gave to you with great conviction, only to later determine the individual was wrong? What were the consequences you encountered? Many esteemed business periodicals have affirmed the significance of spirituality in the workplace. In terms of spiritual growth, what tools have you found most helpful? Jim Mathis refers to the ancient Bereans, who examined the Scriptures daily to discern mine whether what the apostle Paul was telling them was true. What do you think about this approach to seeking spiritual understanding? Has this proved helpful for you? Explain your answer.If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:

Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:9-11, 105; Philippians 4:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:2, 3:14-17; Hebrews 10:24-25

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