Listening to life advice: how should we live?

The currency of our culture is life advice.

Everywhere we look, someone is offering a better way to life. A better you.

This week we’ve asked all the RENEWers to take note of all the life advice they hear. Lean in on conversations, jot down what others share on social media, even listen to your parents! Everywhere and all the time people around us are answering the question, “How should we live?”


This vital question comes from the Gospel Grid 1, a way of orienting our hearts and minds around God’s Word and His world.

In four questions the “grid” covers the basics of reality and purpose:

  1. Who is God?
  2. What has He done?
  3. Who are we?
  4. How do we live?

Have you noticed that we tend to reverse the order?

As broken people we take that last question and make it primary: How should we live? Then drawing from our successes or failures at living well, we carve out an identity for ourselves, figuring out who we are. This leads us to view what God has done in the world through the lens of self: what has God done for me?

On the basis of how we live, and who we think we are, leading to how we see God’s activity in our lives, we then arrive at a view of God. Either He’s been good and gracious, or He’s been less than stellar, not meeting our expectations. When we look at our circumstances … God’s got some explaining to do!

Society places self at the top of the pyramid, beginning with me, myself & I in all our questions. We take the place of God. We turn the Gospel Grid upside-down.

I’m convinced this is why so much life advice is shared — this is how I live, and you should too! (Cue the infomercial smile: “It worked for me, and it can work for you!”) In the midst the message of the Gospel seems like another pitch to adopt a new lifestyle, maybe a less awesome one than you’re working on right now. Add a little Jesus to your life; He’ll make it all better.

What life advice have you heard this week?

Was it helpful? How will that solid advice eventually let you down? Lets come back to the first question — forgetting ourselves and our circumstances for a moment — who is God?

  1. Thank you to the fellow students at Soma School Portland 2013 and the leaders of Bread & Wine for helping me re-discover the Gospel Grid, and re-apply it to my heart, life, and church family.