One of the most significant unintended consequences of the biblical counseling movement is the idea that counseling is for a select number of Christians.
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- Can’t the Local Church Do This?
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God has blessed the biblical counseling movement over the past several decades. One of the problems with the unprecedented growth of biblical counseling is we forgot to tell the church that counseling others is for everyone, not just for the few (Romans 15:14).
Influenced By the World
The notion that only a few good men and women can counsel is a secularized idea, not a biblical one. The world is bent toward individualism, while the church is a community of Christlike disciple-makers. The world believes in specialization, while the church believes in equipping everyone to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Being antithetical to the world is especially important when it comes to helping others by providing counsel because any form of counseling success must be contextualized and worked out within the community of the local church. (See this One Another chart.)
- All believers are empowered by the Spirit of God.
- All believers are illuminated by the Spirit of God.
- All believers can pray.
- All believers have a maturing understanding of God’s Word.
- All believers have an experience with God.
- All believers can love people.
- All believers are called to share God’s Word.
- All believers are called to be disciple-makers.
But aren’t some folks more gifted to counsel? The common assumption among Christians, about Christian counselors, is that it is a specialized field for specialized people. The reason for this assumption is usually because of an unbiblical definition of biblical counseling.
Biblical counseling, defined, is one believer using God’s Word to help another individual. Every believer is empowered, equipped, and urged to bring the truths of God’s Word into their spheres of influence.
As Christ-followers (1 Corinthians 11:1) and Christ-imitators (Ephesians 5:1), we have the privilege to bring God’s Word to bear on any individual according to our giftedness and our understanding of God’s Word. With the work of the Spirit active in us, we can continue to grow in both our knowledge and giftedness in applying God’s Word.
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Tell Them What You Know
In John 4, the woman at the well had an encounter with Jesus. After that encounter, she went into a village and began to tell (counsel) others about her interaction with Jesus.
Regardless of where you are, as it pertains to your walk with the Lord, you have something to say. There is no perfect time or perfect maturity level you must attain before you can tell others about the transformative power of Christ.
You may not have all the answers you wished you had. You may not be completely comfortable in a counseling context, but there is a greater One who is with you, and the Spirit will empower and illuminate you to faithfully bring His Word to bear on the lives of others.
Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. – Luke 21:14-15
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. – John 16:13
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8
I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. – Romans 15:14
Ultimately, the Spirit of God is the Counselor, and as long as you do not quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieve (Ephesians 4:29) Him, you will be amazed at what He does through you.
Do you believe you are a biblical counselor? Perhaps you prefer the word discipleship. I prefer it too. It is better, broader, and a more accurate term for what we do. What hinders you from speaking God’s truth into the lives of others? If you would like to learn more about our distance education training, go here.I Am a Saved Legalist Who Struggles with Depression Slow Down Before You Map Your Experience Over Others »