Saturday, September 17, 2016

Are You a Counselor?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and God of all COMFORT,
who COMFORTS us in all our affliction
so that we will be able to COMFORT
those who are in any affliction 
with the COMFORT with which we
ourselves are COMFORTED by God.

II Corinthians 1:3,4

I'm just going to say it.

If you are in Christ Jesus, you are qualified to counsel.

Ugh.  I can hear your resistance already. "I can't counsel!  What do I know about anything? It's not my calling.  There are others who are way more qualified than me to counsel!"

Personally, I don't even like the word "counsel" - I'd rather call it "disciple" but no matter what you call it, if you know Jesus, you are qualified to comfort those in affliction.

There is a mindset in the church that in order to walk through a valley with someone, you need to have walked there before.  Now, I am not going to de-value the wealth of knowledge that comes from  experience, but  experience alone does not qualify you to counsel.  

I also want to add, I say "in the church" because in the world, you need degrees.  In the church, you need experience.  If you've had an abortion, then you are qualified to counsel women who are post-abortive.  If you have been divorced, you are qualified to counsel women who are in the throes of divorce.  If you have had addictions, then you are qualified to work with the addicted.  This is what seems to open doors in counseling in the church - what is your past sin and who can you reach out and touch?  What this produces in the mind of the counselee is,  "I can listen to them because they know what I am going through."  

All of this makes sense in a very limiting way.  Past experience does open the door for great testimony of God's love and provision, and when someone who has walked through a divorce can come alongside someone who is currently entering this experience, it is a blessing to have that knowledge and past to identify with the pain.  The problem is that valleys aren't identical.  If we rely on common circumstances as our foundation for understanding, then we are limiting the call of counseling to those who have very specific past sin to share.

Then there's the problem with God.  You see, God says that if you are in Christ, then you understand the brokenness that sin produces and you have experienced the grace that all men need, therefore you are qualified to extend compassion and comfort because you have been comforted.  That's what II Corinthians 1:3,4 tells us.  Because God has comforted us in our affliction (which is the condition that brought us to Jesus), then we are able to comfort those in ANY affliction (because what they need is the grace and mercy that has already been extended to you.)

You are qualified because you have experienced the mercy and comfort of God.


The great commission is to go and make disciples.  This is the call of every believer.  Counseling is simply disciple-making.  Is life hard?  What does God say about it?  Are you depressed? What does God say about it?  Are you suffering? What does God say about it?  Are you angry? Are you lonely?  Are you frustrated?  Are you sorrowful?  Are you lost?  Tired? Hopeless? Addicted? You name it, what does God say about it?

This is basic discipleship:  taking the troubles of today and bringing them to a loving God, who has given His Son so that we can know Him and have life.  It doesn't matter where you have come from - if you have come to Jesus, you can bring others.

You know the way.

You are qualified.

So who are you discipling?  Who are you walking through the valley with?  To do this, you must know God's Word, so keep studying and ask the Father to bring someone who needs help into your life.  Then watch what He does next!

(((By the way, I haven't poked the bear in a couple of weeks and life is so much better!!!)))

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