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Weekly Motivational and Inspirational Stories for the Marketplace – The School of the Holy Spirit – 35 of 52 – Part 23 Equipping the Saints with Prophetic Biblical Counseling Skills to Help Self and Others through their Troubles – Introduction 1 of 12 – Why do we end up doing things we don’t want to do?
Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Today’s Podcast via link: anchor.fm/otakada.org
Friends, I welcome you to today’s series of Otakada.org Weekly Motivational Stories Equipping Christians in The Marketplace. – We are Ambassadors of Christ in this earthly realm. Check this out in 2 Corinthians 5:20
At Otakada.org, we bring YOU over 2 million contents for All Round Success for your Spirit, Soul and your Body all in one place! Check this out in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 2 Timothy 1:7 and Hebrews 4:12
Read – 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Amplified Bible (AMP) 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [ that is, separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged—consecrated to Him—set apart for His purpose ]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and [be found ] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Together with you, we are building MASSIVE SPIRITUAL TEMPLES in people’s heart for the Spirit of God to dwell in and operate through with ease in these times and seasons, so stay with us and build with us! – Check this out in 1 Corinthians 3: 1- 17; Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 John 4:4
If you missed the last two series for Sunday and Wednesday respectively as follows hereunder:
The School of the Holy Spirit – 34 of 52 – Part 22 – Anatomy and Secrets of the Secret Place – The Secret of Dropping the Foundation of our Limited Theology and Understanding of God in the things He Will Tell Us, Show Us, Ask Us or Cause Us to experience or do in our work and walk with Him + Let’s Explore 8 Mind-boggling Instructions in the Secret Place God gave some of His children to carry out that will explode Your understanding of Him to Zillion different directions and why He does that! – Stay Positive, Stay Focused and Stay Strong in God!
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Weekly Motivation and Inspirational Stories for the Marketplace Series 33 of 52 – The School of the Holy Spirit – Part 21 Activating the 12 (Twelve) Ministries of the Holy Spirit in YOU and Others + Equipping Traumatized Orphans with Software Driven Christian Centric World-class Basic Educational Curriculum and A Holistic Support System
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Last week Wednesday, we explored the 12 ministries of the Holy Spirit and activation of the ministries in our lives.
You and I know that there are impediments or bottlenecks or strongholds that prevent us as Christians to be effective and fruitful in some or all of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
You may ask – Why are so many believers in bondage to addictions, harmful emotions, and sinful practices? Is there no “balm in Gilead” to heal their wounds? Are there no “spiritual physicians” to apply the healing ointment of the Word of God? Is there no prophet of the Lord to speak the Word of Life that will set them free?
We have prayed, we have fasted, we have trained and yet we still find out that we can’t find the will power to take action that will result in fruits manifesting in fullness. For this reason, this week, we want to explore twelve sub-series in The School of the Holy Spirit – 35 of 52 – Part 23, where we will be Equipping the Saints with Prophetic Biblical Counseling Skills to Help Self and Others through their Troubles – Introduction 1 of 12 – Why do we end up doing things we don’t want to do?
In the last two weeks alone +, we have handled up to seven different counseling scenarios from different sources and on different topics. Some are still in the front burner as new cases emerge daily and it is imperative that the church of Jesus Christ prepares to help people in our communities or across other parts of the world as more of these issues are bound to come in in the coming days, months and years. If properly handled, it could swell the number of souls in the kingdom. Read John 13:35 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)35 By this shall all [men ] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves ].
There can be no doubt that one of the greatest issues in contemporary Christian Church is the need to teach Christians how to bring the church to the level God has always wanted it to reach – that of a loving, caring fellowship, sound in the spirit, soul and body. In some ways, this is more important than evangelism, as there is nothing more appealing to an uncaring, non-Christian society than see a community give itself in selfless service to others.
One of the major purposes of the Body of Christ is to help people with their problems. Christians are repeatedly instructed to demonstrate love in all their relationships.
The Christian Church knows more about love than anyone in today’s secular society, but there is a failure of turning doctrine into practice. If the love of God were to flow through us as it should and reach out to others, then the results would be staggering.
To help elaborate on the above subject matter, I will give a true account of what happened in real life to help our understanding.
Look at the photo below of a lemon tree that was practically chopped down just yesterday by a farmer I invited to help resolve the issue with the tree not producing fruits as usual.
About two years ago, this lemon three produced so well that we were fascinated by it and expecting to get some fruit from it. This year, no fruit was produced. For a full year, it was green but no lemon. The solution proffered was to prune the lemon tree.
By the time they had finished dealing with this lemon tree, they not only took out the leaf but also the main branches. I ask the gardener, “why did you go this far? Will it produce after this serious chop work?” Because the lemon tree was practically hacked down. His response was, “wait until it starts producing, you will be shocked at the output.”
Reflecting this morning, I thought, “isn’t that what God does to us to be fruitful? And even when we produce, He prunes the more so we can produce more fruits” See this account in John’s gospel.
In John 15:1-12 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
15 I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
2 Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
3 You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].
4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [ Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [ cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
6 If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [ broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you live in Me [ abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
9 I have loved you, [ just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [[a]continue in His love with Me ].
10 If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions ], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.
11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.
12 This is My commandment: that you love one another [just ] as I have loved you.
We can see from the above text that to be fruitful, pruning has to take place. The element of love or fruit of love has to come out and be alive and active in us which combined with the Holy Spirit, we are able to not just obey Christ but also serve others in love, yielding more fruit thereby.
Let’s see what Jesus did to a fruitless three in
Mark 11:12-14 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)12 On the day following, when they had come away from Bethany, He was hungry.
13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree [ covered ] with leaves, He went to see if He could find any [fruit] on it [[a]for in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves ]. But when He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves, for the fig season had not yet come.
14 And He said to it, No one ever again shall eat fruit from you. And His disciples were listening [to what He said ].
Mark 11:20-22 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)20 In the morning, when they were passing along, they noticed that the fig tree was withered [completely ] away to its roots.
21 And Peter remembered and said to Him, Master, look! The fig tree which You doomed has withered away!
22 And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly ].
If we Christians refuse to be fruitful, there is a likelihood that we lose the capacity to be fruitful and God can turn this over to others who are fruitful in the vineyard. What Satisfy Jesus hunger is souls, souls and more souls turning or returning to Him in repentance.
THREE CRITICAL NEEDS BEGGING FOR ATTENTION IN OUR LIVES
There are three critical needs that every human being created by God needs in order to function effectively in spirit, soul and body. These are Significance, Self-Worth and Security built on the foundation of Christ
These three needs form the building blocks of our lives needs which affect our motives or motivation. These needs are already in service from 0 to 5 years of a child’s development. From the point a fetus is formed, the construction of the building block is already begun in the subconscious mind.
If a child in the womb sense rejection from the mother, the child registers this impulse in the subconscious that says, “I am not valued – low self-worth.”. If the child notices any disturbance, like attempted abortion, it registers there also as low security. If that child begins to grow and does not sense or experience the affection of the mum while growing, it reinforces whatever is already there without the child even realizing that damage is being done. Or if another child is preferred, this reinforces as low self-worth or no security be or trust with this guardian or parent and the child begins to build walls around himself right into adulthood.
The child begins to unconsciously detach herself or himself from loving embrace of the mother, father or any close relation. The child begins to sense the same rejection from everyone else. What does the child do to overcome the pain? He or she begins to build defenses to cover up for the inability to meet these needs or looks for these need in the wrong places. The child might begin to bury herself or himself in study and begin to excel. The child, now a teen or an adult buries self in drugs or work or cult or something else.
If everything is perfect from childhood and something goes wrong in adulthood, that can also trigger a downward spiral of our sense of significance, self-worth or security. Things like: the death of a loved one, sexual assault, arm robbery, kidnapping, divorce, job loss, major scandal they never expected, wrongful incarceration, etc. These can color our world the way we assess things around us from the position of wounds.
Whatever will provide a sense of significance, self-worth and security becomes a lifelong pursuit and even for good causes. These efforts lead to more emptiness in life pursuits. The Psalmist says in
Psalm 11:3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) 3 If the foundations are destroyed, what can the [unyieldingly ] righteous do, or what has He [the Righteous One ] wrought or accomplished?
Why do we end up doing things we don’t want to do?
Who then can deliver us from this messy foundation? This wrong foundation upon which we have built our lives? Let’s read Paul’s account in Romans 7:14-25 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
14 We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual ], having been sold into slavery under [the control of ] sin.
15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered ]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[a]which my moral instinct condemns ].
16 Now if I do [habitually ] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that ] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it.
17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle ] which is at home in me and has possession of me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out. ]
19 For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever ] doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts ], but the sin [principle ] which dwells within me [[b]fixed and operating in my soul ].
21 So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.
22 For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature ].
23 But I discern in my bodily members [[c]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh ] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [[d]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh ].
24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of ] this body of death?
25 O thank God! [He will! ] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Jesus can deliver us if we can identify and apply His words to those faulty foundations.
Read John 8:32 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. And Luke 4:18 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)18 The Spirit of the Lord [is ] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [ the Anointed One, the Messiah ] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity ],
We serve Jesus Christ, the Wonderful Counselor who has promised that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Jesus can heal broken significance, self-worth and security. It is when we are healed that we can become effective ministers of God
How do you know, you need this series to help yourself and others?
Look through these 77 items and if any reflects you in any way, you need to take these 12 series seriously and prayerfully work towards wholesomeness in spirit, soul and body. It is only the truth you know and accept about yourself and work towards it that can set you free.
So, what do you do while reading through the item: put one tick by the side of the items which sometimes present a problem to you; two ticks by those which are often a problem, and three ticks by those that are always a problem. If an item presents no problem, do not tick it at all.
You need to do this before you can be properly be equipped to help others through their problems
This is called adjustment rating scale
1-I frequently become overwhelmed by my emotions (fears, anger, worries, love, etc)
2-I feel guilty about almost everything I do
3-I am always pushing myself to do more than I should
4-I find it hard to adjust to circumstances beyond my control
5-I tend to blame others for my mistakes
6-Sometimes I wish I had never been born
7-I like prestige and authority
8-I have great difficulty in getting over disappointments
9-I can’t stop condemning myself for past sins
10-I am troubled over my lack of self-confidence
11-I have difficulty in working with other people
12-I am preoccupied with my health
13-I can’t seem to understand what God wills for my life
14-My sleep is frequently disturbed
15-I feel nervous and apprehensive most of the time
16-I tend to say what I think regardless of the consequences
17-I have a feeling that I deserve to be punished without knowing why
18-My feelings are easily hurt
19-I act on impulse and think later
20-I resent being told what to do
21-I dislike those who disagree with me and find ways to downgrade them
22-I worry far more than circumstances call for
23-I find it difficult to take part in activities with others
24-I find it difficult to trust people
25-I do not find it easy to set realistic goals for my life
26-When I see a group talking, I sometimes feel they are talking about me
27-I cry easily
28-I feel lonely even in the midst of a crowd
29-Most of the time, I don’t like myself
30-I feel I am too bad for God to love me
31-I am troubled by feelings of jealousy
32-I worry endlessly about the future
33-I feel ill at ease in meeting new people
34-I want more attention than I receive from those who are close to me
35-I can’t stand to be ignored
36-I become too involved with other people’s problems
37-I sometimes feel I am losing my mind
38-I am afraid of God
39-I get nervous when I have to wait
40-I often feel sorry for myself
41-I am very critical of people I don’t like
42-I love and hate the members of my family at the same time
43-I keep nursing grudges even though other people want to make up
44-I am constantly concerned about my appearance
45-I am never satisfied with what I accomplish
46-I keep thinking about painful experiences I have had
47-I brood over mistakes of the past
48-I can’t believe God loves me
49-I feel that God is punishing me for something
50-I doubt the truth of my own word when giving spiritual advice to others
51-I often blame God for permitting things to happen in my life the way they have.
52-I resent criticism
53-I feel a failure
54-I often feel that God does not hear my prayers
55-I fear death because I don’t know what will happen to me
56-The bible seems no help in my problems.
57-God seems very far away
58-I frequently compare myself to others who seem to have fewer problems
59-I find it difficult to refuse a request for help even when I know I will over-extend myself
60-I feel tired most of the time with no physical reason
61-I make unreasonable demands on myself and others
62-I find it difficult to give in even when I know I am wrong
63-I keep feeling something awful is going to happen
64-I am more interested in solving my own spiritual problems than in helping others
65-My home life is unhappy
66-I find it difficult to adjust to bad news
67-I would rather give orders than take them
68-I always seem to say the wrong thing
69-I find it difficult to break bad habits
70-When I’ve made a decision, I keep wondering whether or not I’ve made the right one
71-I put off doing things I dislike even though I know they should be done
72-I feel I need to be right always and can’t stand being wrong
73-I find it difficult to adjust to new things and change
74-I allow others to manipulate me
75-I do not mix with people easily
76-I find it difficult to accept things unless they are perfect
77-I am troubled by occasional thoughts of suicide
How did you rate? Remember, the first step to improving your personality adjustment is to recognize your needs. Take the item with the highest scores and begin at once to work on them. Start with the biggest problem and bring it before the Lord in prayer for a few days or weeks. Study the scripture to see what the bible has to say about your problem. Buy a book that deals specifically with that issue (Or has a chapter on that issue) and explore in every way you can the solutions to your problem. Everything you do to gain a better level of personal adjustment will serve to enrich your life and make it more rewarding and make you a better people helper.
Now, let’s explore in detail ways of Equipping the Saints with Prophetic Biblical Counseling Skills to Help Self and Others through their Troubles – Introduction 1 of 12
It was a dismal time in the lives of God’s people that was described by the Prophet Jeremiah. The people were backslidden, they refused to repent, and they rejected the Word of the Lord. The conditions were so dire that death was preferred to life (Jeremiah 8).
In the midst of these tragic circumstances, significant questions are raised:..”Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22). Gilead was a region east of Jordan that was famous for its medicinal salve. The questions–applied spiritually–were seeking answers as to why there was no cure for a suffering people. Where was the balm? Where was the physician who would apply the cure? Why were God’s people continuing to live in defeat and bondage? The Old Testament King Jehoshaphat raised a similar query: “Is there no prophet of the Lord?”, he asked as he faced a tremendous challenge from enemy nations (2 Kings 3).
Similar questions are echoing around the world today. Why are so many believers in bondage to addictions, harmful emotions, and sinful practices? Is there no “balm in Gilead” to heal their wounds? Are there no “spiritual physicians” to apply the healing ointment of the Word of God? Is there no prophet of the Lord to speak the Word of Life that will set them free?
There is a desperate need for the ministry of what may be called prophetic counseling–counseling that is wholly based upon the Holy Bible, the authoritative Word of God. We need counselors who believe that God means exactly what He says and that the Word has within it the inherent power to meet very need–spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and financial.
We need men and women of God who will boldly declare, “Thus says the Lord” to a lost, hurting, and spiritually dying world. Where are the spiritual leaders who will counsel prophetically, speaking forth the Word of God in answer to human need? Where are those who, instead of referring people to secular professionals, believe God’s declaration…
…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:11, NIV)
As born-again believers, we believe that the Bible reveals salvation through Jesus Christ as the only way to obtain forgiveness from sin and guarantee eternal life. If we are staking our eternal destiny on the promises of redemption and salvation, then why do we hesitate to believe God’s Word concerning deliverance, healing, and miracles? Why do we seek something other than the scriptures for answers to our problems?
Many pastors and church leaders today are referring people to secular psychologists, counselors, and clinics instead of dispensing the life-changing Word of God that will meet every need–spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. God’s command is not “refer my people”, “institutionalize my people”, or “put my people on medication”. His Word is “Comfort, comfort my people says your God” (Isaiah 40:1).
Secular psychology studies behavior and attempts to meet the needs of hurting people through scientific methods and theories developed by observation, experimentation, and experience.
While psychology can help someone understand their negative behavior and enable them to acknowledge their problems, such issues can only be properly dealt with in the life of a believer through application of scriptural principles. How can an unbeliever, who does not acknowledge God or His Word, counsel a believer whose whole life and destiny is rooted in faith?
God declared: “The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?” (Jeremiah 8:9). Is this the kind of counsel that you, as a believer, want to seek? Is this the type of “professional help” that you want to refer your family, friends, or followers to receive?
Many basic tenets of psychology are at odds with the scriptures. For example, secular psychologists may say, “It will take a long time to deal with this problem. You need extended counseling.” But that is not what we see in the Word of God. When Jesus spoke the prophetic Word of God to hurting people, they were immediately healed, delivered, saved, and set free. Jesus never referred anyone to a secular professional for help. He never told anyone it would take “extended counseling” to deal with their issues. The Word was spoken and–if the recipient responded positively to it–they were immediately made whole spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Consider the case of the Gadarene man who was possessed by a legion of demons (Mark 5:1-20). A legion in the natural world at that time consisted of five to six thousand foot soldiers under Roman rule. This man had mental issues so great that he lived in a graveyard! He had supernatural strength from a host of demonic spirits. He was alienated from society and engaged in self-destructive behavior–cutting himself. Jesus spoke eight words: “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”–and this man’s life was changed (Mark 5:8). No long-term counseling needed. No referral to a mental facility. Just eight powerful Words from the lips of the Master.
For another example, consider the psychological model of the stages of grief. In response to tragedies such as death, terrible accidents, terminal illness, etc., psychologists say you will pass through stages of grief that include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. They say these stages can occur in any order and last for varying lengths of time. But where does it say this in God’s Word? Is not the Holy Spirit who is resident within us our Comforter, and can we not call upon Him to fulfill this purpose when we are faced with tragedies?
The Bible does indicate there is a time to mourn (Ecclesiastes 3:4), but the immediate mourning following a death or tragedy is not the same as prolonged grief. Jesus bore your sin and shame on the cross, so you do not have to bear them. He also bore your grief so you need not bear it:
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5, NKJV)
So if Jesus bore your grief, just as He bore your sin and shame, why must you go through “stages”? Why must you continue to grieve months or even years after a tragedy or loss? Is there no spiritual “balm in Gilead” to heal your wounds (Jeremiah 8:22)? Does not the Bible say “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Will you take God at His Word, or will you follow a psychological model that says you must go through stages of grief?
Secular psychologists also talk much about self-esteem, but there is a difference between self-esteem and Christ-centered esteem. It is not who you are, but rather who He is and what He can do in you and through you. Christ-centered esteem recognizes you are no longer who you were, and acknowledges who you are as a born-again believer. You are a child of God, forgiven and redeemed from sin, adopted into the family of God, and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ.
Secular psychologists claim that “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” For the biblical counselor and his counselee however, this is not true. God says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Your past does not predict the future when you become a new creature in Christ because
“…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 45:17, NKJV).
The goal of counseling is not a “patched up version” of the old person, rather it is a new creature in Christ. The purpose of biblical counseling is not for rehabilitation, rather the goal is transformation–total change:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–
his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
The “patterns of the world” in secular psychology do not bring transformation. Psychological theories and models cannot change people. Only God can change a person from the inside out, give them a new mind, a new heart, and make them a new creature in Christ.
A biblical counselor believes God has the answer to every problem–not secular psychology. We are not adversaries of secular psychology, but we simply believe relying on it for answers is denying the sufficiency of scripture to meet every need.
People with tremendous needs came to Jesus from Galilee, Judaea, and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was present to heal them physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally (Luke 5:17). That same power is resident within a biblical counselor who speaks the prophetic Word of God into the lives of those seeking help.
WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE
The Bible warns about walking in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1). A true believer who is walking by faith cannot be helped spiritually by a person who has refused to acknowledge God. The psalmist declared:
The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11, KJV)
Sometimes, even counselors who are believers don’t get it right. Large sections of the book of Job are filled with advice given by Job’s friends. Generally speaking, Eliphaz spoke from experience, Bildad spoke on the basis of human authority, and Zophar emphasized legalism. If you want a manual on how not to counsel someone who is suffering, the book of Job is it!
From their counseling we learn that not all advice is good advice, even that given by well-intentioned friends. We learn from Job’s friends that we should not pass judgment on those who suffer. Rather than giving theological dissertations, we should share in their grief, provide comfort, and speak the Word of God into their lives. We must be willing to acknowledge that we do not have all the answers as to the depth or extent of their suffering (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Like Job’s counselors, some people may know the Word but may misapply it because of their traditions, experiences, prejudices, or perceptions. These counselors are speaking “words without knowledge (Job 38:2). Only the scriptures, properly interpreted and applied, can bring healing and deliverance to a struggling soul.
The New American Commentary aptly summarizes the faults of Job’s counselors:
“A review of the speeches of Job’s associates shows that they were poor counselors. They failed in several ways: (1) They did not express any sympathy for Job in their speeches. (2) They did not pray for him. (3) They seemingly ignored Job’s expressions of emotional and physical agony. (4) They talked too much and did not listen adequately. (5) They became defensive and argumentative. (6) They belittled rather than encouraged Job. (7) They assumed they knew the cause of Job’s problems. (8) They stubbornly persisted in their views of Job’s problems, even when their ideas contradicted the facts. (9) They suggested an inappropriate solution to his problem. (10) They blamed Job and condemned him for expressing grief and frustration. Counselors today do well to be sure they do not fail in similar ways.”
AN ANSWER FOR EVERY NEED
A biblical counselor believes that a person does not have to undergo years of therapy. We believe the Bible has the answer to every problem and, when acted upon, the scriptures will manifest true change in the life of the counselee. The only time factor involved in this process is the length of time it might take someone to accept and act upon God’s Word.
At some point in scriptural counseling, a counselee must either accept or reject what God has to say regarding their problems. When the Word of God is rejected, no further progress can be made in terms of biblical counseling. How sad it is when we turn elsewhere for peace, comfort, and release from sin, guilt, grief, and shame when Jesus Christ suffered and died to secure these blessings for us.
Believers experience many of the same conflicts as unbelievers, but they also have additional spiritual conflicts between their new nature and the old nature (Galatians 5:17). Only biblical counseling can deal with these issues from a scriptural perspective and guide a believer in spiritual growth. This is not to discredit any valid contributions by the field of psychology to counseling. It is merely to establish that–as in the case of all secular data–these contributions must be viewed through the lens of scripture.
We serve Jesus Christ, the Wonderful Counselor who has promised that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). When Jesus returned to Heaven, He sent “another counselor” to be with us and dwell within us (John 14:16-18). Biblical counseling is simply learning to release the supernatural power of this resident Counselor through application of scriptural principles.
A DEFINITION OF BIBLICAL COUNSELING
Here is a definition of biblical counseling developed by and agreed upon by experts in the field of biblical counseling:
“Biblical counseling endeavors to build a relationship with another person in which God’s work of change can thrive. It is therefore dependent on the Word of God, the work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of Jesus Christ. It seeks to build a contextualized understanding of the counselee (past and present) and will view that data through the lens of Scripture. The Biblical counselor rests in the knowledge that he is not the change agent, but a tool in the hands of the One who is. The biblical counselor does not ignore physical issues or emotional data, but seeks to integrate them into a holistic understanding of the person and where change needs to take place. The biblical counselor is not adversarial in his relationship to the psychologies of his culture, but examines research and insights through the lens of Scripture. In his work with the counselee the biblical counselor always recognizes the sovereignty of God, the transformative grace of Christ, and the insight-giving and conviction-producing ministry of the Holy Spirit. In all of this the biblical counselor sees himself not as an isolated instrument of change, but one whose work is intimately connected to God’s primary tool of change; the church, with all of its God-ordained, duties, structures and means of grace.”
Biblical counseling relies upon the Word of God rather than theories that are rooted in a worldly, defective understanding of human nature (John 17:17). Any method worthy of the name “Christian counseling” must address the root problem of sin and present God’s solution–the redemptive work of Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.
While there may be conditions that warrant legitimate medical treatment, biblical counselors reject the assumptions of the therapeutic culture that offers a pharmacological solution for every problem. Too often, medications only alleviate the symptoms and do not deal with the root causes of issues.
Unfortunately, some believers have lost confidence in the power of God’s Word to change lives because they do not understand and know how to apply the scriptures. Others do not believe the Word actually works for them or they claim miracles are not for today. Such unbelief hinders the work of God in their lives (Matthew 13:58).
Reading the Bible and memorizing verses are good practices, but change will not occur unless the Word of God is understood, believed, and applied. Before the people of Nehemiah’s day experienced a change of heart, Ezra read the Word of God and helped them understand it. They heard, understood, believed, and acted upon the Word, and then change resulted. A biblical counselor must share the scriptures, make certain they are understood, and then direct the counselee in the appropriate response.
Jesus told the Pharisees, “…You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God”
(Matthew 22:29, NKJV). Biblical counseling combines the Word of God with the power of God to effect true change in the lives of hurting people.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. ] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest
(relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29, AMP)
The appeal to come has not changed. Jesus is still calling hurting humanity to come, just as they are–with their burdens, addictions, issues, sins, and failures. He still offers rest, refreshment, and re-creation–new life–as we learn of Him.
Some professional chaplains are counseling in difficult situations where they are forbidden by their employer and/or by law to say things like “homosexuality is a sin,” etc. In such delicate situations, establish with the counselee that the counsel you are providing is not an opinion that you formulated, but it is the Word of God, the Holy Bible. The counselee is seeking biblical counseling, that is what you are providing, and that is what your counsel is based upon. They must make their own personal decision to accept or reject God’s Word.
Father, thank You for helping us to build our intimate needs of significance, self-worth and security on you. Lord Jesus, You are the mighty counselor, the everlasting Father, the king of Kings and the lord of Lords, you have commanded us to be your ambassador and to represent you correctly. Lord, we pray that you will equip us through the sub-series to be all that you have called us to be and to do in Jesus name. Give us a teachable heart that learns, apply to ourselves first, and to other Lord, God. We pray that as a result of our effectiveness, more souls will be added to the kingdom, the backslidden will be restored to the glory of Your name. In Jesus name, we have prayed. Amen
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Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe
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Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe