5 Keys to Common Sense Biblical Counseling

Now, I’m not talking about the kind of counseling where you need a plaque on the wall to do it. I’m talking about the “‘down and dirty’ representing Jesus to help someone” kind of counseling. As Christians, we are called to be available to help others throughout life.

Let me give you five quick keys to making sure that your Biblical Counseling time is fruitful:

Key #1: Keep Christ First and Last

If you are going to sit down and provide someone with counsel, make sure that you start and end the time in prayer. This is the moment where you can invite the Holy Spirit to be part of the conversation. Ask Him to lead the conversation and help you hear what needs to be heard. Too often we just dive right in without taking time to pray. Take a few minutes to focus on God… it will make all the difference in the world.

Key #2: Listen More Than You Talk

This simple key has revolutionized my ability to counsel. There is something about silence that makes us want to fill it. I get uncomfortable when no one is saying anything so I try to fill it with words. When counseling, you need to embrace the silence. Sometimes, the silence allows the opportunity for the person you are counseling to say what they normally avoid saying. Don’t be afraid to sit, be silent and let THEM fill the void.

Key #3: Don’t Excuse Behavior or Make Excuses for Them

In the past, I would find myself trying to defend or “make sense” of people’s situations. This is not my responsibility. Trust me… people can make enough excuses for themselves and they don’t need my help. I am not here to justify mistakes or actions that they have done, but simply hear them through. Bite your tongue next time and don’t let yourself make excuses.

Key #4: Delineate Between the Need for an Ear and the Need for Advice

Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. In fact, I’ve found that some people can actually come up with great conclusions for their lives by simply hearing themselves speak. Others, however, need an action plan or steps to apply to their lives by you. As you are counseling them, try to keep an ear open to what their need is. This can happen by asking them near the end of your time, “What are you going to do with what we talked about?” If they don’t have an answer, this may the moment for your two cents.

Key #5: Don’t Tell Them What to Do, But Allow Them to Search Scripture and Pray to Make Decisions

In Biblical Counseling, I want to point people to the Bible and Prayer. God wants to speak to His children. He wants to lead them in their decisions. The more that I can get someone to focus their heart, mind and attention on God… the more wisdom they will be able to attain from Him. This will happen, sometimes, by opening up the Bible and pointing to verses that deal with the subject of the counseling time. It can also come from giving them portions of scripture to read, think about and commit to memory. Point them towards spiritual action and you allow them to develop strong, healthy habits.

There it is! A few keys to help you help others. Now, get out there and get busy helping people make great decisions and find wholeness in their hearts and lives.

GP

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Crossfit isn’t just exercise… it’s a way of life (video)

So many of my friends have embraced Crossfit. I wish I had one closer because it is right up my alley. Until then, I’ll just jump on boxes, practice my burpees and watch videos like this…

Be inspired! Work hard and embrace the journey.

“For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. Welcome to the grind.” 

GP

Matthew 4: Beach Walks, the Jesus Train and Putting on Your Big Boy Pants

I’d like to think that I am a true disciple of Christ today. I want to think that if Jesus were to come to me and say “Follow Me” that I would quickly jump in his van and head out on a cross country adventure of epic proportions. I want to think that I’d leave it all to follow Him. But, in all honesty, I don’t think that it would be that easy. 

But, the early disciples had to make that decision. 

In Matthew 4, Jesus is traveling around after surviving the 40 days of fasting in the wilderness and the quality time with satan on the mountain. He is walking  down the beach one day and he runs in to two brothers… Peter and Andrew. The Bible records the proposition given to them by Jesus when He said:

“Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Mt. 4:19

At once they look at their friends, say “Peace Out”, and hop on the Jesus train. (My own translation.)

They continue their stroll and come across another two guys who are working with their dad by the names of James and John. Matthew doesn’t record Jesus’ exact words, but describes the scene like this:

“Jesus called them.” 

Those are powerful words for me and they should be powerful words for you too. “Jesus called them”. 

Two thousand years later and not much has changed.  Jesus is still calling people. Jesus is still interrupting our daily lives to tell us that He has a better plan. He is still encouraging us to follow Him. And we, like James and John, are forced to make a decision. There was no “Part Time” positions in the job description that Jesus is laying out. There is only “full time, give it all, leave it all behind, no turning back” positions.

And we are forced to make a decision.

James and John were forced to make a radical decision. It would have included leaving their jobs… It would have included abandoning their careers… And, it would have included walking away from their father who was sitting in a boat with them fixing a net. It would have been leaving your dad to do the work while you followed a rabbi.

Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us if dad gives them the “I’m your daddy and you better listen to me Boy” look or not. Maybe he was happy. Maybe he was excited. Jesus was a great guy for your kids to have the opportunity to learn from. But, upset or overjoyed, it would have been hard.

Following Jesus is hard. 

There is no way around that one. There are moments that are going to be very tough and we will be called to walk away from situations or security or relationships that keep us comfy. But, like the “blankee” that eventually gets put in a drawer and only gets pulled out when you have an extremely bad day, we will have to put some of our “comfort” away.

Think about it. Abraham leaving his homeland. Zacchaeus giving away all the cash. Paul sacrificing religious privilege. Mary letting go of her son. And the list can go on and on. Following God’s plans for our lives can be difficult. 

So, what do we do with that? Well, we put on our big boy pants and realize that the One who we are following has a better plan for our lives than we do. 

Peter had a plan for his life… God’s plan was better. 

James and John’s dad had a plan for their lives… God’s plans were better. 

YOU have a plan for your life… God’s plan IS better. 

Who’s plan are you going to follow. 

It’s not easy, I agree. It’s tough to follow Jesus, but IT IS SO WORTH IT!

You may be tempted to remain in your comfy place, but I want you to reevaluate where you are. You can continue to sit in a boat mending a net, or you can learn how to follow Christ into the adventure of a lifetime.

If I were you… I’d choose the latter.

GP