Whether you consider yourself a counselor or not, you still function as a counselor with your friends. Christians can be used by God to share His Word with anyone who is hurting. But, just how do you prepare yourself when someone needs your personal help? Since you do not know when God will bring a person to your life for help, you should know the basics of preparation. I hope the following excerpt from- The Word for the Wise , chapter 6 will be of help to you.
1. Make sure there is no unconfessed sin in your life. You can do this by scanning chapter 3 and by using the Spirit-Controlled Living vs. Sin-Controlled Living chart as a mirror. This chart is based on Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:28-31; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:25-31; and 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Scan the right-hand column. As you do, ask the Lord to show you any sin in your life. You can be adding to this list as the Lord sheds light on your path through Bible study and listening to people tell you their experiences. Make sure that your additions can be referenced by Scripture.
2. Confess any known sin and by faith receive the cleansing that is promised.
3. Run your eye down the left-hand column. If you are clean in heart, you are now eligible to claim the fullness of the Spirit by faith.
4. Remember Jesus’ promise:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Then, ask the Lord to fill you with that Spirit of truth as you listen to the person’s story you are about to hear. Remember the following:
- Your plan is to listen to the counselee’s story until a violation of a biblical principle is revealed.
- Continue to listen until the counselee’s story confirms your judgment and they agree (e.g., He is a very angry man and hates his wife).
- Let the counselee look at a biblical mirror (Spirit-Controlled Living vs. Sin-Controlled Living). It may help the counselee identify some sin they are not even thinking about.
- Ask questions that require biblical answers.
- You must judge when the counselee is ready to face sin in their life. If the counselee accepts the truth (anger and hate is sin) it becomes their own truth. If they repent–admits to the sin, seeks forgiveness and cleansing, asks for filling and control of the Spirit, you can move on. If not, you are stalled until they do.
- If people repent, they should be encouraged to approach God on their own when needed.
- Get the counselee started (alone or in a group) in The Heart Of The Problem workbook.
- Follow up. Make a date for the next appointment.
- Remember, there were three involved in that interview: the counselee, the Holy Spirit, and you. Reflect for a moment and recall how God led you.
Daily walking in a love relationship with Jesus Christ is essential preparation for biblical discipleship. Your mind must be the instrument through which God shares His wisdom with the counselee.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Ask as many questions as possible that require scriptural answers. Once you have prepared your heart and mind, then prepare by having the necessary tools for discipling. I suggest you have the following available:
- Your Bible
- Spirit-Controlled vs. Sin-Controlled chart
- The Heart of the Problem workbook
- Listening Sheet (see appendix)
These four tools should will be the needed resources to help you guide the person as he/she returns to God.