Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Competent to Counsel

Compassionate, sympathetic, dependent, broken. These are words that describe most of the believers I know who suffer with chronic pain or disability. Because they suffer, they are able to relate to others who are suffering, and encourage them with the comfort they have received from God in their suffering. Interestingly, those first four words above also describe disciplers, or what some would call counselors. Broken people who know that they are dependent on God for everything are usually compassionate and sympathetic. Does this describe you? Have you ever thought of becoming a discipler or counselor in your own community?

Even if you do not want to do “formal” counseling, but would like to learn more about how to disciple others who come to you with their trials, some training can greatly improve you effectiveness with those you are mentoring. Romans 14:15 says,  “But I myself am fully convinced about you, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.” So the Lord has told us that we are able to instruct, or counsel one another. Training in biblical counseling will help you to express the truths you have learned in a way that will get to the heart of the person you’re trying to help, and make your encouragement more effective.

Learning specific methods for comforting others with the comfort you have received can even help you to comfort and encourage yourself on difficult days. I can attest to this! I finished my certification last year, and I can honestly tell you that I am a different Christian than I was before my training. I have known and understood the Scriptures for most of my adult life, but what I learned in my counseling training helped me to apply those truths in ways I would never have come up with on my own. I especially learned how to ask good questions that get to the heart of the problem. Now, I ask myself these same questions whenever I begin to feel my own attitude going downhill. Much of what I’ve written on this blog is the result of asking myself good questions to redirect my thoughts whenever they are circling the drain.

So, have I convinced you yet to explore the possibility of getting some training? Good! Now, I want to tell you about an exciting opportunity for you to receive excellent training in biblical counseling. I believe this will appeal to you especially, as one who suffers from health problems or disability. Even if you have thought about getting training in biblical counseling, it can be difficult to sit through classes when every joint aches, and it is very frustrating to have to miss classes because of pain or exhaustion. Reigning Grace Counseling Center, where I was trained, now offers that same training online! The program is done 100% through the internet. There is no traveling or sitting for long hours in a classroom, and you can do the training at your own pace. If you’d like to learn more about it, visit their website at www.rgcconline.org, or if you’d like a small sample of the program, go to www.tracks.rgcconline.org.

Nothing will get your mind off yourself like preparing to minister to someone else! Won’t you prayerfully consider this opportunity? I honestly do not know how I would be handling my condition now if it hadn’t been for the Reigning Grace Counseling Center training program. I learned so much about my own heart, and why I respond to trials the way I do. I gained an understanding of how my thoughts fuel my feelings and actions, and how to take those thoughts captive to Christ. I have learned to use my physical condition as a springboard for many discipling opportunities, both in and out of the counseling room. Since I started counseling, I have not become stuck in self-pity or depression, because I am constantly studying the Scriptures so that I can encourage that next counselee. Daily, I am amazed by the universal application of Scripture. No matter what someone is dealing with, there is a passage or principle of Scripture that applies to that situation.


Friend, there are so many believers who are suffering right now. They need the hand of someone a little further down the road of suffering to reach back and help them along. Could that be you? I hope you will prayerfully consider this opportunity to learn and grow. You will never regret learning how to come alongside a suffering sister and show her how to reach a place of peace and contentment in her heart, regardless of her circumstances. Our Lord is a mighty Redeemer. Perhaps He wants to redeem your pain and suffering by using it to encourage the sons and daughters of His kingdom!