TIPS FOR COUNSELING (by Janine Mick Wills)
In life, there are times when we Christians need counseling (Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety) and times we need to counsel others (Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels). Today I am going to write about giving wise counsel. This is for the time a friend, acquaintance, family member, or even a stranger asks for your advice.
There are four steps when counseling an individual, and they all must first be bathed in prayer and in the knowledge of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness). Let’s consider these steps one-by-one.
THE GOAL AND FOUR STEPS OF COUNSELING ANOTHER*
DOCTRINE-The counselee should be taught the Bible principle or principles that apply to her problem(s), so that the needed change can be accomplished (Luke 4:32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me).
REPROOF-As Bible principles are taught in the power of the Holy Spirit, conviction or reproof (in love-Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent) or rebuke is needed (Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend…).
CORRECTION-(after conviction takes place) Correction is teaching the counselee how to genuinely repent.
- Confessing sin to God and to others, if needed (Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness).
- Asking forgiveness from the wronged person (Matthew 5:23-26; 18:15-17).
- Forsaking sin and the contributing environment and following a new habit-pattern of behavior that is pleasing to God (1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God).
INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS-How to begin the new behavior of righteousness, how to continue that new habit pattern in one’s life, and how to resist the devil in future temptation.
- Reckon yourself dead to sin (Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord).
- Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body (Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof).
- Don’t yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin (Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God).
Though counseling another is a solemn responsibility, it should not be shirked by a blood-bought, living-for-God, Child of God. Yes, there are times when the individual asking for counseling may need more than we, as a layman can offer, but I pray the above will help if someone needs your help.
**The following has been modified from a counseling project I completed while attending
Ambassador Baptist College.