You may wonder about this line of conversation I am having with you, and why I am making such a big deal out of all this gospel stuff. I have learned over the past several years that even as a Biblical Counselor I was for years misguided in my thinking about the centrality of the gospel and the preeminence of the cross in discipleship.
When I first began counseling and discipling women, it was stressed to us to be sure our counselee was a Born Again Christian because if they were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit they could not change. But from that point on, the gospel was never mentioned! It appeared to be one item on the check list of things to do and from that point on it was a matter of process. Once we got the whole issue of salvation "out of the way" we could progress to meeting the challenges and issues the counselee brought to the table.
Now, if any of you were counseled, discipled, or taught by me in that manner I sincerely ask your forgiveness. Please understand I acted in ignorance and have since learned and grown in wisdom and discernment.
The Bible is the Gospel! All things in the Bible point us to Christ our Sacrifice, Christ our Redeemer, Christ our Justification, Propitiation, and Lord. It is the story of our salvation and the cross of Christ plays THE central role in it.
The Discipleship Counselor must remember to preach and teach this Gospel to believers in the counseling room. Too often I think we tend to use the Gospel in one dimension, as a set of biblical principles for living rather than our means to growth. The Gospel must be in every session and every piece of homework we have. It is time for us to realize that there is nothing deeper than this. The Gospel is it. All we believe and teach rises and falls on it as our foundation and everything we say and do in our private lives as well as our ministries must, must, must be based upon it, and immersed in it.
The problems people bring to us have to be viewed in the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Often our counselee's struggle with guilt and shame and are locked into Performance Based Christianity; the kind that says: "As long as I am obeying, I am accepted." Thus setting up a foundation of "Religion" for themselves, and omitting the need for the cross and the gospel. They view their struggles with the flesh as something God is not in the midst of and cannot understand that their struggles exist at all is because of that relationship with Christ, because they already are accepted!
When the proper Gospel-centered thinking is in place, those we disciple will begin to understand that, "I am accepted because of Christ and that is why I desire to obey, and why I do obey."
I am going to try to present this to you over a series of posts, but since I am truly reformatting my own thinking as I go, and I post daily so these thoughts may not be connected every day.
You are welcome to join in this process with me Sisters, I always welcome your comments.
Labels: Counseling, Discipleship, Gospel Centered