This is a good question. When speaking to people about our training classes sometimes people say they don’t think they are qualified to be a biblical counselor or discipler.
We get our answers for the question from God’s Word. It is our only authority.
We find an excellent outline for the necessity of the biblical counselor in Gal. 6:1. many of us are familiar with this passage of Scripture that tells us that we are to help one another.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Galatians 6:1
We all are to counsel. We are called to a role of being reconcilers, each one of us.
Galatians 6:1 says, “you who are spiritual, restore such a one”. Paul is saying that only spiritual people are qualified to counsel spiritual people.
The spiritual person is described in many places in the New Testament. First, it means that they must be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent of change in the life of the Christian and it is impossible for the unbeliever to have the mind of Christ and know how to spiritually direct a believer.
So the presence of the Holy Spirit in the counselor is a requirement if we are going to be spiritual and fulfill Gal. 1, and be able to counsel biblically.
An unbeliever is not qualified to advise or counsel a believer. An unbeliever is coming from a totally different perspective than a believer, and will have different morals and values. The believer has as his or her authority the unchangeable Word of God. The unbeliever has as their authority social morays and personal values, all which are subjective and changeable.
The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to give spiritual wisdom. No Christian counselor is worth is salt if he or she is not able to give spiritual wisdom for worldly wisdom is not eternal.
Our wisdom comes from the Bible. (Rom.15:4) the Holy Spirit makes the Word of God alive to us and enables it to feed our hearts and minds. It brings encouragement and hope to us for the future and the promise of change.
The Holy Spirit provides the desire for change. Apart from Him none of us would ever desire anything of God. He has to draw us to Himself and the Spirit does that. He also provides the ability to change. Because all true change is first heart change, a person must be indwelt by the only One who can change the human heart. The Holy Spirit also brings the righteousness of Christ, the desire for the Word, and the love for the counselee that we need to minister to them. The Holy Spirit also teaches us what is important to God. He teaches us what is important to God and “makes” it important to us. Without His influence and leading, we would not care what is important to God. He also sensitizes us to the things of God, and His presence in our lives is why we can literally hurt inside when we see ungodliness.
To be qualified as a biblical counselor also means that the person’s character is visible as proceeding from the Holy Spirit and our lives are characterized by Eph 4:1, and Gal. 5:16, and Rom 15:16. We have to be examples – not sinless perfection- but have some measure of obvious growth in overcoming sinful problems of our own.
We must be striving toward living by the Spirit and not gratification of the lusts of the flesh. People should be convinced as Rom 15:14 says that we are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Each person who desires to disciple another really ought to see to fulfill the requirements for Deacons and Elders as stated in 1 Timothy 3. This is not to look good to others for the sake of pride, but it is so that we can state with confidence “imitate me as I imitate Christ” as Paul did (1 Cor. 11:1)
You are qualified to be a biblical counselor if you have a desire to help people. There is undoubtedly something different about people helpers. Many are described as having gifts of mercy, encouragement, discernment, and compassion. Others are servants and givers, and still others are truth tellers who desire to redirect the sheep that have wandered off the path.
There are some personal requirements for those who desire to restore others in addition to what has already been said.
Restoration must be done with affectionate admonition because included in the greatest imperative of Jesus Christ was to love one another. Our love is to be sacrificial for those we counsel. Our instruction must be covered in prayer and faithful to the text of Scripture we choose. We must be wary of the “what it means to me” method of hermeneutics.