Can I Become a Biblical Counselor?

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. Romans 15:14 (NASB) 

I am frequently asked how a person can know if they have "what it takes" to be a biblical counselor. The first thing I say is you must be a committed Bible believing Christian who takes the Word of God seriously. Instruction must be covered in prayer and faithful to the chosen text of Scripture. Be wary of the “what it means to me” method of Scripture interpretation.  

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 come alongside other people. Teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, and 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 counsel must be presented in a spirit of meekness, with a kind and patient heart. Many of the people we meet with have never heard this kind of biblical truth before. While what you say will be plain to you, it may not be to them. Keep in mind that much of the church is very psychologized and is accustomed to weak theology that does not emphasize the disastrous role of sin in our lives. Patience is required as you may explain the same truth over and over as you help them to grasp the truth. 

There is occasionally a temptation to become angry or impatient with them, especially if they tend to make the same errors repeatedly. There are other more productive steps to take in this case that will reveal the true issue behind the repeated failures. You will see that it is usually not worth it to rebuke this counselee in anger or display a harsh attitude toward them. 

Also remember to consider yourself as you teach, rebuke, correct and train others. Some of the best counseling that takes place in my office is happening to me! Galatians 6 tells us to be very careful about this business of discipling others because it is so very easy to become prideful in the process. Think about pastors and other church leaders who were involved in counseling and are now divorced or have scandal attached to their names because of falling into immorality. They said it could never happen to them, they would not, could not ever sin like the others! The reality is that you and I are only one thought away from acting on the worst of sins. 

We must examine ourselves honestly in the light of Scripture. If you have a tendency to be critical it will serve you well and hurt you as a Biblical Counselor. Discernment is of course crucial, but beware that you don’t become strictly a fault finder. If you are blunt or pointed in speech it is easy to be misunderstood as harsh and uncaring. Endeavor to be loving in dealing with people. 

Be prayerful, be intentional in forming relationships, and be the hands and feet of Jesus. In doing these things you will become an excellent Biblical Counselor.