The Power of Friendship/God’s Word

This article was originally posted on the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s Grace and Truth blog.

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading the third in a multi-part BCC Grace & Truthblog mini-series on Scripture and Counseling. In today’s post, Steve Viars links our trust in the sufficiency of Scripture to the powerful use of Scripture in our daily relationships in The Power of Friendship/The Power of God’s Word. You can read Part 1 by Jonathan Holmes at: Counseling from Isaiah. And you can read Part 2 by Kevin Carson at Advice, Advice Everywhere.

A Counselee Graduates

Last evening I had the privilege of “graduating” one of my counselees. This man came to our church’s counseling center from a neighboring community to discuss an extended episode of suffering in his life. He was secure in his relationship with Jesus and had done a lot of things right during this painful ordeal. There were ups and downs as we worked together but what emerged in part was a delightful spiritual friendship.

At the end of the session, we both concluded that he did not need additional intensive counseling. We agreed that his local church could provide the resources necessary for the next steps in his journey. I thanked him for his commitment and faithfulness to the counseling process. He thanked our church for having this kind of ministry to serve and help those who are hurting. Together we thanked Jesus for all He had done in this man’s life and would continue to do.

Then something unusual—something powerful—happened. My counselee really did not want to leave. And I didn’t want him to leave. I am going to miss my regular conversations with my spiritual friend. That is a bit surprising because honestly, I’m not the most emotionally demonstrative guy around. As my friend Randy Patten likes to say—I rarely cry at the grand opening of a Wal-Mart. But while I was thrilled to see what the Lord had done in this man’s life, I was saddened that this phase of the process was coming to an end.

Sufficient Scripture and Meaningful Relationships

As I continued to reflect on this encounter, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:

“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

I often find myself telling the Lord; “Thank You for making a me biblical counselor.” Last night’s events are just another reason why. Accepting and trying to walk out the gospel of Jesus Christ motivates us to make ourselves available to people in our communities who are hurting. The process is so much more than a stale meeting in a formal office. The Holy Spirit is there helping us see and find Jesus together. The life-changing Word is in our hands helping us find help and hope from Scripture. There is the development of real, genuine, biblical love that is provided in abundance by a loving Father for His children. It really is a beautiful thing to behold and a privilege to experience.

I confess I have a long way to go at learning how to love my counselees well. I get rushed, distracted, cranky—all of that and more. But our powerful God stands ready to help us develop life-changing and life-giving relationships with one another. I thank Him for making such opportunities possible and long for the day when no one will be leaving.

Join the Conversation

When was the last time you thank God for making you a biblical counselor? What are some of the joys of being a biblical counselor?

Steve ViarsSteve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.
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