There’s nothing clear about counsel. It’s cloudy. It’s unexpected. It’s disorienting. What we need is not a rulebook or a script. We need a heart that wants the right things. I want to tie our biggest mandate as humans into how we approach others in not only counsel but everyday life.
In beautiful poetic expression, we read the reason we were made:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27)
Think of God as a giant Weigel’s cup. The tiniest splash sneaks off the top, and with that,an entire universe spills out! From its grand expanse to the edges of the visible universe down to the unbelievable complexities of quantum mechanics at work everywhere within this grand expanse, we see one unified message: God is that glorious! He made it with amere overflow of His glory to point to how much greater He, Himself, is!
You and I exist to show God off. When we don’t grasp this as counselors, we’re walking blind.
Your first duty, your most important job at Legacy Church, is to be so enamored and so delighted with God that your greatest desire of all is to see Him and make Him seen (Deut. 6:5). You must engage a daily, momently discipline of consciously recalling, beholding, and delighting in who God is. Without a heart that first longs for God to be seen more clearly above all other longings, we will approach others wrongly and lead them in the wrong direction, no matter how much doctrine we have right in our heads.
Counsel is unexpected by nature. Not only can you not predict what another will bring to the table when you plan a meeting with them, you cannot even predict when you will meet with them. We counsel in our community groups. We counsel at the dinner table. We counsel in the grocery store. We counsel in any opportunity that meets us. We counsel in the car after we snap at our spouse in anger. Counsel sneaks up on you, often while your heart is being fleshly and you have to repent as you counsel.
The only way to do counsel well in cloudy, messy, unpredictable life is to have hearts that truly have one overarching desire at any and all times: to know a glorious God and to make Him known. This desire must be stronger and more moving than fear, comfort, security, reputation, self-justification, and vindication. God has to be that glorious to you, a real glory you can sink your teeth into, a glory you really delight in. We must be able to counter our flesh when we’re accused and say, “I know I want to defend myself right now, but I delight more in brushing that aside in order to show you who God is!”
No matter what you face, if you greatest longing is for them to see God, you’re heading in a good direction.