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God's Glory

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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.

Posted by Matt Norman with

God's Redemption

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Redemption is God’s act. At its core, He chooses us, predestines us, covers our sins, credits Jesus’s righteousness to us, kills our captor, disarms sin’s power, lives with us, opens our eyes, grows our desires for Him, prepares good works for us to walk in, gives us power to endure difficulty, and secures an inheritance where we will be with Him forever. These are things that God alone has done, is doing, and will do. They are all parts of a single act of redemption accomplished by Jesus’s cross. Everything depends on God acting. Everything.

This is our only sure footing as biblical counselors. Without this, we have no foundation and no reason to expect real change. We’d otherwise be left to confounding, humanistic theories on change that shift with each generation. God’s redemption allows us to rest as we work hard. It also means divine power is at work in the otherwise menial things we do as counselors.

Redemption being God’s act is a refuge that protects us from the storm of seizing control by anger and manipulation when people are stagnant. It secures us from losing hope when we feel like we’re at our wit’s end. It covers us during fears of not knowing what to do, giving us at the very least a clear direction to steer. It shields us from pride when people experience dramatic change. It causes us to endure during challenging times and to lay aside our fixation on our reputation. It keeps us dependent, praying, and sober.

What I want this to change is how you approach counsel. If you approach things as if it all stands or falls on your performance, you’re going to burn out quickly. Even worse, you’ll be self-focused, godless, and ever revolving around your performance. When things go well, you will puff up. When they go poorly, you will hang your head in shame. If everything depends on God, however, in times of clear progress, you gaze with joy on a God who gives good things. And in times of stagnation, you gaze with joy on a God who is wise and knows things you don’t.

In all of this, we’re doing precisely what we are counseling others to do. We’re securing our eyes and hopes to God Himself. Gazing on His provision, we perpetually experience the very change we’re leading others toward.

Posted by Matt Norman with

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