Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Friendship Counseling, Part 1

David Powlison @ asks:

How can we help our friends mature? How can they help us? According to Scripture we grow up by "speaking truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). That phrase, which over the centuries sadly has become cliché, is quite a challenge to really put into practice.

Let's chew over these words again:
  • Tell the truth in a caring and constructive way.
  • Tell the truth ... in a caring and constructive way.
  • Tell the truth ... in a caring and constructive way.

When our words walk in the light of God's Truth:

  • Because Jesus deals with reality, we deal with what is actually going on in ourselves, in others, in the situation we're facing.
  • Because "truth is in Jesus" (Ephesians 4:21), we deal with what is true from God and about God.
What questions do we ask?
  • When we think about our own life and struggles, what do you ask ourselves? What are you looking for?
  • What do we ask others — whether out loud or simply in the background of our thinking? What are we listening for? What do we care to know?
  • What questions do we ask the Bible? What are we looking for as we read or listen?
So Question #1 is "What are we facing?" To put it more pointedly, what is our struggle right here, right now? Where do we need help?

Question #2 asks, "What does the Lord say that speaks directly into what we are facing?"

Every moment tests us. God says three profound things about that testing.
  • First, every fork in the road reveals who we really are and what we live for. That's sobering. Most often what comes out reveals self-centeredness.
  • Second, Jesus was tested in the same ways that we are, and He chose right in every moment. This Jesus is always willing to show us mercy and able to offer us help (see Hebrews 2:18, 4:15-16). This is inconceivably wonderful.
  • Third, whatever we face can become an occasion for joy and the firming up of our faith. The very awareness of our shortcomings, our sufferings, and our need draws us to God and to an experience of His generosity. He freely gives wisdom when we discover that we lack what's called for (see James 1:2-5). God meets us exactly where we struggle. That's not just a nice theory.

The Therapeutic Gospel: Part 2 by David Powlison
The Therapeutic Gospel: Part 1 by David Powlison
Sane Faith, Part 3 by David Powlison
Sane Faith, Part 2 by David Powlison
Sane Faith, Part 1 by David Powlison

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