27 Mar 2010

How would you counsel such people?

Submitted by theshovel
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Hello Bro Jim, I now have had 2 guys that have come to me for spiritual help that ended up so depressed that they required meds for depression … The one believed in Lordship salvation for years and the other believed that you could lose your salvation. They both came to me for help asking how they can gain assurance of salvation. Either the problem is in me and what I am saying or it is them. Their problems after my counseling them became identical and that is what has me concerned and that is what I need to talk to you about. The way I counsel people like them is to get them to not see their works, their faith, their feelings but only the truth of God’s word. I have to tell them that Christ accomplished the work so there are no steps that are required to be saved … I will tell them that God has already been reconciled to them. How God is no longer imputing our sins to our account. I try various illustrations that explain the completeness of His work … I tie that into how we are in this world today. God has done it all and that is all one needs to realize … Now the problem happened when these 2 guys I counseled tried focusing on what Scripture says instead of their feelings, sight and so on. Their conscience seems to be hammering them even harder. They come to me and tell me that they feel so depressed and agitated. One guy said he felt like killing himself and that bothered me. One other guy had to go for some extensive psychological treatment. I am now wondering whether I am the cause of this. I believe I am lifting up Christ and these guys fall further into the mire. I tried explaining to the one guy this morning that the carnal mind is at enmity with God … I stressed the need to confess God’s truth regardless of what their feelings were telling them … Do you have any suggestions? Am I counseling these guys wrong? How would you counsel people such people? Thank you, Dave

Hello, my friend, Dave! :)

First, realize that sometimes people who come to you (even in pairs) may simply be those who are ready to take a nosedive, so don’t assume this situation is about what or how you have counseled them. It may have nothing whatever to do with you.

According to your description of your typical counseling approach, I do hear many good points and illustrations (I especially like your comments on faith), but the whole thing sounds a little too formulaic to me. It comes across as if you are trying too hard. You said they came to you to gain assurance of salvation. I understand what that means to you, but what does it actually mean to them? Considering everything you have discussed with these two guys, what one main concern—other than the obviously stated desire for assurance—do you hear from each?

For example, when the rich man came to Jesus with his obvious question, what one thing did Jesus hear behind the words that formed the devastating question he left him with? Now, I know you don’t want to send these guys walking away disheartened, but it may even be possible that they have built their confidence in the flesh so strongly that you have shaken them beyond their ability to deal with it. If so, they were probably ripe for a meltdown. :) What I’m suggesting is that you not be afraid of letting them become shocked at that which they have put their confidence. Don’t worry about trying to make it sensible with another sure-fire illustration, rather listen for that which is being shaken within them. And then respond to what you hear, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

These 2 guys keep coming back saying, “My thoughts have grown worse. They are nagging me all day long. I “try” to think God’s thoughts, but my other thoughts overwhelm those right out of my head.” Dave

They are telling you something here. Do you hear it? After all, why would their thoughts be growing worse? What do you suppose they consider it to mean to “think God’s thoughts”? And then how would that only lead to frustration and competition between their other thoughts? Listen to the real desperation behind their confusion. It’s all about the difference between the wisdom of God versus the wisdom of man.


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Yes I see the law at work here: These 2 guys keep coming back saying, “My thoughts have grown worse. They are nagging me all day long. I “try” to think God’s thoughts, but my other thoughts overwhelm those right out of my head.”-DAVE Not only that but, as one on the receiving end of intellectual Bible ‘answers’ that were ABOUT the ‘grace’ of God, I can testify that THIS set up will make one crazy. For if this person is giving me Bible information without any feeling behind it, love or care then I simply hear nothing but, the impossibility of grasping it.[for it is only a formula] It is not worth the effort involved. I mean the two men looking for council are rightly asking ” who knows if this guy even has the Truth?” He is just spouting out grace doctrine that we know inherently is of the flesh. The depression these guys felt was all NORMAL. For it was the reasoning of Life in them clashing against the impossibility of standards. It was simply easier for their weary hearts to give into ‘craziness’. This is the same thing that can happen with ‘Christian counseling”. For the reality within those truly born of God will speak to us that their is nothing real in the realm of human understanding,principals,methods,rituals and grace formulas. Yeah that means their vein reasonings too. [like: “I know, I will give them scriptural PROOFS then they will be really getting the Truth”] You see no formula, no method, no emptied scripture reference, no outward thing is going to satisfy the weary heart. For with those methods we are only using the flesh to feed the flesh. No, it is only true understanding given to those with true understanding that freedom from craziness becomes a reality.

When I started hearing about”grace” I was similarly shaken. At first my heart took to the news with joy and gladness, but soon after, the flesh and its reasoning kicked in. Oh how tormented I was! I could not sleep, I felt even worse than I was before i began to hear about grace. I contemplated suicide and “walking away from the faith” for long. I thank God for His mercies and compassion as well. I thank God for Christ in me the Hope of Glory. I believe I am where I am now not because of anything I could have done or said or spoken to myself, but by the grace of GOD. By the working of the Spirit of Christ in me. I cant explain it, I cannot provide a formula or HOW-TO. All I can say is that it is his grace and mercy. It may seem hard right now for those guys but I Know that Christ in them is the Hope of Glory and that he who has started that good work in them will bring it to completion. I know that even their current situation is working towards their good that they be conformed in the image of the Son of God.

i understand the being ‘shaken’ part. i can so relate! i have not thought about it for quite some time. early on when i was awakened in Christ, i knew it was all His grace, by His grace, out of His grace, because of His grace, etc. the Spirit was alive and well in me and i was sooo energized and excited and feeling ‘ALIVE’!! for the first time in my life EVER! (i was about 17 years old then. that was many decades ago now. LOL) it did not take long for the mind of fear, guilt and shame to come along like a darkened lampshade to cover and even try to put out the Light that was shining bright in me and from me. :( that mind was coming from conditioned thinking that i had known all too well all my life up to that point, and was from and out of the death i had just been called out of, as well as from plenty of other sources outside myself. a lot of it even from within the very ‘ministry’ that was ‘discipling’ me. that began to birth all kinds of confusion and frustration, irritation and agitation, not to mention all the exasperation that it would lead to over and over again. this lasted for me for years! however, in the midst of it all and despite it all, the love of Christ in me was all pervasive and persevering. LOL i thank GOD so much for that, despite all the intense inner turmoil, heartache and excruciating emotional pain! i learned and continue to learn that there is a Nature to the New Creation He has made us, and that New Creation Nature comes from the very Life of Christ in us, out of and from the very Nature of GOD HIMself. despite the circumstances, situations and ‘feelings’ we may suffer, experience, etc. that Nature is very much a Spiritual Nature and is true and eternal and secure in Him and in us.  :) i especially LOVE what you said here: “I thank God for Christ in me the Hope of Glory. I believe I am where I am now not because of anything I could have done or said or spoken to myself, but by the grace of GOD. By the working of the Spirit of Christ in me. I cant explain it, I cannot provide a formula or HOW-TO. All I can say is that it is his grace and mercy.” AMEN and AMEN!! Spirit to Spirit … His Spirit in us witnesses within us that these things are TRUE!  :) Lovely! thank you so much for sharing your heart! :)
theshovel's picture

Thank you for this excellent encouragement, my friend.


Thanks Visitor for this encouragement. Really cool.

The feeling of not being in control , for I am the master of my life and with enough education and information I can accomplish anything, is one of things that has been a huge hindrance.

 After failing over and over and over , to keep thinking I can find an answer within myself, or an answer from another person , is a lesson in futility. The wisdom of man to fix the corruption of man.

As part of the collective fallen state of man , I observe how we refuse to listen to God and we actually think we might be able to save ourselves by flying around the universe , trying to restart a new planet and somehow it will be different,  running from our inevitable demise because of entropy, which came about as a direct result of sin. It sounds great to our imagination. We actually think we can find a way out of this with our  human reasoning. And this is just to keep the human race going , never mind that we will all be dead to actually see this happen. Because of all the “accomplishments” of man , we think we are unstoppable. The ultimate striving of futility.

To do an about face and seek the creator and realize He longs for us to turn to Him alone , is an insult to our pride. We are the superior species after all. Evolution has created us this way for us to be the master of our destiny. And we are taught this , from birth. Then throw in the “religious wisdom” of man on top of that and we have a recipe for disaster. A “chaos cake” if you will. It looks good on the outside , with all the delicious frosting , but it hides what is underneath.

 As much as I try to live this life on my own ,there is a direct correlation to the failure of my trying. But thank God He is patient , Love is patient and kind. He could have destroyed us right from the beginning , but I am glad He didn't.

 If I could understand God from a scientific standpoint I would be like Spock. Everything has a rational explanation. How boring that would be. He is much more than our puny brains can even attempt to understand.

 He is my source of life and every breath that I take comes from Him.

 1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

 Hi everybody!





theshovel's picture

Wow! Just wow! :)


Just awesome.  Arnold, it is nice to meet ya!yes


"Christ in You, the Hope"

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