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Moving the eyes of your counselee’s heart away from you, as their helper, to God, the everlasting Helper, should be the primary goal of your first counseling session. How can you do this, practically speaking? Here’s some basic guidance.
Begin by thanking the person for showing a desire to seek God’s help for their particular life struggle. Assure them you are not the fixer-upper man or woman, but that God is our Helper and He has given His infallible Word and Spirit to be our counselors (Ps. 119:105; John 14:26). Remind them that Jesus is the merciful and empathetic High Priest who has experienced every form of suffering we can imagine and more (Heb. 4:15). Read Psalm 46 together.
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Instruct them that, since Jesus is our High Priest, the door to God’s throne room is already open (Heb. 4:16; 10:19-20). Lead them in prayer. Thank God for being our ever-present help in times of trouble, and ask Him to guide your time together, lead you into His truth, open your spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear from His Word, make your hearts teachable, help you to be slow to speak and quick to listen to each other, give hope, and move your wills to be doers of the Word and not merely hearers who delude ourselves (Ps. 119:12, 18; James 1:19, 22).
Read Proverbs 18:13 to them, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.” Then say something like, “This verse tells us that it is foolish to speak before listening. Since I have no desire to be a fool, I plan to let you do most of the talking today. I will probably ask you a lot of questions. My goal is to listen more than I speak.”
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