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Summary: Using Scripture as our frame of reference message talks about: 1. Identifying your need for counseling. 2. Identifying the right source for good counsel. 3. Evaluating the counsel that is given to you. 4. Implementing the counsel you receive.

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Getting Counsel

Proverbs 12:15

8-24-03

Richard Tow

Grace Chapel Foursquare Church

Springfield, MO

www.gracechapelchurch.org

“You need to get counseling!” Have you ever had someone say that to you? Maybe they didn’t use those exact words. Maybe they said, “You don’t need a psychiatrist, you need a whole team of psychiatrists!” In some way the recommendation was made that you seek advice from an outside source.

This morning I want to address the very practical issue that all of us face from time to time—the issue of getting counsel—drawing advice from others.

When is it needed? When is it a waste of time? Where do you go and what do you do when you need counsel?

Using the scripture as our frame of reference I want to talk with you about:

1. Identifying your need for counseling.

2. Identifying the right source for good counsel.

3. Evaluating the counsel that is given to you.

4. Implementing the counsel you receive.

I. Identifying our need for counsel:

To what extent should I take the responsibility to solve the problem on my own and to what extent do I go to someone else for help?

There are some areas of life in which we tend to seek counsel without much hesitation. If my car breaks down I take it to the garage and get help with the problem. If my plumbing breaks I call a plumber. Ladies, when you go to your hairdresser do you ever ask advice about what style might look best on you? When I go to the doctor and get an examination I want the doctor to give me some guidance on how I can take card of my physical problem. If he gives me a prescription I get it filled and take the pills.

But for some reason we are less prone to seek counsel on spiritual issues or emotional issues. When my career is not satisfying and fulfilling what do I do? Most of us just suck it up and go to work. Is that the best solution? If my marriage is in trouble, if my kids are having problems, if I’m experiencing emotional struggles do I seek counsel?

There is something in everyone of us that would like to be self sufficient especially in those areas—in need of no one—which by the way is not reality. On the other hand, there is something in everyone of us that would appreciate some help in making this journey called life.

On a scale of one to ten are you a one—someone who is very reluctant to seek help. Or are you a ten—a person who immediately seeks counsel when the problem is encountered.[1] I would suggest that neither extreme is particularly healthy.

First, let me address the propensity to go it alone—trying to be self-sufficient without seeking counsel. There is value in that (to a point). There is sometimes much to be gained in the process of problem solving. For example, my son-in-law, John, is very handy at fixing the car when it gives problems. He is a great handy man around the house. He learned most of that because instead of calling a mechanic to repair the car and instead of calling the plumber to fix the leak, he jumped in and tried to fix it himself. In the process he may have had to get some advice but he learned a whole lot dealing with the problem. I, on the other hand, call the plumber and take the car to the shop. As a result I still have very limited knowledge in those areas. The good news is I also still have my sanity.

What am I saying? I’m saying that in the long run a short cut is not always a short cut.

Now let me apply that principle to something a little more abstract. Suppose instead of a plumbing leak you have a relationship problem. If you avoid the problem by simply avoiding the person or if you hand the problem off to someone else, how much do you learn about conflict resolution? It is when you are willing to roll up your sleeves and walk through the difficult task of confrontation and forgiveness that you learn how to fix relationships.

Early in our marriage Jeanie was extremely non-confrontational. In almost every conflict situation she got into, I would step in and resolve it for her. But as we got into full time ministry and later when she began working outside the home more and more scenarios developed where I could not do that. When she was working at Cloth World years ago I could not go to her employer and fellow employees and establish boundaries. She had to do that herself. She drew advice from me but she handled it. God was developing her in that area and now she is very capable of handling those kinds of issues herself. Sometimes God has us in His training program and by His design there is nobody to hand the ball to—we must carry it into the end zone ourselves.

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