Encounter With God

Let me start this week with a brief summary of Discipleship Counseling. When one Christian seeks the help of another believer, God is also present and a relationship triangle is formed. God is at the top of the triangle, and the two corners represent the encourager and the inquirer. Each side of the triangle represents a relationship. As an encourager, I always try to keep an honest and intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father. I also need to have a right relationship with the inquirer. Since God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, we are seeking to help the inquirer have a personal and intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father. So far I have attempted to answer the question, who is responsible for what? God is always present, and He will faithfully do His part. Up until now I have been explaining the role and responsibility of the inquirer. Now let’s consider the role of the encourager.

We can pray for an inquirer, but we can’t do their praying for them. We can preach and teach the truth, but we can’t believe for another person, nor can we repent for them. But we can show them how, and help them make the right choices. Although the role of the encourager is limited, it is critically important and needs to be carried out in the presence of God without usurping His role and responsibility. One of my colleagues sets up three chairs when he meets with an inquirer. The third chair is a visible reminder to himself and the inquirer that God is always present. God will empower and guide the encourager, and He is the only One who can set the inquirer free. So both the inquirer and the encourager are dependent upon God.

Discipleship Counseling is an encounter with God, but it is not a power encounter. It is a truth encounter. Every believer has all the authority and power they need, because of their identity and position in Christ. What they need is the truth that will set them free, and Jesus is the Truth. Tomorrow I will explain the classic “power encounter” and contrast that with the “truth encounter.”

Dr. Neil

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