An important part of our journey the 4 Streams. It’s import to remember what is the purpose behind it all. What is the offer that God has given to us through Jesus Christ? This is restoration. Pure restoration of our hearts as his image bearers as both men and women. Again, these 4 Streams are key essentials to that restoration. Isaiah 61; Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Again, John Eldredge lays all of this out clearly his book “Waking the Dead.” It’s all essential for growth and restoration in our brokenness.
Today, I am going to deeper dive into the stream of Counseling, or rather Seeking God’s Intimate Counsel. This is so critical as it touches the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit learning to invite God’s Spirit into the depths of heart. As with the other streams, this one stems from first learning to walk with God. All the streams are interrelated in some way, but we have to be able to know how to walk with God to learn to seek his counsel, healing, and deal with warfare. Dallas Willard says, “God created us for intimate friendship with himself-both now and forever.” This goes beyond just reading Scripture. We have to talk to God and invite him in.
So back to counseling, I believe this is very critical for all of us. Counseling involves seeking truth in our hearts both from God and those that God uses to counsel us. Psalm 51 says that God desires truth in our innermost being. If have not read Psalm 51, check it out. This is after David had his affair with Bathsheda. He is broken now. This Psalm is where he lays out his whole confession. He is seeking God for his counsel. “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit” (vs 12). He is seeking God’s counsel and inviting into himself. He is laying it all out for God and allowing God to come deep down into his heart to restore him.
It takes the intervention of God to get down deep into our hearts to show us what we may not know was there. To show us things in our brokenness that we either tried to forget or with all that goes on in life probably never even recognized it. We have to be able to allow God in so that he can bring us to the place of our brokenness and then bring us to the fourth stream of healing, which I will cover next time.
In John 14:16, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” This Helper is the Holy Spirit. Our Counselor, Comforter, Strength, and Guide. Jesus offers the Holy Spirit to those that know him and the Holy Spirit is here to take us in those place in our heart that we don’t know. The story and journey of our life is what has happened to our heart along the way. What has brought about our brokenness? What have have we let define us up till now? The Holy Spirit is hear to help counsel through that and to discern the truth in our hearts.
So what does God do to counsel us and get to the core of our brokenness? As with the other streams, I am learning each day. What I have learned so far, as that he will get at us in different ways. Often times, it involves taking us back to the pain of our brokenness once it’s discovered. John Eldredge said that “Usually what has been laid now in pain in our hearts can usually only be accessed by pain. God will take us right back into our wounds.” He will do this in different ways, too.
One of the first times I remember God doing this was just one normal day. I have been on a journey for these last few years, but never got after my brokenness in anyway. I was just sitting at my computer working in my home office. I had some worship music come on. Actually this happened twice. The first time, Jeremy Camp’s song “I’ll Take You Back” came on. If you have not heart it, go listen to it. I just listened to the words and tears just began to flow. God was getting right into my heart with the offer to take me back. A few weeks later, it happened again, I had music on and this time it was the song by The Afters called “Broken Hallelujah” It hit me again. I knew God was up to something in me. So fast forward a few months to the Wild At Heart Bootcamp and all I can say is, WOW. The work God was doing in me and where he was going in my heart was finally evident to me. He went right down in my brokenness. He showed me wounds I didn’t even recognize. He showed me the brokenness in my sin as well that I never wanted to accept. It was painful, but God went right back in there because that was the only way to confront it, confess, fully repent, and allow God to heal me.
Jesus did this very same thing to Peter at the Sea of Galilee in John 21 after his resurrection. First in a playful manner, he appears to them just as he first did to Peter when they first met. They weren’t catching anything fishing. Jesus again calls to them to cast their nets on the other side and this time they could not even haul in their nets. At this point when John points to Peter that it’s Jesus, in such joy, he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore to him. Jesus hung with the guys and invited them to have breakfast. After eating Jesus does the work on Peter as follows in versus 15-17:
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
You see what Jesus did here. Peter was already broken after having denied Jesus 3 times after Jesus was arrested. Jesus went right back into his brokenness. It was painful for Peter, but it was necessary to bring it out and restore Peter. This is how Jesus counseled him. He went right back into Peter’s wounds. He did the same thing to me when he went into my wounds. He will do the same for if you’re willing. You have to let him in first. We also have to accept our brokenness for what it is. Michael Yaconneli said, “Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.”
If we seek to walk with God this will allow him into the deepest works of our hearts and allow him to counsel us and give us back our hearts. Proverbs 20:5 says, “A plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.” Walking with God will allow him to give us understanding of the broken places in our hearts that we not even recognize or know they are they are. With understanding of our wounds, sins, and agreements we’ve made, we can draw those things out of the deep water, address them and allow God to heal us.
God will also use others to counsel us in different ways. Maybe not always directly, but in the interactions we have. If we are open and receptive to it, we can begin to see what God is telling us. Notice how you react out people. Do you shrink back, do you hide, do you come alive more, etc? Maybe God’s telling you something here as well. This is where the false self may really come out. Go deeper into that and ask God what to do with that and what makes you react that way. This can be added counsel as well. Ever since the fall of Adam, something in every one of us is missing. Figure out what’s missing.
Just know this, Jesus is always ministering to us. Even if we can’t seek professional counseling or pastoral counseling, God’s counsel is always available. Don’t just accept the lies that come out of our wounds. Don’t listen to the false self. John Eldredge added in his teaching of the counseling stream that “The story of your heart and life is the long and sustained assault by the one who knows who you are and who you could be, and fears you.” The enemy is out to assault our hearts and plant himself in our wounds. Seek God’s counsel through it all. He is present throughout the tangledness of our lives. Let him in. Sometimes we may need the professional help, but always know God is willing and able to counsel us and through Jesus has offered his Spirit for us, and will be with us forever.