By Jen Jang
During the summer, we considered the importance of biblical counseling in the church. Biblical counseling is the personal ministry to individuals, in which members of the body of Christ move toward one another in care. With the secularization of counseling, many have come to believe that counseling is reserved only for the professional. Scripture, however, calls all believers to love and care for others. Yes, that includes you and me.
So today we want to consider one of the ways we can engage in biblical counseling. Where do we even start? My short answer is: you just start! You and I engage in biblical counseling when we begin moving toward others.
Throughout Scripture, we see that God is an Initiator. The Triune God initiated creating the world and creating you. He initiated a grand plan of salvation through his Son, and he initiated saving you. God initiates relationships and moves towards people throughout Scripture. From speaking to Adam first to selecting and shepherding Israel as His people, the examples of God pursuing people are endless. And when we think about this personal God in our lives, we see how he has pursued us throughout our lives. From creating you to saving you, the examples of God pursuing you is endless.
Sometimes reading and learning about God’s initiative works can seem distant. He made the world and made a way to save sinners. It is nothing new to you. However, Scripture tells us that, “In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:4-5). Reflect on that for a moment. In love he predestined us for adoption. God’s pursuit of us is not just a fact of life but a fingerprint of his love. God pursues a relationship with us in love, and if we are called to be like him then we also must pursue others in love.
What are some practical ways we can move toward others? Here are several suggestions:
- Initiate a deeper relationship. If you are already acquaintances or familiar with someone, then you can initiate getting closer with them by talking with them and asking to meet up. Eventually, the contact can become more consistent, as they feel more comfortable with you.
- Follow-up with people after they share something personal.
- Text, email, or call someone sharing that he/she is on your heart. Ask how he/she is doing and or how you can pray for him/her.
- Ask someone to get coffee or a meal.
- Have intentional conversations by asking thoughtful questions. (Of course, while being aware of the other person’s comfort-level!) This can happen in church settings or during one-on-one meet-ups.
- Pray for someone before or after church. You can ask for their prayer request too.
The list is endless, and we invite you to begin pursuing others. Initiate like the Initiator and consider taking the initiative to care for someone today.