by Neil Anderson
AN INDISPENSABLE PREREQUISITE
John 17:3 NIV
Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent
The focus of my ministry, both as a pastor and a seminary professor, has been the interrelated ministries of discipling and Christian counseling. I have been a discipler and a counselor of countless individuals. I have also taught discipleship and pastoral counseling at the seminary level and in churches and leadership conferences across the country. Much of my interaction with people has been to expose the insidious reality of Satan's relentless assault of deception on the Christian's mind. He knows that if he can keep you from understanding who you are in Christ, he can keep you from experiencing the maturity and freedom which is your inheritance as a child of God.
I am intrigued by the overlap of the ministries of discipling and counseling. Christian discipleship focuses on truth and tends to be future-oriented, provoking spiritual growth and maturity. Christian counseling considers the past to correct problems and address areas of weakness. Your past has shaped your present belief system and will determine your future unless it is dealt with. Biblically, discipleship and counseling are not separate ministries. Both are intensely personal ministries which are necessary to apply the truth to set people free from their past and establish them complete in Christ.
Furthermore, it is my conviction that discipleship and counseling must both start where the Bible starts: with a knowledge of God and our identity in Christ. If we really knew God, our behavior would change radically and instantly. That's what happened in Scripture. Whenever heaven opened to reveal the glory of God, individual witnesses were immediately and profoundly changed. I believe that the greatest determinant of mental and spiritual health and freedom is a true understanding of God and a right relationship with Him. A good theology is an indispensable prerequisite to a good psychology.
Father, I am eternally grateful to You that in Christ I am a saint dwelling in the heavenlies instead of a sinner wallowing in the mud.
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