I love to help people and see the word and power of God bring healing and restoration into their lives. As a Christian counselor and deliverance minister, the first session I have with clients is vital in gathering data and assessing how much I can likely help them. This article describes five negative indicators that I have seen that tend to work against positive outcomes.
I always want to come out of that first session with an accurate understanding of why they have come to see me and also their current spiritual condition. I’ll be the first to admit that this diagnosis is more of an art than a science, but here are the five red flags that will get my attention:
- Unwillingness to acknowledge their own issues
“My wife/husband thinks I have a problem” is not the optimal response to the question of why they are sitting before me. At some point, they need to open up and move beyond telling me what is wrong with everyone else. God resists the proud (xxx) and this type of response is a huge hinderance.
- No (or little) fear of God
I am using fear here in the context of “reverence” and “worship”, not trepidation and anxiety. Without a revelation of God on many levels, people perish (Hosea 4:6). We should not obey God out of concern for retribution and judgment, but rather as an active response to his love for us. This positive attitude helps put people in a better place for receiving and acting upon proper biblical counsel.
- Religious/legalistic backgrounds
It is a sad reality that many people who know the word of God well are not always in a position to receive and respond to the power of God in their lives. Those with strong, rigid opinions about God and His ways are often difficult to reach. Religious/legalistic doctrines and theologies typically oppose the doctrines of grace, and I am a big “grace” guy.
- Minimal desperation/hope
I love to meet with desperate people! They are open to doing whatever it takes to turn their life situation around. Conversely, those whose bad behaviors are enabled by well-meaning loved ones present a real challenge. Why would they change unless there is an urgency to do so? Similarly, some have a “been-there-done-that” mentality regarding counseling and hope is hanging by a miniscule thread. I can only encourage them to stir up their faith for God to do the work, but the path to victory is often steep.
- Limited bible knowledge
Part of the Christian walk involves appropriating God’s promises, declaring them and standing upon the word of God. If someone has limited knowledge and understanding of God’s word, it means they have a very small platform to work from! My job becomes a little more difficult, and their challenge is greater because they have fewer resources to draw from.
I Believe For A Season Of Fruit
I understood years ago that I was only a vessel and conduit for the word and power of God to work through. Only God can fix people. I do all I can to help but purposed not to take ownership over each situation or prospects for the Holy Spirit to do the work.
There is also a season for all things and do not get discouraged if people do not return for subsequent session. We may hit a roadblock now but it does not mean that spiritual victory does not lie ahead in the future.
The word of God does not come back void; I always share the scriptures during that initial session. I have seen blessed to see many clients return after a season because life situations finally prepared them for the counseling or deliverance ministry services that we provide.
Some also seek help elsewhere, from other Christian counselors and resources, and I actively encourage them to do that if we mutually determine that our Center is not a good fit. You cannot force-feed counseling or deliverance on a client and a hungry, open and willing spirit is vital for successful and fruitful outcomes!
Have you been in counseling situations and seen one or more of these factors in place? Are there others that should be included?