Earlier this year I emailed every Christian counselor I know and asked them to share with me the top three issues people are facing that prompted them to come to them for counseling.
Here’s what they shared:
- Anxiety and depression
- Marriage problems
Take a moment and just feel the weight of the pain people are carrying right now.
Are you one of them?
THE PATH FORWARD
Can I share with you something that can help you deal with any one of those issues, without going to a counselor? (Though I highly suggest you go see one! See below)
2 Peter 1:4 says,
He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
We all face pain caused by the corruption of the world and our evil desires.
The way out – the path forward – is through promises Jesus gave us which allow us to respond the way he would in our situation.
For instance, when you read through the gospels, Jesus gives us promises like “Seek first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things (i.e., clothing and food) will be given to you (Matthew 6:33).”
Peter says that by learning how to obey that specific promise we can act as Jesus would in our situation.
More specifically (using this promise of Matthew 6:33 as an example) Peter is saying that when we seek to live under “God’s kingdom and righteousness” – which is another way of saying “Living under God’s rule over our lives and by his teachings for how to live under his rule” – that we place ourselves in a position to live in simple trust like Jesus, who never once worried that his basic life provisions would be provided.
THE SECRET OF JESUS
How did Jesus get to that place of not worrying? He understood and lived out “the righteousness” or “rightness” of the basic principles of God’s rule.
What are those?
If you go to the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew and locate Jesus’ promise in Matthew 6:33, you’ll find immediately preceding the command “do not worry” three kingdom principles of “right” living:
Possessions must never be meant to be accumulated beyond what is needed – Matthew 6:19
Envy of another person’s possessions must be viewed as evil and must be eradicated – Matthew 6:22-23
Loving money must be viewed as just as demonic as other things we view as demonic (ex. Child molestation, etc.) – Matthew 6:24
If you live with this kind of mindset – identifying as one that hates accumulating, envy, and centering one’s life around money – then the worry that Jesus easily avoided will begin to manifest naturally.
We “participate in the divine nature” as Peter says and we “escape the corruption in the world” and live as if we are participating with Jesus on the same level of spiritual existence as he would live if he was in our exact same situation.
As the great spiritual writer Dallas Willard said, “Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you.”
To use a gardening analogy, your soul is like the dirt in a garden. Jesus’ promise is the seed. His commands are the acts of pulling out the weeds of the world. And what grows out of the ground is the by-product of all three of these working in harmony = a soul like Jesus’ soul, undistracted and fully present, free from worry.
MAKING IT WORK
Whatever you’re facing today, here’s the path forward:
Identify your struggle.
Find Jesus’ promise.
Obey the commands associated with that promise.
That is how the Apostle Peter says we “escape corruption from the world” and “participate in his divine nature.”
I’m not saying this is an easy, quick fix. It takes time. It takes living in a community with other disciples of Jesus intent on living this way. But as you learn, obey, fail, try again, pray for strength, find support, fail some more, and finally get some traction, you will begin to experience change. It will come.
You got this!
P.S. If you’re like me and have been so beat up by the world and your own choices, it does help to have a Christian counselor to coach you through a tough season.
Here are two counselors I HIGHLY recommend:
Dr. Dave Terjanian is a licensed Christian counselor and psychotherapist. You can set up tele-visit or in-person appointments by emailing him email@example.com and through his website www.davidterjanianpsyd.com and at 484-886-7992.
If you’re looking for a female Christian counselor, I highly recommend Karen Uhler, LPC. You can set up tele-visit or in-person appointments by emailing her at Karen@thepeacemakercenter.org and at 610-873-7606.
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