The Gospel is true and it connects to us directly
As denoted in our previous visual aid, the Gospel stands as the foundation and bedrock of all counseling efforts seeking to operate from Christian or biblical worldview. Without the Gospel, there is no biblical counseling and there is no christian worldview. The implications are both extensive and exhaustive. The Gospel is the lynch-pin upon which everything else we do in counseling finds its footing, its ultimate meaning and purpose.
The Gospel is the foundation of that which guarantees and secures our hope for a better future. The Gospel is the reason one is able to have hope and even experience joy in the midst of the their pain and struggles. People often come to counseling hoping that the counselor will have wise insights or helpful advise or at least a “good news” perspective despite the situation. Because The Gospel is true, a real, everlasting hope in the midst of their struggles is possible.
The Gospel is good news
So, you might ask: What is the gospel exactly? Quite simply: It means good news. Good News about what, you might ask? It is the good news that Jesus has risen from the dead. And because he is risen, this means that those who place their ultimate hope and faith in him alone will also one day rise from the dead. This means that not even death is the worst thing that can happen to us. So, no matter what happens to us, there is reason for hope for a better future because Jesus is risen.
The Gospel is God’s power on display
By the time folks make their way into the counseling office, distress and hardship have overwhelmed them. They are burdened beyond their means to cope and need help going forward; sometimes even from day-to-day. It is not uncommon that fear and a bit of trepidation encircle their hearts and minds; ideas repeating themselves that they are the only ones going through this, that no one will understand or that this thing is about as bad as it can get. I sometimes ask people to imagine what is the “worst thing” that could happen or come of their situation. Sometimes, articulating these worst case scenarios helps identify the heartbeat of their fears and points out the false beliefs embedded within their perspective. We’re able to name the fear or false beliefs for what they are; put them out in the open and unpack how the gospel actually speaks to these issues. Another way to think about this – the worst thing we are typically afraid of is actually not the worst thing that can happen to us. Because the gospel is true, we slowly realize that God has power to provide all we need no matter how difficult a given situation. Overtime, we come to see that union with God in Christ, trust in God, hope in God, faith in God are our biggest needs, more so than relief from our hardships. God’s power on display is the reality of his daily provision for us – of hope, of faith, of union with Christ. To have these things, we are, in real time, experiencing, (sometimes enjoying) the benefits of God’s provision as this is where his power is on display. I must add that it is often the case we do not recognize or consider the meeting of our daily sustenance as God’s power at work, but that is in-part why the christian counselor exists. Ultimately, we need to be pointed back to God – to see him more clearly.
The gospel provides clarity
The principle gain or outcome of the gospel is salvation for God’s people. Meaning, the gospel ensures that those are in Christ will one day return to Christ, in heaven, at the time of their death. Perhaps the greatest secondary gain or outcome of the reality of the truth of the gospel is the clarity we gain about our lives and our suffering while we are still here on earth. The gospel is true, the gospel is good news and the gospel is God’s power on display, but how does the gospel actually connect to us or help us make sense of our lives while we are in pain or during our suffering? Really, how does it is provide clarity? The gospel provides clarity in at least three ways and in my next post, I will unpack these three ways. Below is another visual aid seeking to put into one frame everything discussed above.