40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline:  Day 30 – Counsel

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Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1, New International Version)

Theme:  The Local Church


We continue our focus on the Discipline of Counsel.  The discipline of Counsel is a valuable resource for all believers.  However, we have all heard sad stories about the abuse of this discipline within local churches.  This should not dissuade the practice of Counsel, but caution should be exercised.      

Bible Passage:

Today’s passage is 1 John 4:1 (presented above).  Where the term ‘spirit’ is used, it can be read as ‘spiritual claims.’    


What practical steps do you believe local churches can take to encourage the use of Counsel while discouraging the abuse of the discipline?

One thought on “40 Days of Discipline:  Day 30 – Counsel

  1. On the subject of Counsel, I did not anticipate that we would start here, but it is indeed wise to do so. We need to discern where we seek counsel, and also be able to test what we receive.

    On the first, we should consider the fruit of the person’s life, but that’s not really the question here. So, how do we encourage safe counsel in the local church?

    For me, two things jump out immediately.

    First is knowledge of what we are to “test the spirits” against. This is the Word of God. We must seek to cultivate an abiding love for and appropriate respect for the Word of God, along with hermeneutical skills for sound interpretation, theoughout the local body.

    Second is the fabric within which Godly counsel would be encouraged and take place. Here Small Groups are important. “Mini-communities”, led by Godly leaders who effectively minister God’s love and truth, provide a natural environment for Counsel. And these leaders should also be trained to refer serious cases to the leadership as needed.

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