Updated: Dec 11, 2022
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
Last week, we looked at Jesus as the Prince of Peace and only reliable source of serenity. This week, I want to reflect on Christ as the “wonderful counselor” mentioned in this seasonal verse. Some translations use the term "advisor". Oxford Dictionary defines counselor, “a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems.” Advisor is defined as “a person who gives advice in a particular field.” Wouldn’t you like to have a counselor and advisor who happens to be the Creator of the Universe and Loving Savior of mankind? A resounding yes!
I've known quite a few counselors and the best ones have some things in common. Among other things, they're mostly:
Wise and knowledgeable
Compassionate and understanding
Calm, comforting, and hopeful
Objective and supportive
Unfazed by high drama
Gracefully truthful and direct
These are all fine qualities, no doubt, but a human counselor is paid by and seen by the hour. Even the very best counselor won't hold your hand in the wee hours of weeping. They won't text you through a challenging situation. They're not in the trenches or the barroom or the sickroom or unraveling culture with you 24/7.
Jesus is always there.
In embattled times like these, when conflict, crises, and spiritual warfare abound, it's good to have a counselor who stands with us through thick and thin, day and night.
Let's take a look at Jesus as the ultimate counselor.
Wise and knowledgeable
You can't beat omniscient in the knowledge department and God is The Source of all wisdom. God knows everything, which is very useful when we feel clueless.
While seeking direction through your Bible for specific advice is a good thing, better still if we seek God's will through our attentive communion in personal relationship to Him. In prayer and meditation, informed by Scripture, God can direct us in unexpected and powerful ways (Jeremiah 33:3).
Compassionate and understanding
A quick Google search on "compassion in the Bible" is uplifting and comforting. Many verses vividly convey God's compassion. As a loving Father, God knows and shows compassion for his children. Fully human, Christ understands and has compassion for our weakness and struggles (Hebrews 4:15).
I find the story of the prodigal son--a picture of God's attitude toward us--especially encouraging.
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
The prodigal was a problem child indeed and suffered harsh hardships for his short-sighted and selfish moral detours. Yet Jesus offers this loving picture of God the Father's posture toward us when we return to Him. The prodigal's dad didn't withhold his welcome or berate his wayward son. Instead, he rushed to shower his son with love. As I so often say, it's our humble, transparent attitude toward Christ that enables us to rest in His love.
Calm, comforting & hopeful
They say the hallmark of a good therapist is that you leave feeling hopeful. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, speaking to folks who were facing all kinds of internal and external turmoil, Paul vividly captures Divine comfort.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
Jesus offers us surpassing hope. I love how Romans 15:13 puts it:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (ESV)
Lovingly supportive and objective
Many verses throughout the Bible speak to God's perfect justice and enduring mercy that way transcend our limited view and capacity for right judgement and forgiveness. We are assured that in Christ, God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), nor can anything separate us from His love. Our right standing is based on Christ's righteousness as so sweetly described in my favorite book:
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus...Romans 3:21-24 (ESV)
Gracefully honest and direct
Christ describes Himself as Truth and the Light that illuminates the darkness within us and around us. In His many exchanges with sinners, Christ was often subtle yet direct, honest, insightful, kind, and clear. The notable exception to his usually gentle style was with hypocritical religious folks and the greedy, like those at the temple marketplace, with whom he was angrily confrontational. Either way, Jesus was unsparing about the truth and calling sinners to repentance.
Unfazed by High Drama
Most obviously illustrated with the story of Jesus snoozing during a maritime storm at sea, Jesus was typically serene in the face of countless angry persecutors and desperate seekers with very messy lives. Even after He Himself openly wrestled with His fate in the Garden of Gethsemane, when it came time to face His own unjust trial and agonizing death, He faced it with calm courage. That's the kind of counselor you want. One who can handle your tough stuff and have a good handle on their own.
Depending on your health insurance, you may not have coverage for actual counseling. Thankfully, I have some...
Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor available 24/7. The only cost is...well, your surrendered life, but His benefits are great. He's there when we need soothing tones of comfort, straight talk, wise insight, loving direction, and courageous counsel. He is not only the gentle sacrificial lamb who lovingly died for our sins, He is also the shepherd who guides and cares for us. One day--soon, I hope-- He will return to clean up this mess we've made once and for all. In the meantime, He's available to counsel and comfort us. During trying times, let's dial His 24/7 hotline for the help we so urgently need.
Grace, peace, joy, and love in Christ,
PRAYER: Wonderful Counselor, I so need and want your counsel especially during the battles we face here on earth, spiritual and otherwise. Please help me rest in Your love and trust You have my back, You're in my corner. Thanks and love. Amen.
ACTION: Make a list of questions or issues you'd like to discuss with a counselor. Take an hour sometime soon and talk to Jesus just as you would a therapist, allowing pauses to listen or look for answers in scripture.
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