Discipleship & Counseling | Week 7 8
WEEK 7: A Theology of Spiritual Health:
Chastening, Pruning & Self-Confrontation
Signs of Spiritual Bad Health
What are a few symptoms of spiritual bad health? These are just a few of the very
common spiritual discipleship & counseling areas we will deal with when counseling
1. _______________________________________: Believers with poor or even
no appetite for the Word, fellowship, spiritual growth, or much to do with God.
2. ________________________________________: Believers addicted to
anger, fear, self-pity, or to influences that are harmful (occult images, sensual
images, horror images, un –biblical romance images, materialistic-driven goals
in life, pride-driven lives, etc.).
3. _________________________________________: Believers experiencing:
spiritual lethargy, lack of strength to resist temptation, inability to flee lust,
constant bouts of defeat, paralyzing guilt, re-occurring seasons where they
lack assurance of salvation and complete forgiveness, etc.
Each of these common symptoms point to lack of spiritual health. God’s recovery
program for these and most other symptoms is sanctification. Sanctification is a
spiritual work that God does. Discipleship is the way that God trains believers
through other believers. All of us should be life-long discipling-counselors.
Great Commission Living is
Life-Long Discipleship & Counseling
This Discipleship & Counseling 101 course is a series of 24 building blocks:
• Lesson One: The _________________________ of Salvation (Ephesians 2:8-
• Lesson Two: The Necessity of Self-Confrontation for ___________________
Here are the foundational truths we are building upon in our study of Biblical
Counseling & Discipleship:
Discipleship & Counseling | Week 7 9
1. Biblical Counseling is Supernatural: God does the work through the
2. Biblical Counseling is not a technique: it is a chosen way of life, of
walking in the light and truth (____________________).
3. Biblical Counseling is Personal Sanctification: we must first learn to
deal with the flesh in our own lives; so we confess imperfection
4. Biblical Counseling is Personal Discipleship: we are explaining
to others how to be followers of Christ, like we are (1 Cor.4:16;
_________________; Phil. 3:17).
Bible Studies on Key Verses:
1. __________________________________. (John 1:12) We have been given
the authority to live as children of God. That involves being God temple,
possessing the power of His Spirit, being sealed, gifted, called, and personally in
fellowship with God.
2. __________________________________. (Acts 26:20) We each enter
God’s family the same way, by following the Gospel that Christ and His Apostles
proclaimed. Listen to Paul’s re-statement of what God called him to preach to the
Gentiles (that is us in the church today). After Jesus explained the Gospel to Paul
in Acts 26:18, what does Paul understand and communicate as the Gospel
according to Jesus? It is in v. 20’s three simple elements!
• ______________________________ (a change of mind that leads
to a change of behavior);
• ______________________________ (re-orienting my life towards
God by His grace and power);
• ______________ befitting repentance (choices in my daily life that
reflect my change of mind about God).
3. _________________________________. (Romans 8:1, 28-39) God’s
Declaration of the Way Believers are to live has three dimensions:
• No _______________________ v. 1 (God has forever justified me);
• No _______________________ v. 28 (God is orchestrating my life);
• No _______________________ v. 39 (nothing has the power to
separate me from God ever again).
How God Improves
Our Spiritual Health
There are elements of our spiritual life: namely chastening and pruning, that many
Discipleship & Counseling | Week 7 10
believers know very little about. These are almost foreign terms, when they are
actually laws of spiritual health that God has built into our lives, and explained
repeatedly in His Word.
Bible Study on 1 Cor. 11:28-31
God Explains the Stages of our Spiritual Health
Summary: God charges us with self-examination as a way to spiritual blessing and
spiritually healthy lives
1. V. 28 “Examine” Grk. dokimadzo speaks of our making an inward look of
verifying our condition based on how God sees us and desires us to be. This
means stopping any comparison of myself to others. We confront ourselves
based on God’s standards.
2. V. 29 “Judgment” Grk. krima speaks of a decision based on an examination of
compliance and obedience to a standard or law. God acts based upon clear
standards of dealing with us which are: chastening and pruning. Both are
blessings, one is punishment and the other is refinement.
3. V. 30 “For this reason” we see here that we should beware of the chastening
Hand of God. Chastening has three levels: some were weak, some were sick,
some were dead. In Hebrews 12:5-11 God explains this process more fully.
4. V. 31 the key is self-confrontation. What does God do to help us in these
Chastening vs. Pruning
So we can see in this passage that God has a chastening rule that He follows when
believers get stuck in the mud or ditch of sin. But what about things that aren’t sin,
they are just wasted efforts, misdirected priorities, what does God do then?
Does God work to sanctify us when we are not sinning, just “frittering” away our
precious time? Yes. That process is called pruning and it is explained in detail in John
15. When God said that He is the Vinedresser, it was a declaration that whatever it
takes to make us fruitful, He is on the job, and at work doing.
Look at these key verses in John 15:1-4 briefly, then let me introduce this idea. We
will cover these principles deeply and frequently in the weeks ahead.
John 15:1-4 (NKJV) “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every
branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are
already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me,
and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the
vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
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UNDERSTANDING THE WAY GOD DISCIPLINES
HIS CHILDREN BY CHASTENING AND PRUNING
|How do we know
and pruning are
|In chastening we have a
growing frustration with our
problems and we find our
selves going away from the
Lord because of it.
|In pruning we have a growing peace
through struggles and we find ourselves
drawn closer to the Lord by them.
|What is it like?||Chastening||Pruning|
|Why does it
|We are chastened because
we are doing something:
|We are pruned because we are doing
when we are
joylessness fills our heart,
mind and life. God and His
Word seem distant, and our
life is blighted by sadness,
|During pruning even though it hurts we
remain joyful, we read God’s Word with
hunger, and we talk to Him often in
|What is our
|When chastening begins it
signals a no fruit time in our
|When pruning starts we are already
bearing spiritual fruit.
|What does God
desire from us?
|What needs to
|We need to see and turn
from our sin
|We need to even more turn from our
self and flesh.
|How should we
|Chastened, guilty, sad,
anxious for restoration.
|Relieved, trusting, and expectant of
God’s even greater blessing.
|What is the right
|When does It
|When we stop sinning.||When God is finished|
5 Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of The Vine. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 2001,p. 96-103.