Jesus the Great Guidance Counselor?

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Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, we need to be aware of teachings which may create the perception that God is simply or only there for our therapy. For me, thinking about the traits of a guidance counselor helps me see where I am pointing students to this false image of god.  

Don’t get me wrong, school guidance counselors are great. They have insight into what school a student should look into. They have the inside track on where to get student loans. And they help students think through problems, their future, their grades, and other school related issues/concerns. All of these things are helpful and much needed in students’ lives; but there is an important issue to consider when we start to look at Jesus this way.

When the picture we paint of Jesus looks more like a guidance counselor than the only sovereign ruler He is, we will tend to look unto Him differently than He was intended to be looked upon. Here are some of the ways we will look upon Jesus, when we simply dilute Him to a therapeutic god. 

  • We only look to Him when we have need.
  • We only seek out advice on the different options we have come up with. 
  • We still make the final decision, we only want Him to help us think through our options.
  • When someone is struggling, we simply point out that God can help them; we don’t unpack the gospel as to how He can help them. 
  • We tend to make lists of how God will work.
  • Our messages tend to look at what we can get from God, not what we can give unto God.


When this is our teaching, the result is that students begin to believe and live this way. Students may believe in God, but they will have no clue what that means for them in real life. They will not be able to understand how God fits into their dating life, their sports activities, and the fights the experience with parents and teachers. When they are rejected by a boyfriend/girlfriend, or a teacher/parent, they can not even fathom going to God with this, for what would he care? He is simply there to give advice, not to actually help bring them joy or comfort in the midst of suffering. 

It is no wonder students leave the church. With a god preached who seems only like a guidance counselor, I would too. Students do not have a clue as to the real, present, sovereign God they are missing. When we convey only this image of a soft, removed, therapeutic figure-in-the-sky, we miss the point. We miss that He is the Savior, the King and the One who leads and directs us- we do not lead and direct Him. He is the conqueror of death for all of us, not simply a kind face in the chair across from us.

What type of God are you preaching? One who will simply offer good advice, or one who has come and redeemed those who are listening.

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