A Personal Story of Spiritual Growth

God's Sufficient Grace

Counselors help other people heal—we don’t often hear their own stories of growth. Dr. David Powlison, counselor and faculty member at Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), talks about a personal time of transformation when God revealed His love to David in a profound way.

David Powlison has been doing biblical counseling for over 30 years and has written numerous articles on counseling and on the relationship between faith and psychology. His books include Speaking Truth in Love, Seeing with New Eyes, Power Encounters, and The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context. 

David shared a time when God revealed His love to him in a profound way. He had been suffering about six years of disability and various downturns due to illness and medications. His social life, relationships, career, and ministry had all been affected. 

Everybody has suffered through difficult times. Share a time when you were suffering. What were the circumstances? What did you feel like? What was the worst part about what you were going through?
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One of the most devastating parts of David’s suffering was a medication that caused his brain to shut down frequently. He couldn’t complete his thoughts, which became a significant threat to his career as a counselor, teacher, and writer. Have you ever had something happen to you that threatened a major part of your identity? If so, what was it? How did you cope?
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When he was feeling his worst, David remembered a question his first pastor asked him years before: "If you got in a car accident and had a brain injury, and all you were capable of doing is mop the floor at McDonald’s, would do it?" Essentially, the question asked if all of his abilities and achievements were stripped from him, would David still feel as if his life was valid? David’s circumstances years later forced him to consider that very question, no longer hypothetically. 

How would you answer that question?
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2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Temporarily losing his ability to complete thoughts urged David to rely on God’s power in the midst of His weakness. He could no longer rely on his achievements for validation—all David had was God. But when he was left with just God, he realized His love was enough. And when he realized that, something in David relaxed. 

Share a time when you have been able to rest in God’s perfect love for you. When all else has failed you, how has God proven Himself to be enough?
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David asked a good question: "Are you living for your gifts and your career, or for your calling to love?" It’s not uncommon to seek fulfillment in your gifts and career, but at the end of the day, they don’t satisfy. The foundation of our lives is not meant to be our abilities or professions—it’s meant to be God. He alone gave us life and breath and a sense of purpose, and He alone deserves our devotion. Let all you do be in response to God's great love for you and His calling to share that love with others.

This video is a publication of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). All content is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from CCEF. For more information on classes, materials, speaking events, distance education and other services, please visit www.ccef.org