Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Foundations for Biblical Counseling - P1

Proverbs 20:5 A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out.

In today's blog I want to continue from the understanding of man that we explored yesterday: namely that man is made in God's image, and that he is a body, soul and spirit.  With that understanding I want us to consider what is essential in effective Biblical counseling.  The thoughts below are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather descriptive of a general viewpoint on the Bible's insights into applying Gospel truth in counseling situations. 

1. The Biblical Counselor needs to be a Christian who is applying God's word to their life
The two most important qualifications for any one giving sound counsel or advice from a Biblical perspective is that they be a Christian and that they are mature in the faith.  1 Corinthians 2:12 gives us the basis for the first qualification: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God".  Only when a person has been converted by grace through faith can they begin to understand how to apply God's word.  

The next verse, 1 Corinthians 2:13, gives us the second qualification: "which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words."   As a Christian grows in their faith, they not only need to be growing in their knowledge of the scriptures, but also in their application of what they know of the scriptures.  This entails thinking through and discerning where God's word connects to the issues of life.  Application of the Bible is the number one way in measuring Christian spiritual maturity.  Furthermore, if you have learned how to apply God's word in a given area, then I will be able, with His grace, to give sound counsel to other people.

2. Biblical Counseling proceeds from God to man
Biblical counseling has as its starting point not man - but God.  For only when we come to know and understand the God of the Bible can we make sense of who and what man is.  Christian Counseling's base of operations is the Gospel message. (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). 

3. Biblical Counseling offers the correct correct view of man
In the Gospel you find out that mankind had forfeited the original privilege of knowing God in favor of pleasing himself and finding delight in created things. (Romans 1:18-25) This original act of Adam and Eve resulted in a curse upon they and their descendants – a curse transmitted from one generation to the next called “sin”. 

This curse of "sin" is described three ways in Psalm 51.  It first is an ongoing pattern of habitual rebellion against God and His standards - what the Bible terms "iniquity".  Second, it is by nature a "crossing of the line" in moral and spiritual areas - what the Bible calls "transgression".  Then finally, it is falling short of meeting God's standards of right and wrong as shown in His Law - the true nature and heart of "sin".

4. Biblical counseling presumes that mankind has been drastically affected by sin
When you look at the Bible's assessment of how much sin has affected human beings, you discover that the extent of the affect is devastating.  Though mankind can still be creative, produce beautiful works of art and even do good things, man at his core is incapable of doing anything that could please God.  Furthermore, the mind of man has been darkened, making him bent towards wanting to please himself more than God. (Ephesians 2:1-4)  Therefore only the light of God's word in the gospel can shed the necessary light into man's human spirit to affect the change needed in his soul.

My prayer is that this blog will aid you in being equipped for those situations that may require you to provide biblical counsel to someone in need.  More on this subject tomorrow.   

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