Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Foundations for biblical counseling - P2

Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.

Today’s blog is “Part Two” of yesterday’s blog regarding the foundation for effective biblical counseling.  As we ended yesterday, we were commenting on the spiritual problem and solution addressed in the basis of all true counseling – The Gospel.  Only by grace through faith in Christ can man be made reconciled to the One whom he willfully abandoned.  Furthermore, if the counselee can know who they are (in Christ) and whose they are (Christ's possession), then the counseling process will achieve the healing of the human heart.

We will now continue with three more principles that constitute the reasons and purposes of biblical counseling:

Biblical Counseling recognizes the connection between soul and spirit 
All counseling issues are rooted in the counselee's human spirit (or hat the Bible sometimes calls "the heart) and are expressed through the soulish and physical realms.  Thus if a counselee is a non-Christian, according to the Bible they do not have the life of God indwelling their human spirit - thus they are "spiritually dead" (Ephesians 2:1-5).  In fact before I begin any counseling session, I always establish whether or not the person with whom I'm dealing with has been converted to Christ.  If the person is a Christian, by understanding that God the Holy Spirit is indwelling their human spirit (John -23); we then proceed to the realm of their soul. 

Biblical counseling's method: work from the inside out
In Christian counseling, we proceed on the basis of the counselee's spiritual condition.  We aim to address the issues of the heart, followed by dealing with the behaviors or attitudes occuring in the realm of their soul and body.  Commonly the counselee will think that only their behavior needs addressed.  However if we only address the "fruit" of their life, without addressing the "root" in their heart, then counseling will at best be inadequate.  

Even though you often begin in the realm of behavior, the goal of the Christian counselor is to get to the "root", the heart.  By getting to the "root", the counselor can then aid the counselee in discovering how to address the undesireable "fruit" of a thought pattern, emotion or behavior.  (Please compare Proverbs 4:23; Jeremiah 17:5-10 and James 3:13-4:8) 

Biblical counseling's practical questions to address the heart
Some questions to ask when probing the issues of the heart are: Is there a peace of mind - or is there trouble?  What about their emotional life?  Are they exhibiting a rebellion in their will or have they got their priorities all confused?  Issues such as these derive from the realm of the soul.  The sum activities of the soul find their expression in what the Bible calls "The heart".  The heart is the sum of all the interractions between the soul and spirit.  Another description I have heard about the heart is that it is the "causal center" of the human being.  As we saw in the last point, by getting to the "heart of the matter", I can correctly diagnose the "fruit" being born in my life and prescribe a right course of action that leads to transformation.  That, dear friend, is the desired outcome of biblical counseling.    

As we keep in mind these distinctions, we then can consider what is occuring physically in the life of this person.  By tracing the behaviors and attitudes back to the root - the heart (and its relationship to the condition occuring in the human spirit), what we have is a model for offering Christian counseling. 

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