You must help people see where they have settled for 10,000th best—where they have hewn out for themselves broken cisterns that can hold not water…AND…you must also help them see how glorious God is—He is the fountain of living waters. That which appalls God is not suffering but spiritual treason. Suffering squeezes the soul—and what comes out is what one treasures most.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. 10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
“The heart will pitch upon something, and if it does not have its contentment in God, it will hunt for it in the world” (Joseph Symonds, The Case and Cure of a Deserted Soul, 251).
“The heart that has had a sense of God’s sweet presence cannot be satisfied without him, but counts ass things nothing till it regains him who is to her as the sun to the world, and the soul to the body” (Joseph Symonds, The Case and Cure of a Deserted Soul, 254).
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
Moreover, you the counselor must help people see that the struggle against sin is not a one-time event. It is a long, slow, steady, sustained, uphill march against sin and toward the Savior. Passing glances and flash-in-the-pan services will never do.
“Passing views and glances of the mind cannot raise a settled comfort; nay, rather they discomfort as much by their vanishing as they comfort by their presence. The fruit of such sights of God, Christ, and heaven yield a present but a transient blaze of joy, like fire in straw, soon up and soon down. Yea, this sweetness leaves a bitterness, and wounds the heart to lose that so quickly which it had so happily. In this way, by such transitory gusts the soul indeed learns more how to prize the things for their sweetness, and how to lament them for their absence—and not his comfort, but his sorrows are increased by such cursory views” (Joseph Symonds, The Case and Cure of a Deserted Soul, 227).
Counselor: read great books—read dead people. No longer read the cotton-candy, drivel found in the “Christian” section of Target or Wal-Mart—sin will happily tickle those worldly scratches. Your soul needs the meat of men who drank deep the Word.