What goals do you seek in the counsel you offer? Given that you are counseling, every day, what goals are intentionally sought (or unintentionally pursued)? Or more poignantly, would you be able to distinguish between goals derived from the Word from those beholding to the world?
One prominent Christian Psychologist offer the following agenda. “In general, however, people helpers seek to assist individuals and families to:
- function more effectively in their daily lives;
- find freedom from spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal conflicts;
- be at peace with themselves and to enjoy a growing communion with God;
- develop and maintain smooth interpersonal relationships;
- learn and use effective skills for living; and
- be actively involved in becoming disciples of and disciples for Jesus Christ”
Are these biblical? No Scriptures were referenced in the list—can you find any that supports (or rejects) the offering? Do you notice any meta-narrative running through the list? For example, would you characterize the list as pursuing relief from affliction OR redemption in the trial? Is he encouraging an absence of suffering OR sin?…growth in happiness OR holiness?
Are there any biblical goals missing? How about God’s glory? Much of what takes the title biblical bears more resemblance with the world than the Word. Compare goals derived from the Bible alone. The biblical counselors seeks to help the saints….
- honor, glorify, obey, and please God…regardless of “feelings” or circumstance (we live by faith, not sight; cf. 2 Cor 5:6-10)
- be restored to a place of usefulness to the Creator, the One worthy of trust (cf. Gal 6:1-10)
- be conformed to the image of Christ and in so doing grow in capacity to enjoy Him—the very good God intends in ALL circumstance (cf. Rom 8:28-29)
- have eyes on Christ (2 Cor 3:18) rather than self (Luke 14:25-33; this includes forsaking self-esteem and the like)
- mortify sin (Col 3:5ff.) and in its place vivify the spirit of godliness (Col 3:12ff.)…notice the specifics required over against the generalities listed in the list above
- be more concerned about sinful responses, thereby dishonoring God, instead of concern over being sinned against (cf. Matt 18:21-35)
- confess sin committed against others (1 John 1:9; Jas 5:16) and graciously grant forgiveness to those who sin against us (Matt 6:14; Mark 11:25)
- seek to please God in suffering, killing self, rather than seeking relief (Mark 4:35-41; 2 Cor 12:7-10)
- learn that it is better to give than receive (Acts 20:35)
- …love God and then love others (Matt 22:34-40). The more you need others, the less you will love others
The goals are significantly different. Which list most resembles your counsel?
If you would be a counselor that offers the hope of change…not in circumstance, but in thinking, wanting, and behaving…come and enroll in training. Learn to please God and help others do the same.
10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,