Training Manual Teaser: Chapter One, Semester One
This week’s Faithful Friday Blog is a Training Material Teaser, a new series of articles highlighting content from one of the chapters in our training manuals. We hope you enjoy this collection of thirteen quotes from Semester One, Lesson One: What is Biblical Counseling?.
“The Great Commandment is to make disciples, not manipulate decisions. A disciple is one who treasures God above all and thus (1) obeys Him and (2) clings to Him even in affliction. God began the process of growth in humility and holiness in Adam even before sin entered the world. A disciple is sanctified through both the positive means of grace and the negative means of suffering. Sanctification is a community endeavor—all are called, pastors and people alike” (7).
If Jesus, Freud, Maslow, Rogers, Jung, Skinner, and Erikson were all present and available to help anyone you know and love (for any and every ailment they have ever experienced), to whom would you send your loved ones? (8)
Disciples are made by transformation that is wrought through changes in thinking (and wanting, and willing) that leads to changes in doing (behaving). A biblical counselor places before the mind a new way of handling trouble, responding to circumstance, and reconciling with offenders (etc.). Often, God ordains the storms to reveal areas of needed growth. (9)
Biblical counseling is the forgotten (or ignored) facet of discipleship. The Apostle Paul engaged in both aspects of making disciples:
I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house
Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
Notice the individuality of Paul’s ministry. Biblical discipleship demands personalized instruction—instructing each one individually—in what needs to change as a result of observing each one individually. This is not mass instruction—it is life-on-life discipleship.
We all find out quickly in affliction that we are not as far along in being a disciple as we should be. Suffering reveals the need, becomes the impetus for change, and becomes the fertile soil in which change occurs. The disciples needed more than just formative discipleship; they needed help in the storm—help being restored if their house had been built on the wrong foundation (the cause) and through the storm (the occasion) collapsed (cf. Matt 7:24-27). (12)
Biblical Counseling is not so much about a process… …as about connecting people with a Person, namely Jesus (12)
One must live not for self, but The Savior. The life lived in pleasing God is one of peace, rest, fruit, and joy (cf. Jer 17:78; Matt 11:28-20), while the life lived in pleasing self is hard (cf. Prov13:15). (13)
God, in the perfect environment, the Garden of Eden, expected this first man, Adam, (created in God’s image; indeed, because created thus dependent) to follow His counsel. How much more did/does humanity need restorative counsel after sin entered the picture?
3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for  you, but you must rule over it.
Please notice that God approaches Cain after his disobedience with questions. Often God uses commands (monologues) in the formative part of sanctification and questions (dialogues) in the restorative part. (13)
The Great Commandment establishes the call to love one’s neighbor. Loving one’s neighbor is a call to both The Great Commission and The Great Consecration (discipleship; sanctification) of another saint through “intentionally helpful conversations” (David Powlison, Seeing with New Eyes, 1; e.g., counseling; house to house, private dialogue; cf. Acts 20:20). (14-15)
Counseling, then, is simply teaching people to obey God (respond well) in all circumstances of life—including the painful…even when sinned against. When people encounter problems and do not obey God in those circumstances, they (1) dishonor the Lord, (2) diminish in usefulness, and (3) delight in the wrong object(s). (17)
Thus, only believers can biblically counsel other believers. One may give counsel to a non-believer, but for the non-believer it is at best morality. It is a bit like helping someone lose weight by starting smoking. Morality damns…only Jesus’ obedience saves. The non-believer must be evangelized…and the biblical counselor desires greatly to do so. (17)
CRUCIAL: Change will occur when I am more concerned about my 10,000 talent debt toward God (evident in my sinful responses) instead of your 100 denari debt against me. If I seek to choke you (even in subtle ways) God promises torturers are waiting (conscience will smite and my problems will compound; cf. Matt 18:21-35). See Proverbs 4:19, 13:15 & 15:9-10. (19)
Whether you are a veteran or a would-be counselor, we pray these quotes are a treat to your soul.
Have these quotes piqued your interest? Learn more about our course, Semester One: Principles of Biblical Counseling, here.