The Goal of Biblical Counsel
What is the goal of Biblical Counseling? Jeff Colon talks about the misconception many Christians have when they come into counseling and what the correct focus should be. If we have the right goal in mind, we will begin to find victory over the problems in our lives.
Mike: Jeff, today we want to talk about the goal of our counsel. But before we get into the specifics of that, I want to ask more generally, what is the goal of our life as a Christian?
Jeff: I believe most people go into counseling really just looking for an answer as to how they can be happy. They think their problem is that they aren’t happy. And their goal is, sometimes, to be happy. And A.W. Tozer made this statement about being happy,
"God is not concerned about our happiness, but our holiness."
So, in other words, our goal as Christians isn't to be happy. Our goal should be an underlying passion to please God.
Mike: How does that translate to your goal as a Biblical Counselor and what you're trying to accomplish with an individual whose come to you for help?
Jeff: Well, our goal as Biblical Counselors is to bring that person into a spiritual maturity where he begins to exhibit Christlike qualities in his life.
Mike: As we look then at counseling the sexual addict, how important is it for the individual to set specific goals?
Jeff: It is very important, Mike, to have a goal. Most of us, without a goal in front of us, really just go through life aimlessly, without any direction. So, it is very important for a man in sexual sin, or any person being counseled, to have that goal before them so they have a reference point. We can kind of relate it to an athlete who's in training. Think about these gold medal, Olympic winners. They had a goal in mind as a child. They put all their efforts from early childhood into reaching the goal: one day standing on that podium and having that medal placed around their neck. That was all they could see, their whole lifetime leading up to that point. As Christians, we too need that goal in front of us and our goal, obviously, is not temporal. Our goal is eternal. It is to pursue Christ. It's to be like Him. That needs to be before every believer. That needs to be the goal that they're focused on. Everything in their life is revolving around fulfilling that goal.
Mike: Well, talk to us, if you can, about how do we go about establishing a goal.
Jeff: Paul points out to us how a counselor is to do that. He says several things: We proclaim Him. We admonish every man. We teach every man, with all wisdom. And the goal of this is that we may present every man complete in Christ.
Mike: Jeff, can you give us an example of how you begin to apply this, in a practical way, when you're counseling an individual?
Jeff: Sure, Mike. There's a good example in Scripture. Jesus was really the best counselor in the world - He just knew every man perfectly. He could see right into the heart. When He dealt with the Rich Young Ruler, He confronted him in truth, but also with love because He loved that man. Jesus could see that the young man did not have the right goal. He was looking to his riches in this world. That was the Rich Young Ruler's goal. And he asked Jesus, how he could have eternal life, and Jesus lovingly pointed out to him what in the man's heart was keeping him from having the right goal. As a Biblical Counselor, we need to fulfill our calling by pointing out those things in a person's life that are taking them away from their true goal as a Christian, which is again, to be like Christ and set our hearts on the things of God.
Mike: Jeff, I know often the men that come into our Residential Program or our Overcomers At-Home Program wanting to know how to deal with their sexual addiction problem. But then, you have to help them to realize that there's really a much deeper goal that they need to have in their lives.
Jeff: Yeah. What the men come to realize is that, really, their whole problem is that their focus has been all wrong. Their goal has been all wrong. And since their goal is simply to get free from sexual sin, they're really missing the more important goal, which is to know Christ, become like Christ, and to exemplify Christ in their lives.
Mike: As you begin to work with this individual, towards that goal, how does that play out in their life?
Jeff: Well, we all come to Christ with baggage. We come with our old thinking. We can call it the old man or the old nature. So, it's very important for a counselee to understand what progressive sanctification means and what it means to deny the flesh. It's important they understand what it means to put on the Spirit. This is a process that we have to choose to enter into. And we have to realize that, as we do that, sanctification begins to take place. And that is when a person is made holy - when a person is conformed, beginning to be conformed, into the image of Jesus.
Mike: How important is it that a believer understand this? I know that, very often what happens is, you begin this process and if you're not aware that it's a process, you may go a few months into your Christian walk or into counseling, but you may not see change happening.
Jeff: Yeah, I think a lot of times one of the biggest problems is that people just want to get zapped and be different. They don't realize it's a process. It's a process of choices. It's a process of yielding to God on a daily basis. It's a process of seeing those things in our lives that are contrary to Christ and contrary to the Word of God and choosing to deny them and to put on the mind of the Spirit and really start applying the Word of God and the truth of God in our lives.
Mike: Can you give us a picture maybe, that will help us to better understand this transformation process that the Lord wants to bring about in our lives – to better understand the change that He wants to bring about in our lives?
Jeff: I think a lot of times, we just don't see our flesh right. I think a lot of times, we try to just fix up what we already have. What we don't realize is that the old has to go. It's like I'm going down a street. I'm driving through this nice neighborhood with all these beautiful mansions lined up along the road. Then all of a sudden, in between these mansions, is this old dilapidated shack. It just doesn't fit in. It would really stand out in that kind of scenery. We really need to see, like Paul did, that in my flesh – in my old shack – there is absolutely nothing good. That old shack needs to be bulldozed over. It needs to be totally torn down so that God can resurrect the new man in us. That can't really happen until a person sees their shack for what it is. I'll put it to you this way, Mike, Jesus tells us to crucify the flesh. If I'm still believing good about myself and if I'm still trusting in myself, then I'm not willing to drag that old man out to the dump and have him crucified. Until I see the worthlessness of my old man and that everything about him needs to die, I'm not going to bring him to Calvary. Instead, I'll try to fix him up and prop him up. But really, he needs to go.
Mike: Well Jeff, that almost sounds like that could be painful.
Jeff: It is painful, but what we don't realize is we're just preventing this glorious new life that God is trying to put in us. It's like an old car where the engine is shot. It's all rusted out, but God's got a brand-new car sitting in the dealership. It's waiting for us to step into. Yet here we are, holding on to this old wreck. It's sentimental. It's got a lot of feelings attached to it, but if we're just willing to let that go, God has something so much better waiting for us. But we'll never know that something until we let go of that old life.
Mike: I hope that helps people understand a little bit more about the goal of our counsel. And I hope it will be an encouragement to them. We do go through those difficult times where we may not exactly be happy about the pain we experience. But with it, comes the destruction of our old life and the emerging of a wonderful new life in Christ.