Maybe this counseling method is more effective than we give it credit for.
Dr. John Street, who is a professor at The Master’s College (TMC), gives us an overview of the biblical counseling degree program.
Recently, TMC released a large number of counseling classes for free on YouTube. If you are interested in watching some of them, here is a sampling of 5 lectures you can watch.
Paul Tripp is one of my favorite authors/speakers when it comes to dealing with heart issues. I have been reading his book Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies. I greatly appreciate his willingness to not deal with the peripheral or secondary matters when it comes to the subjects of sex and money. How easy it would be to write a book about the danger of pornography or the foolishness of getting into debt.
In this book, Tripp prefers to leave those matters for others. His approach to the issues of sex and money is to address the heart, for that is the root of all kinds of evil (Mark 7:20-23).
And in Chapter 3 of this book, entitled “So Why Do We Do the Things We Do?”, he explains the principles of the heart.
First, we must understand “what the Bible is talking about when it talks about the heart.” The heart is the core of all of our emotions, will, thoughts, desires, etc. No one forces us to think or do anything; it all originates in the heart. That is our “control center.”
Second, we must understand “that the heart is always functioning under the rule of something.” It has been informed or educated by something or someone.
Third, we must understand that “what controls your heart will direct your behavior.” In the Christian life, and especially discipleship and counseling, our goal is not outward behavioral change but heart change. Jesus said, “… out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Our behavior is dictates by what is in our heart. Therefore, when addressing problems, we address the core issues in the heart. Our thoughts, actions and behaviors all come from the heart (Prov 4:23). Evil and obedience comes from the heart (Ps 4:7; Prov 16:5).
Fourth, we must understand “that this side of eternity” our “heart is susceptible.” We need grace because our hearts are not always pure. We desire and crave impurities too often. Our hearts are always at risk of an attack from evil. Thus, we need to be ready and engaged to defend the heart.
Fifth, we must “admit that this side of eternity” our “heart is fickle.” This side of heaven, we will not have the loyalty God deserved and the more we allow sin to dwell in our hearts, the less loyal to the Lord we will become.
Sixth, we must understand “that this side of eternity” our “heart is deceptive.” Jeremiah didn’t even understand his own heart and knew it couldn’t be trusted (Jer 17:9).
Tripp suggests that dealing with your heart should begin with confession, and he recommends Psalm 51 as the language to use. This was the Psalm David wrote in reflection of his sins with Bathsheba.
When on the road of sanctification, always address your heart first. The outward man’s behavior is only changed by the inner man’s softening.
The Thursday feature of the Worldly Saints blog will be sharing of a media clip (audio or video) that has either educated, equipped, provoked or entertained us in some way.
This week ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) is hosting their annual conference in Louisville, KY. Their theme is “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Struggling People.”
Soon (probably in the next week or so), the video of these sessions should be available, so I cannot share them now, but let me give you a taste of what will be available to stream.
- Denny Burk, “Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?”
- Rosaria Butterfield, “Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert”
- Kevin Carson, “Counseling and Homosexuality: A Case Study”
- Robert Jones, “Compassion, Care, and Counsel for Families Broken by Homosexuality”
- Heath Lambert, “One Sinner to Another: How the Church Must Speak About Homosexuality:
- Al Mohler, “Clarity in the Midst of Confusion: The Ethics of Homosexuality and the Gospel of Grace”
- Stuart Scott, “Change from the Outside In, Then Inside Out: The Possibility of Sexual Purity”
- Bill Winton, “What If My Child Says They Are Gay? Counsel for Parents”
The Friday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a reflection on a recent event or topic. The topic could be something taken from the news cycle, popular trend in culture (e.g., movies, music, etc.), a debate on social media, or the like.
Every 9 seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten. That means by the time I finish typing this blog post, it would be a conservative estimate to say that around 200 women will have been victims of domestic abuse. Those numbers are incredibly sobering, and a little bit infuriating, to be honest!
We have examples of domestic abuse all around us: in professional sports, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our families, etc.\
The one word that summarizes what God feels about domestic abuse, and by implication how we should feel about it, is this: evil. God warns often about our responsibility as Christians to protect those who are being oppressed.
Jesus Himself tells us part of his purpose in coming to Earth was to re-iterate God’s desire to protect those who are victims of abuse – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
The very core of Jesus’ mission was to release people from all kinds of bondage. And those who are victims of domestic violence are living in bondage to their abusers.
Here is a selection of passages that support God’s compassion of the abused and His desire to protect those who are being abused.
- Exodus 22:21-24 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.”
- Psalm 11:5-7 – “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.”
- Isaiah 10:1-2 – “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!”
- Zephaniah 1:9 – “On that day I will punish everyone who leaps over the threshold, and those who fill their master’s house with violence and fraud.”
- Malachi 2:16 – “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
So, where so we go from here?
If you know someone who is being abused, you need to report their abuser to the local authorities (Rom 13:1-7). And then, you need to rebuke the abuser for his evil deeds of abuse. You need to challenge them on having a perverse view of manhood and womanhood. You need to remind the abuser about the preciousness of the image of God that every person contains. You need to exhort this abuser to repent of their violent sin.
If you know someone who has been abused, you need to patiently and compassionately listen to their hurts. You need to make sure they are protected from their abuser. You may need to step into their lives in a new way to keep them distant from their abuser.
If we love God, we will love what He says. And if we love what He says, we will also feel the calling to protect the oppressed.