Biblical Counseling and Christian Discipleship Guide: Chapter 1. Introduction

Full manual document located at this address – https://truth4freedom.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/biblical-counseling-manual.pdf

1.1.  Introduction

This manual is designed to teach you to approach circumstances, relationships, and situations of life from a biblical perspective and to experience victory and contentment in all of life’s trials, testings and problems.

The essence of who we are is made of events and how we responded to those events. We are the sum of what we encountered in life and our reactions to those experiences. Memory , the recalling of the past, is our spirit gazing at the substance of our soul which, at times, directs our life rather than the word of God. Thus, most of our problems are due to ignorance on how to biblically respond to life, and to use life’s adversities to our advantage as opportunities to grow and mature in Christ ( Rom. 8:28-29 ).

These spiritual resources are available to those who are born by the will of God. Having accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, the believer is enabled by Holy Spirit to face life, to counter adversities, to grow in grace and strength, and to live in peace and joy ( John 1:12 ; John 3:16 ).

The issue is the self , the soul of man. The self created by God, belongs to God. The self, tempted to be god without God, became enslaved by Satan ( Gen. 1:26-27 ; Gen. 2:7 ; Gen. 3:1-6 ).

The living soul is what we will deal with…

  • to set it free
  • to again be completely dependent upon God
  • to follow Him and to glorify Him.

Phil. 2:12-13 ; 2 Pet. 1:3-11 tell us to work out our salvation daily being conformed to the image of Christ. The key is daily , being God-conscious twenty-four hours a day. Either we are thinking God’s thoughts or we defer to lower level thinking. There is no gray area. You are either for God or you are against Him ( Matt. 12:30 ).

1.2.  Preconditions in Biblical Counseling

Throughout the counseling session, the goal is to change the counselee’s focus on the false self, a self of lusts and appetites to a realization of his true self, a self in union with Christ. This is accomplished by a continuous process of judging self, one’s own sins, not others; changing focus from self needs to one of accomplishing God’s purposes for his life by loving Him and others foremost; daily dying to the old man and putting-on the new man; and of maintaining a state of forgiving and reconciling throughout life. The ultimate goal now is for the counselee to be a disciple, to help and restore others to this same position whereas they, in turn, will do likewise.

False Self

All of life in the natural sphere conditions and inclines one to deal with life’s experiences from a horizontal perspective, that is, to react from a self-protective and self-defensive posture, to insure one’s survival in a competitive and fallen environment. This pronounced self-focus degenerates, in time, until life is characterized by guilt and shame, anger and bitterness, and fear: a life devoid of the Presence of God. Life becomes filled with the presence of self attempting to meet the needs of self by a fruitless search for the meaning of life in a world system energized by evil.

A person in this condition seeks relief by the fashions and customs of this world, by the lusts and appetites of the flesh, by justifying his own behavior, by placing the blame on others, by seeking peace and joy in things, people, possessions. Emphasis is on what others have done or failed to do, and the remedy is to change others and the circumstances of life by whatever human (fallen) resources are available. The focus is on self, to save self and to use others, and the things of the world to find the meaning of life.

True Self

All that was done to us, what we have done to others, the failures, the ills, the violations of our persons, the brutalities, the perversions of life, rejections, death of loved ones, tragedies, loneliness, abandonment, Jesus paid the penalty for all these sins. and provided the means to handle the tragedies of life. We do not need to deal with these violations , and the tragedies of life on our own. Christ is in us to work out our salvation daily ( Phil. 2:12-13 ; Gal. 2:20 ; 2 Cor. 5:17 ; 2 Cor. 5:21 ; Rom. 6:3-6 ; Ezek. 18:20 ).

Being in Christ, we are new creatures and we are to deal with life now from a biblical perspective. Our problem is not with Satan, not with people, not with the circumstances of life, but our problem lies in our relationship with God. Our focus is to change from a concern about self, to a concern about God’s glory and that is accomplished by our godly responses to others and to life in general ( Rom. 5:17 ; 2 Cor. 5:21 ).

1.3.  Foundations of Biblical Counseling/Discipleship

Self Knowledge

When born from above, the human spirit is regenerated, and united with the Spirit of God. However, the soul remains the same as conditioned by life’s experiences. Before we can advance in our spiritual life, we can advance only if we come to know ourselves as we really are, that is, as we appear before the almighty God. What we have done to others, what others have done to us – our sinful interpretations of and reactions to these and other issues – are to be dealt with from a biblical perspective.

Deliverance

One cannot go back and reform the ‘old man’, and redo what was said and done. But as a new creation, citizens of heaven, we look at life now from the spiritual realm to the earthly. Our primary concern is in our relationship with God the Father, nothing else should matter. As the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father. We have been adopted as sons. As we are in Jesus, the sonship, we are to love as Jesus loves the Father. Participating and sharing in the triune love, our loving action becomes the means of our deliverance ( John 15:10 ; John 17:20-24,26 ).

The answer to healing the soul lies here: loving the Father by obeying His commands ( John 14:21 ). Accordingly, unresolved actions of the past are to be dealt with in the present, and in the spirit of repentance and reconciliation.

Sanctification

Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit; only He knows the heart and the motives. As a counselor, our basic function is to lead and encourage the disciple to rely on the bible as the sole authority and rule for living, and to hear from and to know the Person of the Holy Spirit ( John 16:13 ). To accomplish this, our aim is to work with the disciple to establish a standard from which he can work out his salvation.

To this effect, the following guidelines are provided to assist the disciple to work and abide within a biblical framework.

Loving God by Obeying His Commands

Our problem is not with Satan, not with people, not with circumstances. But our problem lies in our relationship with God the Father. No matter what one’s life is at the moment, we must hold ourselves accountable. We cannot blame others or the circumstances of life. People and circumstances are not to direct our lives ( Ezek. 18:20 ). Reacting to life without reference to God’s word, one becomes his own god. God is to be God. Allow God to have full command of your life. He will use the trials and tests of life to perfect you and conform you to His Son ( Rom. 8:28-29 ; James 1:2-4 ).

Judging Self

The starting point is to develop a keen sensitivity to sin by not taking life for granted. We are inclined to be critical of others, to blame shift, to be self-defensive, to retaliate, to be malicious, and similar sinful actions ( Matt. 7:5 ; Rom. 2:2 ).

How we respond to offenses and irritations of life reveals the spirit that is in us. Be aware, and ask God for His grace to be conscious of and sensitive to one’s spirit. Then by His grace we establish plans to respond to offenses in a manner to restore ourselves and others ( Gal. 6:1-4 ; Eph. 4:22-24 ).

Forgiving and Reconciling

Many souls are wounded by bitter root judgments: parental/child relationships, abuses of all kinds, disappointments, betrayals, and such, which paralyzes and poisons the spirit. Put the offender and the offense in God’s hands; let Him judge the situation. Get oneself free from the offender or offense by asking God for the grace to forgive and be reconciled. Forgiveness is an act of the will, to please the Father – it is not an option ( Matt. 5:23-24 ; Matt. 6:14-15 ; Heb. 12:15 ; 1 Pet. 2:23 ).

Daily Devotions

We are either in the flesh or the spirit: there is no gray area. We need the daily infusion of God’s word to keep us in the Spirit moment to moment. We are to be God-conscious, practicing His Presence twenty-four hours a day ( Ps. 1:1-3 ; 2 Cor. 10:3-5 ).

Daily Meditations

Recollections of the past stimulates memories and unresolved issues which, in turn, prompts spontaneous mood swings. As we meditate on God’s word, we participate in the purification process of regenerating our intellect, our memories, our emotions, and our wills to be integrated with God’s will. By His grace, we are enabled to refashion the integrity of our inner life, preparing ourselves to be acutely sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit ( Josh. 1:8 ; 2 Cor. 7:1 ; James 1:21 ).

Objective

We begin a life of reversals.The issues of the past are dealt with in the present, in a biblical manner. The daily offenses and irritations of life are confronted and dealt with as directed by the Holy Spirit. The self is dethroned. God is enthroned. The stage is set for the drama of being conformed to the image of Christ. by practicing…

… loving God;

… judging self;

… forgiving/reconciling;

… conducting daily devotions;

… engaging in daily meditations.

We trust that the proposed guidelines as amplified and elaborated upon in the manual may prove beneficial to equip the child of God: to walk out of darkness into His marvelous light; to establish God’s kingdom and will on earth; to be a fit disciple of Christ ( 2 Cor. 3:18 ; Matt. 28:18-20 ).

1.4.  Essential Considerations

Overcomers

First step is to judge self, not others. We are accountable for our own actions, and not the actions of others, that is, we are to develop a sensitivity to our own sin, and to respond to the present situation as a new creature in Christ ( Matt. 7:5 ; 1 Pet. 3:9 ; Ezek. 18:20 ).

Thought 1

Since the 1st Adam failed to overcome Satan, God allows Satan to remain on earth for us to finish the job. Man opened the door for Satan to reign on earth, it is up to man to cast him out. Jesus condemned sin in our corrupt nature to deal with the sin issue. Reckoning ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus, we are now emboldened to confront Satan.

Sin is not the issue but our responses to the temptations, the emotions of sin, that impacts upon our senses and into our thought processes. This is what we overcome: the evil tendencies that dwell within. Submitting to God, we are now enabled to resist and say ‘no’ to these emotions, and say ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit. At this point we become overcomers by giving no foothold to the enemy in our thoughts, speech and actions; but instead cast him out and put him under foot as originally commanded ( Gen. 1:28 ; Eph. 4:22-24,26 ; James 4:6-8 ; Rev. 3:21 ).

God Lovers

All that was done to us, and all that we have done to others, the pains and sorrows of life, God will intervene and rearrange all things to our advantage provided we do two things: obey His commandments, and live according to His purposes for our lives by being conformed to His Son ( Luke 9:23-24 ; Rom. 8:28-29 ; Col. 1:10 ).

Therefore, we are to change our focus from self to God, by loving Him in our minds, our emotions, our memories, and our wills. Our biblical responses to our neighbor and to the offenses of life provide the proof that we are loving God ( John 14:21 ; 1 Pet. 3:9-15 ; Matt. 22:36-40 ; Luke 6:27-38 ).

Thought 2

We judge ourselves by the ‘love’ factor. The first thing that love is, is patience. Impatience separates us from God, from self, from neighbor. “Impatience is a form of self-indulgence, and has its roots in the sovereignty of self… This ego-centric attitude severs our link with God… Patience is a life centered in Christ. He who has patience abides in Truth. The impatient man submits to the bondage of the moment… And the ups and downs of life challenge the pursuit of constancy and perseverance… Holy patience embodies an ultimate act of our surrender to God, a status of consummate self-possession. Only in the measure that we have surrendered our inmost being to God, do we possess ourselves.” ( Luke 21:19 ). [11][Hildebrand1]

To the extent and degree we love as God loves determines the extent and degree we are overcoming Satan in this battle of wills – God or the devil’s ( 1 Cor. 13:4-8 ).

Word Knowledge

“ The Word of God must abide in a person for a person to know God in a personal way. To ‘abide’ means that the word of God must not only be allowed to come into a person’s mind and heart, it must be grasped and clung to. ‘Abiding’ means the Word of God…

  • living, moving, ruling, and reigning in a person’s life and heart.
  • stirring and convicting, and challenging a person.
  • leading to confession, repentance, growth, maturity.
  • teaching love, compassion, forgiveness, goodness, and just behavior.
  • causing one to believe and trust God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as his Savior and Lord.” (Quoted from [14][Leader1].)

Goal

Our Lord took on flesh and bones – the human nature – that through the Cross, we may be translated from the earthly to the spiritual realm. No longer in the image of man after the fall, but now in the image of God as originally planned before the fall, we proceed to the ‘high calling of Christ Jesus’ ( Gen. 1:26 ; Rom. 6:3-6 ; Rom. 8:29 ; Phil. 3:12 ; Col. 1:13 ).

Accordingly, it is our responsibility to attain to this level of being in our souls by identifying, locating, and eradicating the residuals of our fallen nature residing in our souls ( Eph. 4:22-24 ). This is a lifelong process dedicated to purifying the intellect, the memories, the emotions, and the wills to equip us to love as God loves ( 2 Cor. 7:1 ).

1.5.  Summary

Judge self in every encounter, being continually sensitive to sinful reactions: not excusing, nor justifying self, neither blaming others. We are to restore self, to prepare self to be in a position to restore others.

Daily put-off the old self and put-on the new self by biblically responding to life’s irritations and offenses.

Constantly sustain a state of forgiving and reconciling in the affairs of life, allowing Jesus to live out His obedient life through us.

Dispose self to the purification of the intellect, the memories, the emotions, and the will through meditation and contemplation.

( Gen. 1:28 ; Luke 9:23-24 ; Eph. 3:19 ; Col. 1:27 ) As we are made of the earth, the first thing we are to dominate is the self: to put self under the complete influence of the Holy Spirit, to be a blessing upon this earth until we are filled with the fullness of God, to be clothed with the glory of God as in the days of Adam and Eve before the fall.

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