What Christian Counseling or Guidance is:
I. An opportunity to receive input in regard to prior personal and family decisions.
II. An opportunity to explore making personal and family changes for the future.
III. An opportunity to reflect on how God's word can be applied to every life situation.
IV. An opportunity to learn knowledge, apply skills, and manage personal behavior.
V. An opportunity to imporove one's total life situation.
What Christian Counseling or Guidance is not:
I. A "fix it" plan that can be implemented overnight to deal with a life crisis.
II. A "protective shield" that keeps negative events from taking place in one's life.
III. A mystical process that guarantees success without personal and collective effort in the family.
IV. A process that begins one week and end several weeks later. It is an application of principles and behaviors that must continue beyond the sessions to one's entire life.
IV. A process that can't work without total honesty among the participants in the counseling sessions.
With this information in mind, we look forward to assisting you. Visit our Contact Us page to send a message or for our contact information.
The Goal of Christian Counseling
By Dr. Larry Crabb from Effective Biblical Counseling
Whatever direction counseling may take, think carefully for a moment about the goal. What are you ultimately asking? What are you hoping will happen above all else as a result of your counseling. As I listen to many of you, and I introspect about my own goals when struggling with a personal problem, it seems to me that the usual objective so passionately desired is fundamentally self-centered: “I want to feel good,” or “I want to be happy.”
Now there is nothing wrong in wanting to be happy. An obsessive preoccupation with “my happiness,” however, often obscures our understanding of the biblical route to deep, abiding joy. The Lord has told us that there are pleasures forever at His right hand. If we desire those pleasures, we must learn what it means to be at God’s right hand. Paul tells us that Christ has been exalted to God’s right hand (Eph. 1:20). It follows naturally that the more I abide in Christ, the more I will enjoy the pleasures available in fellowship with God. If I am to experience true happiness, I must desire above all else to become more like the Lord, to live in subjection to the Father’s will as He did.
Many of us place top priority, not on becoming Christ-like in the middle of our problems, but on finding happiness. We want to be happy but the paradoxical truth is that we will never be happy if we are concerned primarily with becoming happy. Our overriding goal must be, in every circumstance, to respond biblically, to put the Lord first, to seek to behave as He would want us to. The wonderful truth is that as we devote all our energies to the task of becoming what Christ wants us to be, He fills us with joy unspeakable and a peace far surpassing what the world offers. We must firmly and consciously, by an act of our will, reject the goal of becoming happy and adopt the goal of becoming more like the Lord. The result will be happiness for us as we learn to dwell at God’s right hand in fellowship with Christ. Our modern emphasis on personal wholeness, human potential, and the freedom to be ourselves has quietly shifted us away from a burning concern for becoming more like the Lord to a more primary interest in our development as persons which, we are implicitly promised, will lead to our happiness.
Look at the titles of so many Christian books today: The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life; Be All You Can Be; All We’re Meant to Be; The Total Woman; The Fulfilled Woman. Many contain excellent and truly biblical concepts, but their message, whether defined or implied, sometimes directs us more toward concern with self-expression and less toward an interest in conformity to Christ’s image. The Bible, however, teaches that if we will obediently abide in truth in order to become more like God and thus make Him known, the by-product will be our eventual happiness. But neither the goal of the Christian life nor the goal of Christian counseling is an individual’s happiness. Trying to find happiness is something like trying to fall asleep. As long as you consciously and zealously try to grasp it, it never comes.
Paul said it was his ambition (goal), not to become happy, but to please God at every moment. What a transforming thought! When I drive my car to work and someone cuts me off, when my kids act up during church, when the dishwasher breaks—my primary responsibility is to please God! In Hebrews 13:15-16, we are told that believer-priests (all of us are priests) have a twofold function: (1) to offer the sacrifice of worship to God, and (2) to offer the sacrifice of service for others. If I want to please God at every moment, I must be centrally occupied with worship and service. It seems to me that a seriously neglected truth in most Christian counseling efforts is this: the basic biblical reason for wanting to solve your personal problem should be that you want to enter into a deeper relationship with God, to more effectively please Him through worship and service.
Personally rewarding dividends are provided in abundance. Paul was greatly strengthened in his afflictions by the prospect of heaven. He looked forward to the wonderful rest and undisturbed joy he is this moment experiencing. I presume he has been having a great time for the last nineteen hundred years getting to know the Lord better and enjoying chats with Peter, Luther, and my grandparents, among others. He is supremely happy. But personal happiness must be seen as a by-product, not a goal. We are to glorify* God, and as we do so, we will enjoy Him. We must not rewrite the Westminster Shorter Catechism to read that we are to glorify god in order to enjoy Him. That goal of happiness is forever elusive regardless of one’s strategy. The by-product of happiness is wonderfully available to those whose goal is to please God at every moment.
The next time you grapple with a personal problem (perhaps right now); ask yourself, “Why do I want to solve this problem?” If the honest answer is, “So I can be happy,” you are miles away from the biblical solution. What then can you do? Adopt by a conscious, definite, thunderously decisive act of the will a different goal: “I want to solve this problem in a way that will make me more like the Lord. Then I will be able to worship God more fully and serve Him more effectively.” Write it on a three-by-five card. Read it every hour. Reaffirm it regularly even though it feels rather artificial and mechanical. Pray that God will confirm it within you as you continue by an act of the will to assert it. Put your goal into practice in definite ways. Begin to worship Him by thanking Him for what disturbs you most. Look for creative ways to begin serving Him.
Christian counselors must be sensitive to the depths of selfishness resident within human nature. It is frightening easy to assist a person to reach a non-biblical goal. It is our responsibility as fellow members of the body continually to remind and exhort each other to keep in view the goal of all true counseling: to free people to better worship and serve God by helping them become more like the Lord. In a word, the goal is maturity.
Spiritual and Psychological Maturity
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:28 that his verbal interaction with people (counseling?) always was designed to promote Christian maturity. Only the maturing believer is entering more deeply into the ultimate purpose of his life, namely, worship and service. Biblical counseling therefore will adopt as its major strategy the promotion of spiritual and psychological maturity. When we talk with other believers, we must always have in our minds the purpose of assisting them to become more mature so they can better please God.
Maturity involves two elements (1) immediately obedience in specific situations, and (2) long-range character growth. In order to understand what I mean by maturity and to see how these two elements contribute to its development, we first must grasp the biblical starting point in our quest for maturity. Nothing is more crucial to an effective Christian life than a clear awareness of its foundation. Christian experience begins with justification, the act by which God declares me to be acceptable. If I am to become psychologically whole and spiritually mature, I must understand clearly that my acceptability to God is not based on my behavior but rather on Jesus’ behavior (Titus 3:5). He was (and is) perfect. Because He never sinned, He never deserved to die. But He voluntarily went to the cross. His death was the punishment which my sins deserve. In His love He provided for an exchange. When I give Him my sins, He pays for them in order to justly forgive me…God declares me to be righteous on the basis of what Jesus has done for me. I have been declared just. I am justified. It is a gift …
The goal of biblical counseling is to promote Christian maturity, to help people enter into a richer experience of worship and a more effective life of service. In broad terms, Christian maturity is developed by (1) dealing with any immediately problem circumstances in a manner consistent with Scripture: and (2) developing an inward character which conforms to the character (attitudes, beliefs, purposes) of Christ.