The fact of the matter is we are unable to counsel ourselves. Jeremiah writes about this long ago, “If only I could comfort myself against sorrow! My heart is faint within me.” (Jeremiah 8:18 MLV). Apart from the help from someone else, we often find ourselves powerless in the deepest depression, swallowed in guilt or embarrassed by the aftermath of impulsive living. Seeking the help of secular therapists is a choice, but they too are limited. Ethical guidelines prohibit state licensed counselors from integrating theology without the client’s prior consent.
Which would be better to sit with – a counselor trained in the methods of Freud, Jung, Adler, Pavlov or Jesus Christ? I don’t intend to sound fastidious, but the single model of counseling that will succeed and thus should be the one we t to accept is the biblical model. The following are our reasons. (1) We have safety in the LORD (Read Psalm 91:9; 119:52); (2) God is the best counselor for His own people (Psalm 16:7).
Three individuals involved in the Scriptural therapy process: (1) you; (2) the therapist; (3) The Holy Counselor – our living God. God’s role in therapy is that of the source of comfort and mercy. Father God is our comforter (2 Corinthians 1:4-7). Second in the Godhead membership (Colossians 2:9) is the Son who, according to Isaiah 9:6, is also called our comforter. Equal to the first two is the Holy Spirit whom people are familiar with being called the Comforter, Jesus promised to send to the disciples in John 14: 16, 26; 15:26. He is also named as the Spirit of truth (John 14:17). Thus, where we know the truth, God is also known. And truth sets one free (John 8:32). The one who is free is no longer in bondage.
Secular models are diverse. We must acknowledge some wisdom is exists in secular therapy. We may learn what triggers our episodes. Symptoms can come to our attention so that we may identify when we are in a particular manifestation of a manic or depressed mood stage. This leads to insight into ourselves, which in turn produces an ability to grow in character. Hopefully, whomever we find to counsel us will be able to keep secrets in confidence. (I have known some elders and a couple of preachers who were unable to keep secrets secret.) Nonetheless, having someone in whom we can confide can help, sometimes – but we do not have to go to another human if we do not want to reveal the depths our pain. That’s what our great High Priest who was tempted in every point as we are, yet without sin; He has empowered us to go directly to God’s throne of mercy and grace to find help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Since secular models fall short of glorifying God 100%, the Biblical method is the way to go. It invites and welcomes people to Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Christians have already received power to overcome all that opposes good. While that doesn’t mean we will never suffer emotional trauma, pain or illness. This does mean we have the ability to soar above the mediocre way people typically try to live with it.
The Biblical model rests in the power of the Gospel to save souls (Romans 1:16-17). We are able to live by the faith it gives us with the good news of a brand-new life that regenerates in the grace of God. This grace serving as the most important educator, is the teacher of righteousness. Titus 2:12 does not leave us with guilt-freedom apart from the commitment to clean spiritual living.
The Biblical model calls people to change their sinful habits. Repentance is such a fanciful word. The New Century Version will simplify the meaning behind it. ” So you must change your hearts and lives! Come back to God, and he will forgive your sins. Then the Lord will send the time of rest.” (Acts 3:19 NCV). Educated counselors are often trained in a cognitive-behavior-therapy. The premise is like the biblical model in that the emotions are influenced by the way we think. But, the Bible advances our session to more than what we think to how we live our thoughts.
Once we have changed our hearts and lives, the Biblical model will have us to be as confident in our salvation as the day we became a child of God. According to 1 John 5:13, we can know we are saved. We can know we are over-comers. Over-comers are promised the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). What’s more, when we study the Judges of the Old Testament we see God sends deliverance every time we fail Him. He will never give up on us. Never give up on yourself.