9 “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”
The goal is to be pleasing to God.
In biblical counseling we use four statements that we hope impress the right motive and direction for each session.
- Our (my) goal of life is to please God. (2 Cor. 5:9)
- I please God by having faith in him. (Heb. 4:6)
- My continual faith in Christ will transform me to look like Christ, the first to please the Father. (Matthew 3:15, Romans 8:28-29)
- God knows I will not be perfect but He does expect me to be growing. (2 Peter 3:18, 1 Peter 2:9)
In most circumstances the “problem” people (I) come into counseling with is not directed at God but directed at a person, place, or circumstance. But “fixing the problem” cannot be the goal. I heard it best said by Nicolas Ellen when he stated, “it is not about you getting the work done, it is about you getting done through the work.” The Bible tells us that we will all face many trails and that all of them are common to man (1 Cor. 10:13), which means that we are not being singled out, but that God will give us a way to escape the temptation to become idolaters (1 Cor. 10:7, 14).
Biblical counseling passionately and lovingly helps every man and woman, willing to surrender to Christ, no matter how difficult the case may be, to redirect their lives from fixing problems to pleasing God instead of pleasing self.
There are two main kinds of counselees
1. Those who are not saved, non-believers, and therefore cannot please God (Romans 8:8)
- The counselor takes the time to share the gospel and to exalt Christ in hopes that the Holy Spirit would convict and exalt Christ in their heart (John 16:8-14) so that they too can be saved and please the Lord (Hebrews 11:10)
2. Those who are saved who lack the understanding or are just unwilling to fear God and trust him in that particular circumstance (Eccl. 12:13).
- The counselor takes the time to remind those in Christ of Christ and his work. That through Christ we can strive for godliness in a world of ungodliness for the glory of God and our ultimate happiness.
As believers we must believe that Christ has taken the yoke of slavery (Eph. 5:1) off of us and has given us his yoke (Matthew 11:28-29) and this is not burdensome (1 John 5:3-4). Biblical counseling reminds us of these truths so that we may live by them! Biblical counseling pursues the heart as much, if not more, than the behavior of a person (Eph. 4:20-24 ;23; Romans 12:2).
This is why each of us ,when in trail, should reach out for biblical counseling, because it gets to the root of the problem, faith and repentance.
All other forms of secular counseling and even eclecticism (a mix) of biblical and secular counseling do not address the fundamental problem, the heart as it relates to God. God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). The heart is the intangible thing that makes us who we are. We need to address our Creator and where we stand with him and in him. No amount of changing in someone else will ultimately make us better people. Here is a great statement to conclude this point: Suppose you have a person who’s heart is not content (they are not happy with what they have). If you gave that person everything they wanted soon they would find themselves still not content. Why? Because it is a heart issue not a material issue. Biblical counseling really wants to help each individual by going to heart and when we get there we will see that God desires faith and repentance, which leads to pleasing him and peace in us, no matter the circumstance.
In all your searching, if you have never been counseled to trust in the Lord (Pro. 3:5-7, Ecc. 12:13) and repent of your sins (even as a believer) which leads to glorifying and pleasing God by looking more like Christ everyday (Romans 8:28-29), go to a strong biblical teacher or counselor and be washed in the word (Eph. 5:26,32). The best question a counselor could ask in every circumstance or trail is, “how can you please God in this?”
Faith comes by hearing, hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17).
We desire people to be free, to really be free, and because of this we must counsel from God’s word alone.
(Side note) Pleasing God is not the easy way, but it is the right way.
Every case is big, hard, heavy and real. God does not shy away from suffering. In fact Jesus, the Christ, died for us in the worst way possible physically (death by crucifixion, Phil.2:8) and spiritually (taking on the wrath of God, Ps. 75:8; Matt. 26:39; Rom. 3:25). We find in the resurrection that Christ defeated death! This is the climax of our faith, that Jesus’ death was not in vain, but gave us life, life now and a life to come (1 Cor. 15). Jesus told his disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you (Matt. 6:33). He said He would send the comforter to us (John 16:7). Jesus said he would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
Another powerful statement I have heard is that it is better to be with God in the worst place than to be without him in the best of places, for without him there is no forgiveness, no peace, no hope.