The Need and Imperative of Self-Counsel

Without the the consistent lifestyle of a believer in Jesus Christ, the model of biblical counseling falls.

In many ways, you can think of biblical counseling as a four-legged stool. One leg is theology—the dynamics of biblical change. Another leg is methodology—methods consistent with biblical theology that promote change. The third leg is the context of biblical counseling—the body of Christ in the local church. The fourth leg is the practitioner participating in conversational ministry—the consistent lifestyle of a believer in Jesus Christ.

 

People often ask what the differences are between biblical counseling and all other forms of counseling. The answer, of course, includes multiple aspects related to theology, philosophy, and practice. One aspect that many forget is the consistent lifestyle of the counselor. In biblical counseling, the role the counselor plays is integral to the overall model of true biblical counseling.

In many ways, you can think of biblical counseling as a four-legged stool. One leg is theology—the dynamics of biblical change. Another leg is methodology—methods consistent with biblical theology that promote change. The third leg is the context of biblical counseling—the body of Christ in the local church. The fourth leg is the practitioner participating in conversational ministry—the consistent lifestyle of a believer in Jesus Christ.

Without the fourth leg—the consistent lifestyle of a believer in Jesus Christ—the model of biblical counseling falls. Consider how this makes biblical counseling so different than any other method of counseling. No one ever asks a psychologist or psychiatrist about his or her marriage. The faith and obedience of the counselor’s children are taboo. Church life does not matter in any other counseling system. Anger? Bitterness? Impatience? Spiritual disciplines? Contentment? Purity? No, no, no, no, no, and no. None of these issues matter in any other system of counseling.

What makes them imperative in biblical counseling? The life of the counselor either places a giant exclamation point at the end of the Christ-centered word of counsel or the life of the counselor places a big fat “X” over the counseled word. The lifestyle of the counselor either demonstrates the power of the Spirit through the Word of God or questions the veracity of it.

We Have Each Other as Examples

When the Apostle Paul challenged the Philippian believers to live for Jesus Christ, he admitted that he had not attained the goal for which Christ had called him (Phil. 3:13-15). He strived toward the goal of Christlikeness. Notice what he says here: “Be imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example” (Phil. 3:17). Who are the examples? There are two mentioned here. First, Paul exhorts fellow believers to imitate him (as he imitated Christ). The second group is us. In other words, we have each other as examples of what it means to be a consistent, passionate follower of Jesus Christ.

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