To help a struggling person, determine the solution to their problem and use the Word to transform the heart.
The solution to a problem isn’t focused on improving feelings or changing behavior or investigating one’s personal convictions on life. Rather, biblical counseling is about transforming one’s heart.
The heart is the bulls-eye.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23,NIV)
Listen to this,
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:25,26 ESV)
Only God Knows the Heart
How does one counsel the heart? The only source for counseling the heart is from the Word of God. Only the Lord can fully know one’s heart. This is an excellent book on counseling the heart.
I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:10, ESV)
When God’s people – godly friends and biblical counselors – rightfully use His Word, transformation takes place. Scripture alone discerns the intentions and motivations of anyone’s heart, as well as being able to minister to anyone who is in any kind of trouble.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17 ESV)
Transforming Trials Are Part of the Solution
How does using God’s Word transform our hearts? The Lord begins the process of transformation by allowing His people to experience variety difficulties. Trials reveal to us what we currently believe, love, or want. In other words trials are used by God to reveal what are the idols of our hearts that compete with our professed devotion to God.
The transformation God intends is for you and me to a visible representation of Jesus. This is his goal.
- “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29. ESV).
- “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV).
The Counselor’s Role
This transformation begins when the Holy Spirit (the Counselor!) empowers the biblical counselor who uses the Word of God as the foundation of counseling. As the counselor lovingly speaks truth with compassion, the Holy Spirit teaches and reminds the counselee of his need for godly change. This leads the counselee to repent of (or, turn from) idolatries.
The Spirit trains the counselee to live by faith. Scripture describes this process as “putting off” and “putting on.”
Paul illustrates this in Ephesians 4:25-32.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Look at verse 28 regarding stealing. Paul urges thieves to stop stealing. He is specific and provides a loving alternative. Thieves must “put off” stealing and start working with their hands providing for others’ needs
Solution: Total Transformation
The thrust of transformation is to change the motivation of thieves’ hearts. If thieves simply cease stealing, but don’t begin to lovingly give to others, change won’t last. It’s merely a façade, a puff of smoke.
One’s transformation is cemented when the desire to love switches from loving self to loving God and others.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11, ESV)
Are you a pastor? Bible study facilitator? Women’s ministry director? A Christian called to help the hurting? Then consider training. Training helps you help others find a solution to their problems.
Biblical Counseling Center, a certified ACBC center, has trained thousands of students worldwide in biblical counseling principles. We offer more than 120 hours of quality instruction designed to help churches increase their confidence and competence in caring for the hurting.
Check out the training page on our website for the information you need.