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Welcome back to week 25. We hope the past week has been a blessed one for you. Last week we briefly examined Scripture’s Sufficiency and Biblical Counseling. We saw that the Scriptures are the only sufficient source for right counseling and that we do not need “professional” help from psychologists. This week we will briefly consider what we ought to do the first time we try to counsel (i.e., disciple) another who is in a difficult season.

After some initial questioning it is critical that we ascertain, to the best of our ability, if the counselee(s) is saved. We want to do this because one cannot counsel the lost (1 Cor. 2:14). They simply will not, and cannot, submit to the authority of Scripture (Rom. 8:5-8). 

We need also to be sure that the counselees understand that biblical counseling will involve counseling with the Bible because it is the only authoritative body of truth in existence that has the answers to all their problems (Col. 2:8 ;2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3).[1] The counselees should be shown that the reason they are having problems is because of their sin (Rom. 3:23; Prov. 13:15), and that they are not functioning according to the way God has intended them to function (Is.  43:7; 2 Cor. 5:9).[2]

Once they see, according to God’s Word, that they are guilty of sin, and are not functioning to bring God glory, they should be offered hope that their lives can change. They should be given hope for change because God is a God of hope (Rom. 15:13). The counselees also need to know that biblical change is not easy. It comes through endurance and the encouragement that comes through God’s Word and Spirit (Rom. 15:4).

Lastly, the counselees need to leave the first session with a few truths on which to think. One, an understanding of their personal guiltiness. We can sin in our thoughts or actions, or in our responses to other’s actions which flow out of their thoughts. 

Two, they need to leave with a foundational understanding that they will be counseled through God’s Word. God’s Word, not man’s philosophical system is the all-sufficient and authoritative source. Three, they need to leave with a plan of action from the counselor for the week ahead –including homework. The counseling hour is not a magical hour. Our counselee needs to be renewing their mind on Scripture all week (Rom. 12:2). The reason they are before us in the first place is precisely because they have been renewing their mind on something other than Scripture. 

Fourth, they need to leave with hope in the fact the God’s Word has what they need. Do not conclude your time together with the idea that you, a psychological system, or the bottom of a pill bottle is their hope. All of those can, and in several cases, will fail them. A greater love for Christ, is what they need, not a seared conscience which comes about through false means of treatment or idolatry of the one helping. Send them on their way with prayer and hope in the all-sufficient, Divinely inspired Word of hope and truth; the Bible. There is no other real hope available, but Christ, and it is He Who is revealed in the pages of Scripture. We are not helping our counselees get what they want to be happier. We are helping them become or be better Christians (Matt. 28:20). We are after what God is after; holiness in the lives of others. That is real hope.

We hope our short time considering the first-time counseling was helpful. Lord willing, next week we will begin considering how to develop involvement with a counselee (disciplee). Until then may our Lord bless you and keep you.

[1] Please note that we are not saying the Bible alone is to be used in biblical counseling. There are many fine and biblically accurate works which can also be used. We are saying that the Bible is the single source of authority since it is revelation from God to men.

[2] To be clear, the counselee may not be the perpetrator of a sinful event towards another. However, they can be having problems because they have responded in a sinful fashion. In either case there is sin involved.

Scripture's Sufficiency and Biblical Counseling Foundations of Biblical Counseling: Counselee Involvement