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Foundations of Biblical Counseling: Total Restructuring

Topic: counseling

Welcome back to week 43. We hope the past week has been a blessed one for you. Last week we briefly examined with whom biblical counselors should and should not cooperate in the counseling process. This week we will briefly consider the topic of total restructuring. What exactly is it? How does it work and why is it important for us to understand?

As is our practice, we will first define our new term. What is total restructuring? Total restructuring is the total reworking of one’s beliefs and life patterns from those which are erroneous and sinful to those which are true and righteous. It’s obvious, after reading the definition, why total restructuring is important. It’s important because it helps us move from sinful beliefs and practices to righteous ones. That is required to please God and is indicative of one who loves God. In order to better understand how total restructuring works we will use an example of it in a person who has chosen a homosexual life-style. 

Total restructuring for a person who has chosen the homosexual lifestyle would really be no different than a person who has chosen an adulterous lifestyle, or any other sinful lifestyle. The principle of total restructuring one’s life flows out of the biblical principle of radical amputation. The principle and practice of radical amputation deals with true biblical repentance (cf. Matt. 5:7-30; Eph. 4:17-29).[1] Thus, true repentance will precede and manifest total restructuring.

The first step in helping a counselee who is struggling with homosexuality is to help him or her understand that the Bible calls their homosexuality, sin. They need to be made aware that they are living in sin and not merely victims of their genetics, social factors, or a sickness. The Bible calls homosexual thoughts and acts sin which is worthy of death.

In fact, the apostle Paul, in Romans 1:26 says that homosexuality is “degrading passion.” In verse 27 he says it’s an “indecent act…an error.” In verse 28 Paul says that the homosexual person has a “depraved mind.” Later, in verse 32, he says that homosexuality is “worthy of death” (cf. Lev. 18:22; 20:13). Showing the counselee, from Scripture, that his or her homosexual behavior is sin sets the stage for the second step in help: giving hope.

The second step in helping a counselee who is in homosexual sin is to show him or her that there is hope. There is hope for the counselee precisely because homosexuality is sin. There is no hope in changing one’s genes. However, there is tremendous hope in dealing with sin because Jesus Christ specializes in dealing with sin. Jesus saves His people from their sin and washes it from them (Matt. 1:21; 1 Cor. 6:11).

Thirdly, the counselee must be exhorted to take off his sinful life patterns. He must start by immediately cutting off (i.e., radically amputating), any ungodly relationships that contribute to his sin. According to the Apostle Paul this would be a very wise decision (1 Cor. 15:33). One good and helpful way to make this happen would be during a counseling session via phone. This would add accountability and give support to your counselee. The counselor would be there listening, which would hold the counselee accountable, as he or she calls their past partner in sin, denounces that life-style choice, repents to the other person for helping them sin, gives them the Gospel, and calls them to repent and believe, too. The fact that the counselor is there and invested in the counselee’s life would be a lot of emotional support during such a time.

Next, the counselee must completely restructure his or her life so as to avoid any other contributing factors to his choice of homosexuality. This would include, but not necessarily be limited to, changing his place of living, his job or career, his friends, his clothing, his mannerisms, his speech, and/or any daily activities that contribute(d) to his homosexual lifestyle while beginning, and practicing, a biblically congruent thought life and life-style. That is radical amputation. That is taking off sin and putting on righteousness in order to please Christ (cf. Eph. 4).

Lastly, homosexuality, as with any other life dominating sin, breads other sin. Due to the associated guilt of homosexuality, like other life dominating sins, the counselee will also develop sinful skills of self-justification, lying, drunkenness, and drug abuse of both the legal and illegal kinds in order to silence their conscience. The counselee who has chosen homosexuality should not only have his sexual deviancy counseled, he should have every aspect of his life closely examined in order to gain help and victory over all associated sin.

The homosexual counselee must mass dump all his sin at the foot of the cross. He must trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and the ability to put on righteousness in place of the sin which was cut off. The counselee should be instructed by the counselor to structure his new life in a way that pleases the Lord. That means living his life to glorify God, not himself (Is. 43:7; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 5:9).

In order to help us discern what a life like that looks like we would see a life that includes prayer. It would also be a life of daily Bible study and regular church attendance. It would be a life of seeking to handle the inevitable consequences of the past lifestyle choices rightly. That would be accomplished by trusting the Lord and accepting the consequences, seeking to strengthen any spiritual weaknesses with God’s Word, seeking regular sleep patterns and good health so that obedience to God’s Word is not made more difficult by poor health, etc. It would be doing everything in his or her power to make right, what they did everything in their power to make wrong (Rom. 12:18). It would be a totally restructured life unto the glory of Christ.

Furthermore, since the homosexual lifestyle is dominated by sexual lust it would also be wise to begin looking at God’s answer to immorality: marriage to the opposite sex (1 Cor. 7:9). Total restructuring is nothing less than a 180 degree turn of heart and life from sin to sanctification which is made possible only by the Savior. Let us make no mistake about it. This is not mechanically, legalistically changing one’s life to keep rules. This is a life, that has been changed by Christ. This is the heart’s desire of one who has been regenerated by the Lord. He or she would be eager to totally restructure their thinking and living because Christ is now loved more than sin.  We hope our short time considering total restructuring in the counseling / discipleship process was helpful. Lord willing, next week we will briefly develop a biblical view of emotions using references from both Testaments. How are we to think about our emotions? Should they have guiding authority in our lives? Until then may our Lord bl

[1] It is assumed in this scenario that the counselee is truly a Christian who is struggling with the sin of homosexuality and is in hope of getting rid of it forever and pursuing a Christ glorifying life. Otherwise, evangelism would be needed before biblical counseling could occur.

Foundations of Biblical Counseling: Cooperation Foundations of Biblical Counseling: Viewing Emotions Biblically