If it were not for the grace of God we would be doomed to remain idolaters and we would remain in bondage to the sins of "self." Even though we are redeemed we can still fall prey to idols of the heart and I think this is because we underestimate our tendency for the sin of idolatry. I think we truly do not see that our own desires, passions, lusts, perceived rights and beliefs are often geared toward having our own way. This is because we grossly underestimate our own sinful hearts.
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9 ESV)
Pastor Tim Keller says, "Our worship disorder is the very heart act of refusing to have Jesus Christ as our heart's functional trust, preoccupation, loyalty, service, fear, and delight (security, contentment, and joy).
This is why we are easily led astray and are easily bent on having our own way, living life for our own pleasures and having "me" at the center of my universe. This is why it is not enough to just deal with the person's actions. We are entirely capable of helping a person function better in her rebellion against toward God thus encouraging a further hardening of the heart. This approach only entrenches sinful patterns of the heart.
We do not want to teach a person how to function best ignoring the goals that God has for them, we want to teach them how to honor the Lord as God and to give thanks (Rom 1:21). Anything that falls short of that is deficient and cannot be called true biblical discipleship. We are charged with teaching our counselee a proper view of life and the world that we live in. We have to teach her to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and we have to teach her how to do that.
Yes, we must be practical but we cannot be pragmatists. We cannot endorse the rearrangement of the flesh and consider that to be "biblical counseling." Too much of what is currently considered to be Christian counseling stops before dealing with the root sin and exists only on the level of behavior, or on the victim level.
Biblical Counseling/Discipleship must be about the change of heart to correct the worship disorder. This is why worship is the central issue in biblical counseling- who or what are you worshiping today? This question must be answered if we are going to get at the heart of the presenting problems the counselee brings to the table of discussion.
Special thanks to my friend and fellow counselor Pastor Bruce Roeder.