The nature of biblical counseling is
such that we often times deal with people in crisis. Their crises seem to be
heaped one upon the other and so they go from crisis to crisis. Upon
questioning I generally discover there is a resistance to spiritual growth;
either blatant or because the person is self-deceived it is unknown to them.
The question of whom or what is controlling
the counselee’s life such as emotions, thoughts and activities is the critical
question to understanding a resistance to spiritual growth. The answer to the
worship question is a great revealer and can often times unlock the whole
problem of spiritual stagnancy.
How do we determine what the counselee
is worshipping? Worship is revealed by
our sin life. What a person is willing to sin to get or have is a great
revelation of whom or what they worship. We see these as external or fruit sins,
and they include things like lying, anger, fear, bitterness, depression,
drunkenness, anxiety and excessive debt. They are evidence of disobedience to
We call them bad fruit and they are not
really the problem, but the evidence of
the problem. They are the result of
what the person thinks, desires, believes, and want in their heart.
problem is what we call the root sin. It is the sin beneath the sin that causes
the fruit sin. It is the heart-act of refusing to have Jesus Christ as your
When a person does not have Jesus as their
heart’s desire, something else has taken His place. Typically, a person seats themselves
on that throne of worship and begins to idolize themselves.
When this happens then thoughts,
beliefs, and desires like those that follow become front and center: often the
women will tell me that she “needs” privacy, freedom from stress, and personal
liberty or freedom in order to be content.
She may also demand to be in control and have standards of perfection in
order to be happy. When a woman worships
herself she will also demand approval, affirmation, love and relationship in
order to be content.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will
produce these types of evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts,
eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic
activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish
ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your
own little group. Galatians 5:19-20
It is important to note that not all desires
are necessarily sinful. Good desires become sinful desires when they
In truth, we all have this worship disorder.
A worship disorder is a sin disorder and were it not for grace, we’d all be
doomed to be idolaters. It is clear we can underestimate our tendency
for idolatry and we do not see that our own desires, perceived rights,
passions, lusts, beliefs are often bent on having our own way. We do not
understand our own sinful hearts. Even when a person does understand, they often don’t know and do not know how to break
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, as sinners, we are easily
led astray and are easily bent on having our own way, living for our pleasures
and having me, me, me at the center of my universe.
Those who begin to see the trap they
have walked or fallen into will often seek psychological counseling or seek
medication. Sadly, this often results in
masking the true sinful issues that drive the problem (heart issues)
These remedies amount to little more than rearranging the flesh. Tomorrow we will look at the biblical alternatives.