Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:15 (ESV)
Recently I had a second opportunity to meet with a previous counselee. When I previously met with the young woman I'll call Brittany, she did not take biblical counseling seriously. She was more interested in just talking about her problems, and was unwilling to commit to a course of biblical change. This most recent visit comes more than a year after we discontinued meeting together, and I was surprised she made another attempt to meet with me.
When Brittany arrived it was clear life had been hard on her. After spending time catching up, I asked what brought her back to my office. She told me she was simply tired; tired of running, tired of how she was living, tired of being tired. In the course of our conversation she admitted what I already suspected, that she was not a Christian when we previously met, and that had not changed.
How could this be? Brittany had been in church her entire life! Her parents were Christians! She went to youth group, teen activities. retreats, and conferences and now she is confessing that she was not truly regenerate! She had been pretending all along.
Those who do biblical soul care have a unique opportunity to meet with people who are in the midst of a crisis and are not saved, and people who think they are saved but are not. It is the perfect time to introduce them to the Savior. I want my counselee's to understand that their problems are what God is using to bring them to this point of decision in their life. Their problems are tools that He is using to reveal that they are in need of a savior. I give them hope that the Bible has the answers to their problems, and that I am confident that we could discover those answers if they decide to go on with counseling.
I have said before that I believe we have churches full of Brittany's; people who are trying to work out a salvation they do not even possess. People who are confused, defeated and miserable because their lives have not changed one bit since they prayed a prayer, walked an aisle or raised a hand to ask Jesus into their heart. They have no new desires, no new direction, and no power to overcome the sin that plagues them. Biblical counsel relies 100% on the activity of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life for change. Therefore, if there is no Holy Spirit, there will be no real or lasting change.
When a person professes Christ and it is a true conversion, there will be a change in their life. 2 Cor. 5:17 tells us that there has been a transformation inside- the believer is a new creation, the old has passed away, we have become new. We have been divinely enabled to change, to be holy, to live the life God has called us to live!
A person who is a Believer will have evidence in their lives of their claim. There will be an ongoing desire for holiness and an increasing hatred of their sin (Rom 7:15-25). It is not as though they are sinless, but progress in holiness is evident. The goal of all counseling is change, but not change in circumstances or change in feelings. The goal of biblical counseling is heart level change that brings about a life that glorifies God.