From time to time it seems prudent to remind you what the focus of our ministry. People helping is not so much about the behavioral outcome, although that is part of what we expect to happen. Our methodology is more about the changes that take place inside a person and how those inner changes overflow into behaviors and words.
Our methodology is based on Scripture. We find the Word of God to be thoroughly sufficient to address all the issues of life. Because there is truly no new sin to be found, there are no new remedies to be found. We can try and get creative in the approach that is used, but ultimately it still comes down to conviction, confession, and repentance.
This is why it is so crucial that we properly identify the problem. Without correct identification of the problem we may entirely miss the heart issue that needs to be addressed. This is most evident when we are counseling those considered addicts and alcoholics. The secular perspective is based on the disease model and considers these to be medical problems at their root. The biblical perspective is that the counselee has developed sinful patterns of living that have led them to the point of physical bondage to their substance of choice.
When we counsel addicts and alcoholics we use biblical terminology to define their issues. We label the issues as drunkenness and idolatry. While secession of the substance use is necessary, our counseling focus is not exclusively on the drinking or drug use. We know that the behaviors are symptoms of a greater problem of the heart. In our counseling center we focus less on pulling the bad fruit (drinking, drug use, gambling, etc.) off the tree because we know that very soon new bad fruit will grow in its place. Our goal and desire is to get to the root of the problem that leads the counselee to desire escape, thrills, solace or whatever payoff they receive through the use of the substance.
Of course we take the presenting problem seriously; we expect radical amputation of the sin from the person's life. The consequences of continuing in sin can be at the very least relationship destroying. We know the Lord Jesus Christ takes sin very seriously. In Matthew 5:29-30 He tells us to go as far as we possibly can to rid ourselves of the temptation to sin. He uses the example of plucking out an eye or chopping off a hand if those are what lead to sin. It is better to be missing a few body parts and gain heaven than it is to be physically whole and condemned. Now I guess I ought to say that I am not recommending self-mutilation but I do think a person should be willing to deal with their sin in a radical manner.
What does it look like to deal radically with your sin? It means getting rid of all the alcohol in the house, staying away from bars, parties, old drinking buddies and every thing else that leads to temptation to drink. It means being willing to go to any length needed to stop destructive behavior. Radical amputation means radical life change.
It also means radical amputation of the heart. Addiction is really a heart issue, and to get through radical heart surgery is necessary. The roots of the counselee's heart are steeped in "self" and the worship of their own desires. Changing what guides and motivates the heart is the only thing that will permanently change actions. When thoughts, beliefs, and desires are changed from "ME" to "GOD," and changed from pleasing self, serving self, and worshiping self, to how the counselee can live life to glorify God then and only then will their life begin to change.
This is why we focus on heart change! What guides and motivates the heart is what will change the results (fruit) of their life.
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God-who chose you to be his children-is holy. For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
Practice holiness brings God glory. That is to be the goal of each of our lives, to bring our gracious and wonderful God glory each day. It is the reason we are here, to glorifying God.