There are many reasons for doing biblical counseling—the ultimate of which is to glorify God. But there are other reasons—one of which I would like to briefly address. This particular motivation falls under the second greatest biblical commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). I counsel biblically because I truly believe that the gospel of Christ can change (help) people better, faster, and more completely than anything the competition has to offer (cf. Romans 1:16).
“Competition?” you ask.
Yes, competition. You know, those other 250 or so theories of counseling out there that attempt to bring about change in people’s behavior apart from the three most powerful agents for change in the entire universe—the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the local church.
Allow me to give you a bit of my personal testimony. I never really wanted to be a counselor—especially a full-time counselor! But years ago, a good number of my Bible college friends and professors began expressing the idea that they believed the Lord had given me some kind of “counseling gift.” They said, “Lou, you should go to graduate school to put some polish on this gift or ability the Lord has given you.”
“How boring,” I thought. “Helping people solve their personal difficulties has been fun, but sitting behind a desk, listening to problems day after day is not at all what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
But on the other hand, so many people were encouraging me to go to graduate school (to obtain a counseling degree) that I figured the Lord wanted me to go. “After all,” I reasoned, ‘in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every fact be established,’ and have more people than that urging me to do this. Perhaps I’ll be able to use what I learn in some other kind of pastoral ministry. But, I still don’t want to be “a counselor.”
So off I went, thinking that the Christian university I chose was going to be nouthetically-oriented. It was not!
After the initial shock of finding myself in the midst of an integrated counseling program wore off, I began diving deeply into my psychological studies. Day after day, week after week as I began imbibing those ungodly philosophies (theologies, really) of man and how he is supposed to change, I began to realize how poverty stricken and dangerous these “state of the art” humanistic theories and methods of counseling really are. I soon came to realize that the little bit of Bible knowledge I had was far superior to the “worldly wisdom” in the theories I was being taught. Then one day, it dawned on me: “This stuff can’t compete with the Scriptures! There really is no competition to a biblical counseling approach! I can do this, and by God’s grace, I can do it much better than those who depend on methods and theories of change that were designed to leave God out of the process.”
From that moment on, I was committed to (and excited about) learning how to become a biblical counselor. Again, it was the realization that there is nothing that can compete with the Scriptures (the Gospel of Christ) when it comes to changing people’s lives that the Holy Spirit used to motivate me (to call me, if you please) to the ministry of biblical counseling.