Those who know me know that I’ve been in on this “in” craze of spirituality (soul care and spiritual direction) for over a quarter century. So, I’m not bolting from it now—especially since it has a lengthy history (try since creation).
And I’m not bolting even though some in the so-called “discernment movement” discern evil new age ideology every time someone says the word “spiritual.” More on that topic in a later blog.
The Key to Truly Biblical Counseling
Here’s the point. Models of counseling come and go. But the key to truly biblical counseling is relationship.
Again, even here there are those who quickly jump on the psycho-heresy bandwagon and claim that any talk about human relationships makes an approach secular and humanistic. As if God never said, “It is not good for Adam to be alone.”
How does one Christian help another Christian in the Christian life to exalt God by enjoying God? It is done via relationships in which we live the truth in love.
This is not secular hooey. This is biblical foundations.
The High Priestly Prayer of Christ
In Christ’s great high priestly prayer in John 17 (the true “Lord’s Prayer”), Jesus lays out His plan for Christianity. Seems we might want to listen to what Christ says about how Christians live out Christianity!
Jesus prays that Christians might be one just as the Son and Father are one. “Just as You, Father, are in me and I am in You” (John 17:20-21).
In the context of John’s Gospel and of John 17, Jesus’ prescription for oneness is clear. God calls us to know each other intimately and to love each other deeply. To know and be known.
Honest Relational Questions
So, whatever title we give to our models of counseling, we should be asking ourselves questions that undergird our counseling. Counseling is nothing more and nothing less than how we relate to one another in the body of Christ to encourage one another to be more like Christ; more one with Christ, so Christ is glorified.
So, whether pastor, professional Christian counselor, spiritual director, or lay spiritual friend, how are we answering these questions?
“Do I really know my spouse? Does my spouse know me intimately?”
“Do I know my children deeply? Do my children know me openly?”
“Do I know my co-workers and fellow-laborers? Do they know me?”
“Do I really know the people in my church; in my small group? Do they know me?”
“Do I know my parishioners, my counselees, and my spiritual friends? Do they know me?"
Christian counseling, by whatever branding, should be branded with the high priestly prayer of Jesus—to know and be known. To be one as the Trinity is one—a mutual relationship of intimacy.
Who really knows you? Who do you let in? Open up to? Are real and raw with? And who do you really know in a deep, intimate, honest, open way?
Forget, “Where’s the beef?” (You have to be my age to even remember that in the first place.)
Ask, “Where’s the relationship?” Where is the biblical relationship in my “counseling,” “pastoral ministry,” and “lay spiritual friendship?” Yes, where’s the relationship? Who knows us? Who do we know? To know and be known—the essence of true ministry.