“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
As we continue to look at the process and nature of how to deal with sin and solve problems in a right and biblical way, we need to take some time to expand on point four in our last post. Last Tuesday when we look at four ways to deal with problems, only the fourth way was the right and correct way. That way was described as, “Going Through”. In essence, this means that sin can and will only be dealt with in a right and proper way when you go through it. When problems are dealt with in this way, the Lord is glorified because true transformation will begin to take place in the life of the person who is receiving the Biblical Counsel. Here is the problem though. Often times when a Biblical Counselor exposes sin in the life of another, there are two negative responses. These responses must be addressed Biblically and shown to be invalidated. Sin can never be excused away, it must be faced. The job of the Biblical Counselor it to show the brother or sister that he is counseling the seriousness of their sin so that they come to understand how to properly deal with sin in their life.
(I) You Must Face Your Problem: The very first step that the counselee must take in solving sin and problems in their life in a biblical way is by facing their problem. Up until the time that their sin is exposed for what it truly is, men and women (whether they are Christians or not) are always seeking to avoid dealing with the sin in their life. Facing your own sin and acknowledging it for what it is, is the first step in restoration. Facing our problems can also be called ‘confession’. Confession is acknowledging to God that what you have done is wrong in His sight. For many people this is very hard. Why? Because once you acknowledge that what you have done is wrong, if you are a child of God, you are going to see it as wrong and begin to change. Change is hard but change into the image of Christ is the goal in counseling (and the goal of the Christian life!). Therefore change can only begin when one chooses to face their own sin.
(II) You Can’t Say Can’t: Besides the fact that many people who need counsel do not want to face their problems, most of the time it is unavoidable. The problem is right there, everyone can see it, and everyone knows that it must be dealt with. What often happens in counseling then is for the person who has had their sin exposed to say, “I can’t change. It is too impossible, I can’t do it.” In counseling the word, ‘can’t’ is taboo. The reason the Biblical Counselor can say this is because of what Paul says to us in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Paul makes the point that there is no sin, no trial, no temptation that is ‘unique’ to you, or that you can’t overcome. God does not allow mankind to excuse their sin away by saying, ‘I can’t’. Every person does struggle with sin in a unique and different way that the other but at the heart, every man who is a child of God can and must resist the temptation to sin. For the Biblical Counselor to communicate to those he encourages that others before him have struggled will give his counselee great hope. (We will take an in-depth look at hope in the coming posts). The person who struggles with sin can be encouraged that many others have overcome it, but they also are challenged then to overcome it themselves. There is no excusing away sin in Biblical Counseling, sin must be dealt with. Paul allows for no exceptions, even if you say, ‘I can’t’ God has already said, ‘You can!’
When we look at 1 Cor. 10:13 we can be sure that others have faced the same temptations as us and overcome them. We also can also be encouraged that we will never be lead to a place where we cannot bear the weight of temptation and therefore give into sin. No Christian at any given time can say that they sinned because they couldn’t help it. God never allows His children to be tempted beyond what they are able to endure, rather He always provides a way of escape! God has given us His grace, the Holy Spirit, sanctification, knowledge of His Word and Prayer to fight against sin and temptation in our time of need. The Christian counselor should comfort those he counsels with the hope that they can resist the temptation to sin.
The attitude of saying, “I can’t” plays a huge role into how a person thinks about their Christian life. The one who constantly thinks that they can’t will probably never come to a place where they can. When you think you can’t change, you will probably do little to actually try and change. When they constantly preach to themselves, “I can’t deal with this sin.” They are actually saying that God is being unfaithful to them. Remember what Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:13, “God is faithful…!” To say that you can’t is to effectively say that God is not powerful enough to help you deal with the sin in your life. You therefore destroy the power and character of God and make Him out to be a liar. No matter how difficult and no matter how unique there is always a way of escape from one’s sin. You can’t say can’t.
And this is the real hope that is brought into the life of a counselee who is struggling with sin. As they live their life constantly denying and avoiding their sin, trying to hide from it, making excuses and say that they can’t deal with it, their problems become more complicated and a solution harder to achieve. But, when the light of God’s Word is brought into the conversation, it gently and graciously exposes sin for what it is and shows the counselee that they in fact can change! They can deal with their sin because God said that they can and He is faithful. The wonder of Biblical Counseling therefore is the hope that it gives! No other counseling system offers the hope of true, lasting, and lifelong change except for Biblical Counseling. This essential truth of hope is what we will look at in the coming posts as we continue on the path of how to solve problems biblically.