What is Bible-based, Christ-centered counseling?

counseling session

Many times we are asked, “What is Bible-based, Christ-centered counseling, and how is it different from other counseling?” Without elaborating on the distinctions allow me to simply explain what we do at Crossway. We utilize the Bible and the Life of Christ as recorded in the Gospels as the primary tool to provide answers to the questions and issues plaguing the individual, couple or family God sends our way.

True Bible-based counseling revolves around verses of Scripture like 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted by God” (NASB). As a staff at Crossway, when “our life our way” had failed us time and again, we sought answers from the God who created us and gave us life itself, not from "self-help" guru's that seemed to think they knew it all. God directed us each on a unique journey to people and places where we found acceptance, answers, and the freedom from our past through forgiveness. Our experiences changed each of our lives and started us on new paths through which we have been sustained by the God of all comfort.

Another verse that governs our method is Romans 15:7, “Therefore accept one another just as Christ also accepted us to the Glory of God” (NASB). Thus we listen intently to your “story of life” without judging or condemning you for the way you are walking through life.

While each of us has our own personal story of life, we are also part of a larger story that applies to all humans or heirs of Adam. Dr. David Seamands in his classic book, Healing for Damaged Emotions, tells us that all of us were created with three basic needs: acceptance, belonging, and competency. Others have referred to these needs as: significance, security and sufficiency. Still others say love, acceptance, worth and security describe our God-given needs more comprehensively.

Whichever way, the Bible clearly displays God meeting all these needs for Adam in the Garden of Eden. God gave Adam the Garden with all its rivers, gold, jewels and food showing God’s unconditional acceptance of him. Adam, who was created in the wilderness, was then placed in the garden as God gave Adam a place he belonged. Later, in Genesis 2:19-20, we see that God trusted in Adam’s competency by allowing him to name the animals, and whatever he called the animal that became its name.

The Bible teaches that all of us are born separated from God due to the failure of Adam in the Garden of Eden. "Through one man's transgression death reigned through the one" (Romans 5:17 NASB). The result of this was an inversion of our needs into drives we are led to believe that we must “try harder” to get met through others and our own self. Thus we all begin our walk through life dependent on self and others to meet these needs rather than God. As a result, we are forced to combat the rejections of life each day without His Truth.

This combat creates in us an independent “self-reliance” on our own performance of trying harder to achieve "self-righteousness" through our behavior. Our limited successes at achieving this "self-righteousness” prevent us from ever wanting to stop “trying harder” and begin trusting in God to meet our needs in the same way he did for Adam in the Garden of Eden.

It is important here to note the role of rejection in life. Rejection plays a major part in our life as does shame. Rejection speaks about our success or failure in our behavior. Shame addresses our view of our life, or “self-worth.” Both attack all our basic “needs” and invert them into drives that force us to believe we are the only person that can meet them.

If all this this sounds a little difficult to believe, simply answer this question honestly and you will begin to see the snare Paul writes about in Timothy. “Who do you trust today to meet your needs more than any other person alive on the planet today?” Paul writes these words, “ . . . if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26, NASB).

The Bible tells us this “self” dependency is called our “flesh” and it “wages war” against the Holy Spirit. As we go through life, we begin to believe this "self life" is our identity and that our unique “life story” is our only “lot in life” and cannot be changed.

Bible-based, Christ-centered counseling teaches we can see major changes in our life as we begin to follow Christ and recognize the “self” is not God’s choice for us as a governing force of life. The Gospels tell us that in another Garden, many years after Eden, Jesus became the sacrifice for us when he stated, “yet not my will, but thy will be done” (Luke 22: 42 NASB). As a result of His death for you, you too can have new life and begin a new “life story.”

The resurrected Life of Christ is His choice for us to meet our needs for acceptance. At Crossway we lead and help people like you to learn how to “trust” in Christ as Life rather than trying harder through your flesh or “self-life”. While this process is often difficult, the rewards are practical for this life and eternal for the next one.

God’s truth really will set you free. Give us a call and let us walk along side of you as you learn to trust Christ’s life to heal your hurts.