Why Biblical Counseling?Light in Darkness
by Dr. Ernie Baker, Pastor of Counseling and Discipleship
I like flashlights. I have big flashlights and little ones. There is one in my truck and a few in the nightstand by the bed. Some are bright and some need new batteries! One flashlight in particular has come in handy many times. It is a big heavy one that takes large batteries; and when the batteries are fresh, it beams like headlights on a car and lights up much of our dark backyard.
We live in a time, both locally and internationally, where it seems like the darkness is overwhelming and we desperately need light. Whether it is political tenseness, hearing about yet another marriage that is in trouble, or getting the latest statistics on the opioid crisis, the darkness can feel oppressive. I’m thankful to have light in the midst of darkness. This is not a weak light needing new batteries. It is a penetrating light that can take the fears of the unknown night away and light a path so we can safely walk.
Why biblical counseling? In the midst of cultural darkness, we have reliable light from God.The nature of God’s Word is light.
There is much confusion about how to handle the issues of life. Whether it’s relational conflict or substance abuse, there is not unity on the best approach for help. Into this confusion God’s Word brings clarity. Psalm 119:130 says, "The unfolding of Your words gives light...." And it is a, "lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (ESV, Psalm 119:105). God speaks into confusion. We have truth in a world of theory.
Scripture also claims that this light is the living voice of God in the midst of worldwide darkness. God is still speaking through His Word. Hebrews 4:12 states, "The word of God is living...." Since we believe in the doctrine of inspiration, we believe that the Bible is "God breathed." It is his breath, and breath represents life. As the Soul Care pastors of the 1600’s said, "What God’s Word says, God is saying."
Whether it is emotional or relational issues, God speaks to it. If there is a question of right or wrong, Scripture speaks. If there is hopelessness, God speaks. If there is fear, God speaks. If there is an enslaving habit, God speaks. If there is a question on raising children, God, the Creator of children, speaks. God is actively speaking. In fact, the darker the night, the brighter the light of God’s Word shines!
It is not just light, it is living light. Since it is the light of the all-powerful God of the universe, think lightning, not flashlight!The nature of the gospel is light.
In addition to Scripture being light, the gospel is, too. Paul says, when speaking about the gospel, "Light shall shine out of darkness" (2 Corinthians 4:6). Our Lord said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).
Since the gospel is not just a message to believe but a person to follow, when someone experiences saving faith, the master begins to change his or her life (see Matthew 11:28-30). Through regeneration (being "born again," John 3:3), a power is unleashed in his or her life. As a person applies the living Word of God to his life, his desires and habits begin to change through the power of the Holy Spirit and loving one another-ing of a church (Galatians 6:1-2).
Allow me to close with just one illustration of how light can penetrate the darkness of a national crisis. I was told recently that one hospital in our area has ten overdoses a day! I was then told by a funeral home owner that he has three-to-five funerals monthly because of overdoses. He then added there are 21 funeral homes in our city. That equates to somewhere between 60 to 100 deaths a month related to substance abuse. This is really bad news.
Here’s the good news. I believe the Lord and His Word can change even people with drug addictions! For example, the statistics above were in the context of a discussion with a former heroin addict that was liberated and is now living by the light of the Word and in full-time ministry. The gospel penetrates a soul wracked by substance abuse and shines light to draw precious people to be followers of the Lord.
Much more could be written to answer the question, "Why biblical counseling?" but these two points are foundational. Both the living Word and the living gospel penetrate the dark issues of the soul. God is speaking and God is changing people.What is Biblical Counseling?