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Biblical Counseling Coalition: Grace & Truth

Marriage with a Chronically Self-Centered Spouse

Self-CenteredSpouse

A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the third of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Biblical Counseling and Marriage. In today’s post, Brad Hambrick provides counsel for a Marriage with a Chronically Self-Centered Spouse. You can read Part 1 by Robert Cheong at What Principles Guide My First Meeting with a Couple in Marital Crisis? And you can read Part 2 by Li Beach at Dear Missionary.

We Are All Self-Centered

We are all self-centered spouses and married to self-centered spouses. That is what it means for us body-bound souls (always having our self as the center of our world) corrupted by sin (most naturally thinking of our own interests). But there are cases where this “general self-centeredness” becomes chronic—severe to a point that it results in a toxic marital environment of either abuse or neglect.

In this blog we will examine how Jesus directs His followers to respond to chronically broken relationships as we reflect primarily on Matthew 7:6 as the culmination to the more classic text on relational conflict in Matthew 7:1-5. This post is a modified excerpt from the Marriage with Chronically Self-Centered Spouse blog series, which became a booklet.

Stage One: Minor Offense, Broad Relationships (Matthew 7:1-2)

Leading into these verses, Jesus had taught for two chapters on the moral ideal (Matthew 5-6). Listening to Jesus dissect the human heart must have been convicting. Doubtless many listeners wanted to apply His message to a friend who “needed it more than they did.” Jesus cut them off at the pass and says (paraphrased), “By whatever standard you apply my teaching to others, God will apply it to you. Give the grace you need to receive.”

You can imagine someone raising their hand and sincerely asking Jesus, “Teacher, I’ve tried that. Usually it works very well (when I am willing to apply it), but I have some relationships that don’t get better. It feels like I’m being asked to ignore important offenses. I understand it is a man’s ‘glory to overlook an offense’ (Proverbs 19:11), but is that the only way your followers can respond to offenses?”

Stage Two: Moderate Offense, Closer Relationship (Matthew 7:3-5)

Jesus takes up that question and answers by changing the metaphor from judging to logs and specks (paraphrased), “Start by admitting your sin before you confront someone else’s. Model what it looks like to live by the grace you’re wanting them to embrace. Create an environment that sets up reconciliation. Besides, if you don’t, you’re a hypocrite.”

You can imagine many people liking that answer. It is more “real,” is very practical, and allows for a gracious confrontation. But then someone else raises their hand, “Lord, that is great counsel. I’ve done that and it usually works. But I’ve got a couple of relationships where the more I take the log out of my own eye, the more I get hurt. Should I just continue to ‘turn the other cheek’ or is there another way I can respond?”

Stage Three: Major Offense, Intimate Relationship (Matthew 7:6)

Jesus takes up that question as well by changing the metaphor from logs and eyes to dogs and pigs. The first example appears to be for aggressive offenders (dogs) while the second would be for the passive offenders (pigs).1

Before we examine these two metaphors, we should recognize verse 6 is not usually discussed as the conclusion for verses 1-5. Textually, there are three options.

  1. Verse 6 is the beginning of the next thought unit in Jesus’ sermon (v. 7-11). But these are on prayer and there is little logical connection.
  1. Verse 6 is Jesus’ disconnected “squirrel verse” as if something distracted His attention and He dropped an obscure proverb in the midst of an otherwise well-ordered sermon.
  1. Verse 6 in the culmination of Jesus’ teaching on relationships and conflict in verses 1-5. That seems the logical conclusion when you consider the context.

I believe there are two reasons why this passage is often not taught as the culmination of verses 1-5.

  1. The preceding verses are very dense with application. A preacher or teacher can easily fill their allotted time with explanation, illustration, and application of Jesus’ words on relationships and conflict. The result is that little time is left for verse 6.
  1. Verse 6 applies to the most broken and, therefore, minority cases of conflict. It can be hard for a pastor to devote teaching time to problems that affect 20% of the church, especially when doing so would seemingly excuse temptations to back away from relationships prematurely in 80% of the church (statistics arbitrarily chosen for contrast).

But as far back as the 1600’s, pastors like Matthew Henry have utilized this passage in the manner we will apply it in this post.

“Our zeal against sin must be guided by discretion, and we must not go about to give instructions, counsels, and rebukes, much less comforts, to hardened scorners, to whom it will certainly do no good, but who will be exasperated and enraged at us…Our Lord Jesus is very tender of the safety of his people, and would not have them needlessly to expose themselves to the fury of those that will turn again and rend them…Christ makes the law of self-preservation one of his own laws, and precious is the blood of his subjects to him” (p. 72) Matthew Henry in his Commentary on Matthew.

“Do not give dogs what is holy…lest they…turn to attack you.” There were many wild dogs in Jerusalem that roamed the streets. But if an animal lover tried to feed one, the dog would bite the hand that offered it food. Similarly, Eddie [case study from earlier in the booklet] would attack the gracious efforts of his wife to restore the marriage. Her efforts at restoration resulted in her repeated harm. Jesus says it is permissible to stop feeding such dogs.

“Do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot.” A pig has no use for nice things. Similarly, Jim [another case study from earlier in the booklet] would ignore or minimize anything his wife tried to address – log (her faults) or speck (his faults). She could exhaust herself trying to make things better and, like a pig, Jim would just “waller” in himself.

This does not remove hope from a self-centered marriage. But it does grant freedom for the abused or neglected spouse from unduly owning the problem. It brings to bear Romans 12:18 for such a spouse, “As far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Jesus is saying that once you leave stage two, “it” (restoration) no longer only depends primarily on the abuse-neglected spouse.

Criteria for Declaring Your Spouse a “Dog” or “Pig”

The question becomes, “When should we apply these categories? Most of us are slow to repent at times. We shouldn’t use this passage to justify our impatience or bitterness. How do we differentiate unpleasant and rude from unhealthy and destructive?”

The following criteria are meant to provide guidance on when to apply Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:6. The more of these that are present the more likely you are in a Matthew 7:6 relationship.

Aggressive “Dog” Actions:

  • Physical violence or restricting the ability to move freely.
  • Authority or power is used to silence or intimidate.
  • In arguments, threats are made about alienation from children, family, or friends.
  • Major and/or risky financial decisions are made without your consent or awareness.
  • If you ask for a time out in an argument the spouse will not grant it.
  • The spouse is condescending during a disagreement.
  • The spouse uses the Bible as a weapon to silence dissent.
  • The spouse exaggerates their own achievements, abilities, and importance.

Passive “Pig” Actions:

  • Your pain is consistently met with a “What do you want me to do about it” attitude.
  • Hard times are faced by escaping through substance, entertainment, or pornography.
  • Your day-to-day thoughts and concerns are ignored or misunderstood.
  • Your spouse withdraws and/or pouts for days if he is upset with you.
  • Your spouse has a hard time taking pleasure in the joy of others.

Relevant to Both Aggressive and Passive:

  • When apologies are given, the wrongs are minimized, redefined, or blame is shifted.
  • You are shamed for feeling hurt or tried to be silenced when you’re upset.
  • Clearly immoral actions are defended as acceptable.
  • There are repeated lies about known offenses.
  • The spouse will question known facts during an argument.
  • After an explosive exchange the spouse wants to act like nothing happened.
  • Inflexible thinking – what they are thinking of must be the subject of conversation.

In later parts of the blog series and booklet, I examine how to respond if these criteria describe your spouse. For now, you (and your spouse) need to know that your “right response” to these actions will not “fix” the marriage.

The offended spouse frequently fluctuates between effort and despair. Don’t take this assessment to mean that you are left with “nothing to do.” You are doing the most important thing right now–educating yourself on why your previous efforts have been ineffective.

Other Suggested Reading

Join the Conversation

Does accurately assigning responsibility where it belongs and categorizing the degree of brokenness in a marriage feel like it contradicts the teaching of 1 Peter 3:1-6?

How does rightly labeling the severity of an abusive or chronically neglectful spouse’s behavior allow both the offended spouse and church to respond more wisely to these kinds of marriage situations?


1In this verse Jesus appears to be using the chiastic poetic structure common to that time and biblical literature: A-B-B-A to dog-pig-trample-attack. The distinction in aggression can be seen in the animals chosen; wild dogs are aggressive animals and pigs are almost universally viewed as passive/lazy. The verb “trample” for pigs might not give a passive connotation until it is considered in light of the normal activity of pigs. Pigs trample many things, but it is not the wild stampede of a herd of buffalo; rather it is walking over things as part of their daily routine.

Topics: BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, Marriage & Family, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Sin | Tags: , , ,

Dear Missionary: Should You Marry a Boyfriend Who Doesn’t Want to be a Missionary?

DearMissionary

A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the second of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Biblical Counseling and Marriage. In today’s post, Li Beach shares biblical wisdom regarding decision making concerning marriage and ministry. You can read Part 1 by Robert Cheong at What Principles Guide My First Meeting with a Couple in Marital Crisis?

The Call to Ministry

I came to know the Lord a year after college through the faithful preaching of God’s Word. Shortly thereafter, the Lord instilled and grew in me a desire to go overseas to share the good news of Jesus Christ with people who had not yet heard. At the same time, I desired to be married and hoped that God would bring a husband and we could go overseas together.

As the years came and went, no husband appeared.

Eventually, I went overseas as a single woman. I still desired to be married, but I had to entrust my hopes and dreams to the Lord. If marriage were in God’s plans for me, He could easily bring the right person along, despite being half-way across the globe and serving in a place where meeting a potential spouse was very unlikely. After being overseas for a year-and-a-half and fully loving being used to share the gospel with many who had never heard, I returned to the States for a three-month sabbatical, during which time I hoped to equip myself to go back to the field for the indefinite future.

But, God surprised me.

He brought a man into my life who began pursuing me. He seemed like a good guy, but there was just one problem—he was not anywhere close to packing his bags and moving overseas with me. So, I faced a dilemma: how should I respond to his interest in me given our divergent desires for the future?

The Call to Marriage

I am writing this article to those of you who may be facing a similar dilemma. Just as the Lord helped me, so also I hope to help you. But I want to make a few things clear upfront. First, I am not writing to address whether one should go overseas as a single woman. Second, I am not writing to address one’s calling to missions or to marriage in the abstract. Third, given that there are no identical situations, there is no cookie cutter solution. Fourth, I am specifically writing to those of you who are torn between desiring to go overseas and considering the prospect of or already in a dating relationship. As I reflected on the many conversations with friends who have offered me counsel or who are having similar considerations, I want to propose that the decision to date and eventually to marry a particular man should not hinge on a shared mission focus or the lack thereof but rather on whether you can follow him as he follows God.

The call to marriage is a call to follow someone, not a vocation. It is astronomically more important to marry someone who seeks to follow God so that you can follow Him together. What if you made it a condition of dating that he be willing to be a missionary? What if you insisted that in order to date you he needs to be willing to move to a certain region of the world or participate in a certain type of ministry? Insisting that he becomes a missionary presupposes that your plan is God’s will for the two of you. It is building your life around a place and not around God Himself. A vocation may change and any current ministry opportunities may come to an end, but marriage lasts a lifetime. Despite the changing seasons and shifting sceneries, its end to give glory to God should remain the same. Let Christ alone be the foundation of marriage and trust that He will establish ministry opportunities for a couple in the many years they will have together.

All this may sound easy enough on a conceptual level, but I have found that there are some common pitfalls that can secretly creep into our thoughts, even without us consciously acknowledging it. There are many potential challenges that might complicate our decision making.

5 Common Pitfalls

Allow me to share a few common pitfalls I’ve come across, whether rising from within my own heart or those of fellow strugglers.

Having the Martyr Mentality

Going overseas for the sake of the gospel should be highly honored. However, I wonder if sometimes we might be over-elevating it to the “highest calling.” I wonder if we think we might get more approval from God if we were overseas serving in a difficult place than if we were working faithfully at our job and serving our family and local church.

I remember feeling as if I was being “selfish” if I chose getting married over going overseas. Marriage only affects me and going overseas affects so many people who have not heard the gospel. Was I being “selfish” or was I being prideful? It is humbling to think that ultimately, we are not indispensable. God is able to raise up messengers as He wills.

Pitting Missions Against Marriage and Seeing Missions as the Higher Calling

Whether to get married to a specific man is a totally separate question from whether to be a missionary in a given place. Yet, we often hear the two pitted against each other. In evaluating whether to get married or even whether to date a specific man, you should not be asking “is it him or going overseas?” but rather “is it him or is it not him?”

On the same token, may I advise that if you are going to say “no” because of some character or compatibility issue, don’t use missions as the excuse. Marriage and missions have two very different time frames. When we get married, we are committing to a lifetime of faithfulness to our spouse whereas when we commit to going overseas, we are committed to serve for as long as the Lord would have us—understanding that our time there might end due to changing circumstances (i.e. health, war, need, etc.). If the Lord is calling you overseas, it may be for a season, it may be for a lifetime—you won’t know how long until each day arises.

Marriage is a high calling—the Bible tells us that it pictures Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5). Have you ever considered what a great responsibility it is to let your marital relationship be a demonstration of the gospel? Consider also, singleness and a lifetime of celibacy is a wonderful gift that God gives (1 Corinthians 7). If you choose to forego marriage and be a single missionary, that too can be a wonderful calling. Which one will you choose?

Finding Identity in Being a Missionary

I know that for me, I want to do good work and to be valued for what I do. Whether I was working at a research lab, a school, or a law firm, I found value in my work, especially with the praises of colleagues in producing very tangible products. Being a missionary also became a position in which others attributed value to me. Whereas the previous vocations were more secular in nature, being a missionary seemed to have an added temptation to be the source of my identity due to its spiritual nature. I wasn’t just working, but working for God. I was advancing the kingdom of God by bringing the gospel to those who had never heard it before. In an email to a pastor friend who was trying to help me sort through my thoughts, I wrote:

“I do honestly enjoy the work…So, I was actually really sad to think that I had to choose between two things that I really wanted. Somewhere in there, I was also finding ‘worth’ in work (good work, nonetheless) and not wanting to give that up.”

I wonder if you may be facing a similar danger in that you are finding your identity in a vocation, even in being a missionary, overshadowing your identity in Christ. And in that regard, are you using this same standard of measurement to assess the man you are considering to potentially date and marry?

A Guy’s Inauthentic Conversion

Another danger of deciding whether to date or marry a man based on whether or not he wants to go overseas (or any other ministry you have in mind) is that the man might decide to be a missionary in order to win a woman’s affections. Here, the man is following the woman and not the other way around. Why is that bad? Unless the Lord is the one who calls the man to overseas work, there might come a day when he is going to regret it and that will be cause for a lot of conflict in the marriage. If he “converts” to being a missionary so that your relationship will work out, how certain are you that this “conversion” will last?

The Guy Changes His Mind

What if the guy planned to be a missionary, but at some point during dating or marriage, he changed his mind? What would that do to you? If you are more committed to following him than to going to a particular place in the world, then his change of mind might be hard, but it won’t be the end of the world. But if you are more committed to being a missionary than to being with him, then it might be time to break up. Again, date and marry a man for the man, not for what he is going to do with his life. And be willing to follow him wherever the Lord might lead him, whether in the US or overseas.

3 Challenges to the Decision-Making Process

Having looked at the pitfalls, let’s consider three challenges to the decision-making process.

Dating by Vocational Calling

If you have already been serving overseas or want to serve overseas, I know it is very tempting to make that a “requirement” when considering whether or not to date someone. On the surface, it sounds noble and wise, but I wonder if using that as a gauge is adding an unnecessary, if not unwise, requirement. Missionaries do not necessarily make good husbands—some do, but there are also sadly many stories of failed marriages on the field. Missionaries are not “better” Christians.

I wonder if using vocational calling as one of the preliminary evaluation criteria is causing you to miss out on getting to know someone whose life has been transformed by the grace of God and who could potentially be a wonderful godly husband?

And as mentioned before, vocations can change. Dating on the basis of vocational calling presumes that we know what God has in store for the future. If it is the vocational calling that is holding a marriage together, will it vanish as the vocation vanishes? Underneath that mutual calling to the mission field needs to be a fundamental commitment to each other regardless of where the Lord leads them. If one spouse can no longer stay on the field, will the other spouse grow bitter?

Feeling Like a Sellout to Leave the Field

In that same email I referenced above, I wrote:

“I was wrestling with what seems like God making me choose between [missions and marriage] and I felt torn. Part of the reason is that because I’ve gone through the ‘letting go of marriage’ to go overseas phase, it almost felt shameful to go back. I know that is not true and that marriage is a good thing to desire and pursue. I guess my prideful heart didn’t want to be ‘that girl’ that left the field because of a guy.”

For me, leaving the field also meant disappointing my friends and wearing a scarlet letter of shame. I saw being overseas as an honorable thing and participating in a noble task. But my response clearly showed that I had also developed some unhealthy biases, and even wrong judgments on others who had left the field. If being a missionary were the ultimate calling in serving God, then anything else would be second at best. No surprise, I felt ashamed to give it up.

Dragging out the “Missions or Marriage” Decision

With all that said, it may be that the Lord is calling you overseas and that you desire that more than marriage itself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The warning/exhortation I want to give you is to settle that early. Break-ups are never fun. But early break-ups are a lot better than those that are dragged out. It is also unfair for the guy you are dating if you are set on going overseas.

The End of My Story

I hope pointing out some of these potential pitfalls and challenges has helped you in examining your heart. This article is not meant to guilt you into saying “yes” to potentially dating or marrying a man who has been pursuing you. There are a bunch of reasons why you could say “no.” Just keep in mind, if you desire to pursue marriage, your decision should be based more on this man’s character than on his vocation and willingness to go overseas.

So what happened to me?

After wrestling with the idea of dating this man, even though he was not prepared to go overseas, and yet seeing many commendable qualities in him, I decided to give it a shot. To my surprise, after a few months of dating in the US and then continuing the relationship long-distance, we got engaged and married shortly thereafter. He moved overseas for a little bit to allow me to wrap up what I was doing on the field, and we moved back to the States where I am a full-time housewife and serve at our local church (talk about struggling to not use a worldly perspective to assess the value of what I do). After our return to the States, the Lord has brought along many people from the country I served in that we can minister to with the gospel. My husband’s time overseas has fostered in him a greater burden to serve there in the future. We have no idea what the Lord has in store for us in the future, but we are content to follow Him together as He leads us. What a joy it is to follow God together as a single unit!

Topics: BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, Marriage & Family, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , ,

What Principles Guide My First Meeting with a Couple in Marital Crisis?

PrinciplesGuideMaritalCounseling

A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the first of a four-part BCC Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Biblical Counseling and Marriage. In today’s post, Pastor Robert Cheong provides 16 principles to ponder before you start your first meeting with a couple in marital crisis.

Where Do I Start?

Ministry requires never ending learning and growing. I am constantly reminded about something I need to do and develop. Just a few weeks ago, a fellow elder emailed me asking for guidance for how he and his wife should start their first meeting with a couple who was in marital crisis. My mind raced through my various training lessons and notes. What I found was too detailed, too sketchy, or not relevant.

As I started to jot down a few thoughts, I found myself grateful for the simple request since it revealed a glaring hole in how we equip our ministry leaders.

You will find two sections below. The first section is what the leader couple—the husband and wife leading in the care—will share with the couple seeking help. The second section outlines what the leader couple will share with the couple who was asked to join the care process. What do I mean by this? At Sojourn, we seek to offer care in community so we ask every couple requesting care to invite a couple from their community group to come with them. The benefit of this is two-fold: (1) this helps ensure that the couple in care is receiving on-going gospel-centered support outside the scheduled meeting times and (2) this also helps equip the couple from the community to better care for others in the future. The criteria we set before those seeking help is to invite a couple who they trust and who can encourage and challenge them in their life with God and one another.

These guidelines are far from being complete, but they cast a vision for what will take place in the first session and the weeks that follow. You may or may not go over all of these guidelines at the very start of the session. But it’s helpful to keep these points in mind so you can intentionally share them at the appropriate time and shepherd the couple accordingly.

A Dozen Principles for Shepherding the Couple Receiving Care

  1. Primary Focus—Our primary focus is on each of your relationships with God, then on your marriage. Your individual relationship with God guides and empowers your relationship as husband and wife.
  1. Equal Love—We are not for the husband or the wife, but for both of you. We will encourage both of you equally. You may be tempted to think we have a bias if we spend more time with either the husband or wife, but our desire is to love you both the same.
  1. Listen—Listening is love. Pay attention whenever your spouse speaks. Turn toward your spouse when he/she speaks. Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. We may ask you questions based on what your spouse just shared.
  1. Draw Out— Ask your spouse questions based on what you hear. Ask clarifying questions, draw out your spouse’s heart (TED: Thoughts, Emotions, Desires) with a loving curiosity.
  1. Talk to Each Other—There will be times when we will ask you a question so you can respond to your spouse, not us. We want you to respond to what your spouse shares—summarize what your spouse shared and share your own reflection based on what your spouse shared.
  1. Talk about Yourself—More times than not, we want you to share about your own struggles in your life with God, your spouse, and others. We will step in and redirect if you start to blame the other or simply talk about your spouse in hurtful ways.
  1. Not Heard Before—Let us know when your spouse shares something that you haven’t heard before. This will help us to understand your marriage and how God is at work. We may simply ask, “Have you heard this before?”
  1. Draw Near to God—Encourage each other in your life with God and others. Help one another to remember God’s presence, promises, power, and pursuing love. Remind each other that Jesus continually invites us to come to Him and find rest (Matthew 11:28-30). Help each other to fight the good fight of faith. Encourage your spouse to respond to God’s invitation by faith in obedience.
  1. Effort—Marriage requires effort. Remember, God has called you to fight FOR each other, not fight AGAINST each other. God’s Spirit will empower you to do what you can’t do in your flesh. God always does so much more than what we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
  1. Homework—Be intentional to do what we ask you to do between meetings. Husband, don’t force your wife to remind you to complete the assignment the night before our next meeting. Take the lead. Be intentional. Take time to discuss your reflections with each other. The assignment is for you to connect with God and one another.
  1. Notebook—We will be covering a lot of important information—from your spouse, from yourself, us, and God. We want you to take notes, jotting down key thoughts, words, themes, Scripture passages, etc. You will also write down your assignments so you will not have to look for what we ask you to do at the end of our time together.
  1. Expectant—Have expectancy that God can and will work. He is FOR your marriage and FOR you (and your spouse) growing in relationship with Him. Be watchful for ways in which His Spirit is moving in your heart and within your spouse.

Four Words of Counsel Shepherding the Couple from the Community

  1. Purpose—You are here because your friends chose you to journey alongside of them. You are privileged to learn about the details of their story and struggles. You are here to encourage them in their journey with God and each other.
  1. Participate—You have freedom to ask questions, to draw out the heart, and help them to remember the truths of the gospel and to respond to God by faith.
  1. Share—Feel free to share anytime something that is being discussed resonates with you (marital struggle, what God is showing you, etc.) as the Spirit leads. This will let your friends know they are not alone in their struggles. We may ask you to hold your question or comment if the timing is not right or if we feel the need to head in a different direction.
  1. Pursue and Pray—You will know more about your friends than most. Be intentional to pursue one another between our meetings as you try to live life together. Encourage one another in Christ regularly. Pray for and with one another.

Join the Conversation

What are some of your helpful guidelines for shepherding couples during care?

Topics: BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, Marriage & Family, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: ,

I Don’t Know Caitlyn Jenner

IDontKnowCaitlynJenner

In the past few weeks there has been one story which has dominated my news feed: Bruce Jenner’s recent transition to become Caitlyn Jenner. Responses have ranged from congratulatory to condemning; from the deranged to the downright derogatory. I am not interested in debating or commenting on any of this because in all honesty, I don’t know Caitlyn Jenner, and probably never will.

I Do Know Mark

I do know Mark1 though. Mark was considering transitioning to become a woman. In fact, Mark had already begun the process of pursuing his transition through secular counseling and hormone therapy.

Despite this, he willingly came in for counseling to get, “a Christian opinion on the topic.” He had done his research, and came ready to present a defense of his pursuit of this sex change. After listening to his story and background for over an hour, I paused and simply said, “Thank you.”

Thank you for being willing to share your story with a person you don’t even know. Thank you for being willing to come in and share a difficult and painful part of your life. Thank you for being willing to come in and seek counsel. I’m fairly confident Mark knew what I was going to say as a biblical counselor; but yet he took the huge step of coming in and talking with a stranger.

Isn’t this one of the many joys of biblical counseling? We have unique opportunities every day not to address the current cultural phenomenon of the day, but to interact and minister with real people with real hurts and heartaches.2 We have the joy as biblical counselors to speak with people and present them a living hope: Jesus Christ.

Biblical Counseling with Mark

What happened over the course of several sessions wasn’t complex or even controversial. I asked questions, listened to him share, and offered biblical counsel from the truth of Scripture. Here are some themes we unpacked together over the course of our time:

  • His History Matters: Mark’s story was similar; yet different to many I’ve heard who have struggled in areas of sexuality and gender. His understanding of masculinity as informed by culture was markedly different than what the Bible has to say about masculinity and gender. We sought to biblically define masculinity hopefully losing many of the cultural stereotypes which had inculcated themselves into his thinking.
  • His Body Matters: What Mark chooses to do with his body matters. Worship comes from the heart, but ultimately that worship must be mediated through a physical body created by God. Often we unintentionally over-spiritualize our sanctification, and forget that our sanctification has a bodily/physical component, which cannot and should not be denied (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). Something as simple as eating and drinking (cf.1 Corinthians 10:31) can be a worshipful act.
  • His Community Matters: While choices like Mark’s understandably become individualized, I tried to share with Mark that he is connected to a wider community. That wider community should rightly have a vested interest in his choices (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:26). We live in a time where one’s individual choices get baptized into orthodoxy much too soon. We have lost a sense of community where my choices must be shaped, refined and submitted to God’s goals for the community. In the words of the John Donne, “No man is an island unto himself.”
  • His Faith Matters: At the end of the day, anyone could sit and go back and forth debating Mark’s feelings and emotions about pursuing his sex change. While some might find arguing a person’s experience to be a convincing way to win a person, I’ve not found this to be true. Here’s the question I landed on with Mark: “Mark, what choice and pathway helps you best fulfill your calling as an image-bearer of God, man, husband, father, and friend?” Over the course of our time together we went through many permutations of this question to help him see who he was in light of God’s calling on his life.

Eventually my sessions with Mark came to an end. At a certain level, the conversations had come to a natural conclusion. Mark had fulfilled his goal in coming to see me, and I had shared with him what I believed the Bible had to say about his decision. I remember being somewhat disheartened after our time together. Should I have been more direct? Should I have pressed him harder? Should I have been more compassionate?

Ultimately Mark’s heart had to be changed by the person and work of the Holy Spirit. That is every counselor’s ultimate hope and desire. We cannot do this work of change on our own, and we are foolish to think we can.

A few months ago, I got a text followed by a phone call from Mark. After much consideration, prayer, and the role of faithful believers in his life, Mark stopped the process of his transition. Although he didn’t use the word, essentially Mark described to me a process of repentance, humility, and submission to God’s will for his life. I’m not naïve to think Mark’s journey is over, and that his story is one of “happily ever after.” But I’m hopeful and confident in God’s ongoing work in his life.

So, while you and I will never meet or probably know Caitlyn Jenner, you’ll probably run into someone like her if not now, very soon. We must be equipped as Christians to offer more than one-liners, political sound bites, or theological platitudes. We must be ready to offer them the good news of a Savior who came, lived, died, and ascended on high so that they could have the hope of eternal life!

Join the Conversation

As a biblical counselor, how would you minister to someone like Mark?


1Name and details have been changed to protect the person’s identity.

2I’m not saying by inference that Caitlyn Jenner is not a real person with real hurts and heartaches, but I’m saying the vast majority of us do not personally know Caitlyn Jenner. All we know of Caitlyn Jenner is what technology and media have mediated to us by way of image and information.

Topics: BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Sin | Tags: , , ,

BCC Weekend Resource: A Biblical Counselor Reviews Logos 6

Logos6Review

A Word from Your BCC Team: Frequently on weekends we like to highlight and link to resources for biblical counselors. This weekend we’re highlighting an excellent review by biblical counselor Kyle Johnston of Logos 6 with a specific focus on how biblical counselors can benefit from it.

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Logos Bible Software is brilliant. Logos 6, with its amazing features, is a phenomenal research program, and I am extremely grateful to God for giving those involved the vision for it, as well as the ability to produce it.

The sixth version was released late last year (2014), and as Logos seems to be growing increasingly popular, we thought it would be helpful to review its usefulness (and limitations)—especially for biblical counselors.

So, is Logos a tool that biblical counselors should consider investing in?

What is Logos 6?

Simply put, Logos 6 is all about delivering insight into the biblical text. Logos Bible Software helps you open up the Bible. It does this through a number of features: powerful search tools that yield the specific kind of information you might want, artistic media depicting biblical places and events (which helps you visualize the biblical world), impressive language assistance when it comes to studying the Greek and Hebrew words, the wonderful ability to compare commentaries or textual variants, and much, much more.

Logos 6 has more features than ever, and it really is an enormous help in opening up the Bible. So this software most certainly aids you in understanding the biblical text, but Logos has also made other books available for you to purchase and download, and add to your electronic library. In fact, you can specifically purchase a number of counseling book collections if you desire to develop a counseling library.

Because biblical counselors are striving to be proficient theologians, Logos 6 is very useful because it can be a tool that helps you grow in your understanding of the Bible. Through purchasing other books, Logos can also help you grow in your knowledge of other counseling-related issues (though, that will depend on the library you develop). In fact, just because of my base package, as well as discounts on books that I’ve noticed, I have read a number of counseling titles I would not otherwise have come across. And so, because Logos promotes learning both theology and counseling, it can be extremely helpful for those seeking to practice biblical counseling.

One of the things I have personally appreciated about Logos (I’ve been using it since its 4th version) is how using the software has fostered a greater desire in me to do more thorough research. It has made me want to go deeper into the text, as well as read more widely when it comes to researching a topic. The more I have used Logos, the more adept I have become at using its features, and the more I have appreciated its ability to deliver insight.

On a slightly more practical note, I’ll share one cool presentation feature that I have sometimes used in pastoral counseling. Logos has a visual copy tool, where you can put a verse or quote onto a colorful background so that the text really pops. This is fantastic for highlighting a verse during a counseling session, or for emailing to a counselee afterwards as a “memory verse” assignment.

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So, should biblical counselors use Logos 6? Yes, absolutely!

But in order to provide more than an unqualified endorsement, I’ll mention some of its costs and limitations, before drawing a conclusion.

The Costs and Limitations of Logos 6 

The most obvious and significant cost of Logos 6 (especially for those who live in countries where the currency is far weaker than the powerful US dollar) is financial. But this critique is fairly nuanced: Logos is not cheap, but one does get a large selection of books for what one buys. It is certainly cheaper for me to build commentary collections via Logos than by ordering physical books from the US or UK. So, although obtaining Logos 6 may not be initially cheap, I do think that one can build a library for less over time. Additionally, users get a free book every month, as well as birthday vouchers and other opportunities to win books. In that way, Logos may actually be a more economical option when it comes to developing your library. But it does require an initial cost, and that is a real barrier to entry for many.

The other cost, as others have noted, is the amount of training required to really use Logos to its potential. I’ve been using Logos for a few years now, and I am still growing in my understanding of how to maximize its usefulness. Sadly, many just use Logos as an electronic library, but it really is so much more. However, one’s ability to use it well really depends on learning how to use the tools most effectively—and that takes time. So, if you get Logos, it’s worth trying to budget some time every week to learning the features—so that is a bit of a time cost.

Logos is also limited in terms of the books it has. Wonderfully, it has a lot of fantastic commentaries and academic theological books—which, in my opinion, are the most valuable kind of books because they help you understand the biblical text. It also has a wide range of counseling books from a variety of counseling perspectives. However, in my opinion, their Biblical Counseling collection is not particularly strong. In my view, it lacks a number of important titles, and so I have not purchased it. Many of the New Growth Press titles related to Biblical Counseling have not yet appeared. Thankfully, they do have the Journal of Biblical Counseling, but apart from that, there’s not a huge amount available in Logos format. I would really love to see more of Elyse Fitzpatrick, Tim Chester, Ed Welch, Tim Lane, etc. in Logos format. Perhaps an updated Biblical Counseling Collection will appear sometime?

Final Thoughts

If they can afford it, I would encourage biblical counselors to invest in Logos Bible Software. It’s good to be aware of the financial cost and the required training time commitment, as well as being cognizant of the fact that you may not be able to get all the books you want in Logos format. However, even in the light of those costs and limitations, it really is an absolutely fantastic research tool. I use it daily in pastoral ministry, whether for counseling or research, and I am glad to warmly commend it to others.

Topics: Biblical Counseling, Pastoral Resources, People Who Offer Care | Tags: , , ,

Friday’s 5 to Live By

Friday's 5 To Live By

Each Friday our BCC staff links you to the top five biblical counseling and Christian living blog posts of the week—posts that provide robust, rich, and relevant insights for living.

The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships: A Review Article

Pastor Tim Keller has posted a review article on two leading books relating to same-sex relationships, posting 6 responses. You can read Pastor Keller’s review at The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships: A Review Article.

10 Quotes from Chosen by God

Tim Challies sees R.C. Sproul’s book Chosen by God as “undoubtedly one of the most important books ever written on the subject of God’s sovereignty in salvation.” He’s collated “10 great quotes drawn from its pages.” You can read them at 10 Quotes from Chosen by God.

Should Christians Attend Homosexual Weddings?

Whether you agree or not with his conclusion, R.C. Sproul’s article is well worth pondering: Should Christians Attend Homosexual Weddings? 

Terminology in the Transgender Issue

While this article hosted at Pastor J.D. Greear’s site and written by Chris Papparlardo was posted long before this week, it is still timely and worth reading: What’s the Deal with the T in LGBT? 

Parenting Posts

Brad Hambrick continues his “Favorite Posts” series. In this post you can read about Brad’s Favorite Posts on Parenting.

Join the Conversation

Which post impacted you the most? Why? What blog posts have you enjoyed this week that you want to share with others?

Topics: BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, Five To Live By, Homosexuality, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Sin | Tags: , , , , , , ,

How to Go On American Idol without Becoming One

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A Word from Your BCC Team: Today’s blog by Keri Seavey was originally posted at Midwestern Seminary’s blog site: For the Church. We post it today with the permission of Keri and of Midwestern Seminary. You can also read the original post at the For the Church site here.

How Can You Redirect Misdirected Worship?

My son has recently been given a mic through the reality talent competition called American Idol. This type of moment does not come often and it surely does not come cheap.

One of the biggest challenges we have faced through this season is figuring out how not to become an American idol while doing American Idol! I mean, seriously: How can you do American Idol without becoming one?

Or, to ask it another way:

How can you redirect misdirected worship?

We are worshippers by nature. We were created to see beauty all around us. We appreciate beauty in people, music, wonders, gifts, abilities, art, at stadiums, in arenas, in the stillness and sweet sounds of nature, standing before the blazing glory of a sunset. We were created to be beauty-chasers, to crave the experience of awe! We so easily bore from what seems commonplace.

As I watched girls stand in line to take selfies with my son, some in tears (a recent phenomenon that always makes me uneasy), it struck me: we cannot stop worshippers from worshipping. But we can redirect their gaze to the One who is truly worthy of worship.

You see, we all have a nasty track record of exchanging glory, of worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:23-24). It’s wholly inappropriate and vain. We often set our sights on people to satisfy our longings. Yet, if you believe God’s Word, it reminds us by word and example that people have been wrecked and broken by the fall. Redeemable, yes; but broken, nonetheless.

It is vanity to look to people to complete your joy. It’s useless to worship the creature rather than the Creator. It eventually leaves you unfulfilled. Broken relationships and divorce rates make my point.

Mere humans cannot sustain the weight of worship. We are not fit for the task of being praised. For the one being worshipped, as tempting as it is to be praised, it creates idolatrous expectations and pressure to be inhuman, beyond all else, God-like. I would never want my son destroyed by the crushing weight of this kind of pressure.

The worshippers don’t fare well either. They are set-up for disillusionment and disappointment. Never satisfied. Always moving on. Always searching for the next “idol” to be in awe of. At the end of the day, my son is just like you and me. You will be sorely disappointed if you expect from him what he has not been created to deliver.

It’s All about Him!

Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe that my son is beautiful and has beautiful gifts. I love his sweet face and the beautiful music that comes out of him. We all have been created beautiful. We all have been given beautiful gifts. We are those made in the image of God. While on the set of American Idol, I saw and heard some of the most beautiful things coming from those made in His image. We are beautiful, yet broken. We are lovely, yet limited. We can be radiant, yet only in reflections of the One who is pure, untarnished Beauty. Only He is worthy to receive worship. Only He is able to sustain your joy in gazing at and praising His glory. Only He is beyond all else, uncreated, fit to receive awe.

We ought to appreciate beauty in itself, even in those made in His image, yet, with a knowledge that the beauty we see here can be used to point us to the One who is truly Beautiful. If you have been given a mic or a brush or a pen—whatever you’ve been given—steward your gifts wisely! Do your thing beautifully. But if you feel the idolized look in someone’s eyes turn to you in worship, gently nudge their chins in the direction of the One who is truly worthy of worship. Allow the beauty He gave you to point to the beautiful glory of Christ.

Topics: People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Worship | Tags: , , , ,

Scared to Death!

ScaredToDeath

A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the fourth of a several-part Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Biblical Counseling and Anxiety. In today’s post, Sherry Allchin discusses fear and faith in Scared to Death! You can also read Part 1, by Pastor Pat Quinn, at The Divine Remedy for Anxiety, Part 2, by Dr. Tim Lane, at How Does Jesus Talk to Worriers? and Part 3, by Dr. Ed Welch, at For the Fearful and Anxious.

A Flight, Fear, and Faith

Recently my husband Ron and I were on a flight home from ministry that was delayed because of weather at our destination. As we took off, we were just glad to be going home! It wasn’t long into the flight, however, that we understood why the delay, and that perhaps it should have been a cancelled flight. In our many years of flying, that was the roughest flight we have ever experienced. As the plane creaked and tossed to and fro, several ladies began to cry, one rather uncontrollably. Children were crying. Some of us were praying or reading, but calm.

Why the difference in response to the same circumstance? Why is one person afraid of flying while another experiences the time of their life sailing through the air at top speed?

The ladies in the first scenario had a belief system that controlled their fearful responses to death or suffering or to the unknown. Perhaps they believed that the plane could or would crash and they might suffer or die. Their belief in turn determined their response…crying out in fear and experiencing panic.

I well remember the fear I used to feel at take-off and landing. My belief at that point was that the plane might crash and that would be the most probable time. My heart pounded and I prayed. But in flight, I relaxed. Same plane, same pilot, same God, but two different reactions!

How Can Fear Be Controlled?

Since God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7), I decided to use my sound mind to overcome anxiety. I began to think differently about flying.

But I also began to think differently about my God. I realized my anxiety was really a trust issue. My God is good, and He is trustworthy. He has an appointed time for each of us to die and that appointment will be exactly on His timetable. No storm, no pilot, no evil can change that date. It is set. I do not need to be afraid (Psalm 23) because He will guide me through the valley of the shadow of death at exactly the right time. I need not fear judgment because the debt has been paid, and I stand in His righteousness (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 8:1).

As I came to peace with death, I soon came to peace with flying. I could read through the storm while others cried because death has lost its sting. My power was in trusting God and His Word.

My love for God enabled me to focus on His purpose for my life rather than my own. My sound mind could reason that take-off or landing was no closer to death that the relaxed flight in between! The storm had no more power than the calm. The night has no more fear than the day. This sickness has no power that my good God hasn’t given it.

I now rest in peace that as long as God has a plan or purpose for my life on this earth, I will live to His glory. And when my time comes, I pray that I will also die to His glory! Death has no grip on those whose hope is in the Lord. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain! (Philippians 1:21).

How Can We Help Others to Overcome Fear?

As biblical counselors, this is the hope we must proclaim, helping those who struggle with anxiety to experience peace and calm in the midst of the storm. I wanted to get up out of my seat in that storm and tell the crying lady about Jesus and the storm He calmed on the Sea of Galilee.

He told His disciples to row to the other side of the lake, but a fierce storm threatened their calm about half way across. They cried out in fear, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?” Their belief at that moment was that He had abandoned them and would let them die in the storm. But had He not just told them to go to the other side? Did He really have a plan for them? They learned a powerful faith lesson on that sea that day, that Jesus’ word meant exactly what He said…go to the other side! No storm could hinder that. He was their peace in the midst of the storm, and He calmed the waters immediately to prove it!

On another trip, I sat next to a young man who was breathing heavy, sweating, and racing through pictures on his phone trying to calm himself. I kept noticing pictures of his dog, so I began to talk to him about his dog. Then he opened up about his fear of flying. As we talked on a three-hour flight, he shared his story of how he and his dog travel everywhere in his truck because he had a very negative flying experience about fifteen years earlier and had not flown since, until the necessity of this flight. His family didn’t know about his fear when they arranged his flight home, and he was too ashamed to tell them. As we talked, he calmed down and showed me amazing pictures of his dragon lizards and his dog!

Then I was able to share my faith with him to help him understand how distraction had worked to calm him down initially (cognitive-behavioral approach), but that a trust in Christ would calm his fear of death or his fear of life’s bumps to make a lasting calm in the storms of life. The Lord has repeatedly told us that we have no need to fear when we trust in Him, when we are certain about our eternal destination. He was certain his mother was praying for him to consider his faith, and he was confident he could make it to his final destination after our divine appointment.

Beliefs determine actions, resulting in feelings that either escalate or calm. When our counselees shift their trust from themselves and what they believe they can or cannot do, to what the Lord has already promised to do (to never abandon His own nor fail to love and care for us, to help when we call out to Him in times of trouble) then faith takes the fainthearted through the storms of life and through the valley of the shadow of death. They will no longer be scared to death!

Join the Conversation

How do you move from fear to faith? How do you compassionately help others to do the same?

Topics: Anxiety, Biblical Counseling, Faith, Fear/Worry, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , , , , ,

For the Fearful and Anxious

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A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the third of a several-part Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Biblical Counseling and Anxiety. In today’s post, For the Fearful and Anxious, Dr. Ed Welch takes us to two passages that remind us that God is always with us. You can also read Part 1, by Pastor Pat Quinn, at The Divine Remedy for Anxiety. And you can read Part 2, by Dr. Tim Lane, at How Does Jesus Talk to Worriers?

God Is Not Silent

When fearful or anxious, we typically feel alone and think that God is silent, which is ironic given that He is just the opposite. In fact, Scripture—God’s communication to us—gushes with words and promises spoken to fearful and anxious people. Like a mother who keeps talking to her child during a long walk through a dark place in order to assure the child of her presence, so our Father says to us, “Listen to My voice,” and He keeps talking and talking. Our dilemma is not His silence; it is how to pause on one or two of the hundreds of passages that He speaks to us.

Here are two places to pause. The first passage is for when you need direction immediately. The second will take prayer and practice.

When You Need Something Right Now

In emergencies, when fears and anxieties are loud and relentless, consider these words through the Apostle Peter.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

“Humble yourselves”—those are the arresting words. God is God and we submit to His sovereign control. We don’t try to figure out our circumstances; we simply trust Him.

Habakkuk captures it nicely:

“The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20).

These words are potent enough to interrupt the anxious heart and quiet the proliferation of doomsday scenarios.

When You Want Hope and Long-Term Direction

The next passage speaks to the partial blindness that accompanies most of our fears and anxieties. Fears see only in part. They see that we might lose something dear to us, such as our money, our health, or the health of someone we love. They see the potential for loss with microscopic acuity. But they don’t see God’s presence, they don’t see His faithfulness to His promises, they don’t fixate on unseen realities, but they are dominated by what is merely seen with the naked eye (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Elisha gives words to our prayer, “LORD, please open my eyes.”

“When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

This kind of seeing is called faith. It is nurtured over time through feeding on Scripture, praying and asking for prayer, learning from others whose sight is a bit more acute, and knowing Jesus. Rarely does faith-sight come all at once, as it did with Elisha’s servant, but that is just as well. With quick cures we miss the benefit of day-to-day persistence and the wisdom that accrues from it.

These two passages have been personally helpful, and I recommend them, but there are scores of others that might fit you better. Our task is to listen for these words now, to hear them, and meditate on them, to talk about them with our friends. Then, when fears and anxieties seize us—and they will—we hear our God talking and talking and talking.

Join the Conversation

What passages does God use to speak to your heart when you struggle with fears and anxieties?

Topics: Anxiety, BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, Fear/Worry, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers, Trust | Tags: , , , , , ,

How Does Jesus Talk to Worriers?

HowDoesJesusTalkToWorriers

A Word from Your BCC Team: You’re reading the second of a several-part Grace & Truth blog miniseries on Biblical Counseling and Anxiety. In today’s post, Dr. Tim Lane biblically and compassionately demonstrates How Jesus Talks to Worriers. You can also read Part 1, by Pastor Pat Quinn, at The Divine Remedy for Anxiety.

Our Cares and Worries

I am not sure about you, but I struggle with worry all the time. I worry about what people think of me; whether I am setting aside enough for retirement; what life trajectory my children are on; how long will I enjoy good health; will my wife die before me. I know, it’s pretty self-centered. The list can be rather big depending on the time of day or year.

Statistics say that nearly 1 in 5 Americans will struggle with some degree of anxiety this year that will impede their ability to function. That’s nearly sixty-five million Americans in one year.

Jesus Cares about Our Cares

In the past, I would look to the Bible for some direction and hope in times of distress. When I did, I would bump into passages where Jesus emphatically says, “Do not worry!” To be honest, at first glance, those words were downright depressing. Then I would feel guilty for feeling depressed. I knew something was not right, but I did not know what it was.

About a year ago, I started looking at those passages again. I came to them with fresh eyes and the help of the Holy Spirit. I also came with a deeper sense of need. As I pondered Jesus’ every word, some interesting things began to emerge.

I was especially drawn to Luke’s account of Jesus teaching on worry in Luke 12:22-34. After He commands His disciples not to worry, He says something in verse 32 that gives you a clue about the tone of His voice as He utters His command. Jesus says:

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

Do you hear that? A command followed by a tender description of His hearers. Two little words, “little flock,” radically altered the way I understood and heard Jesus’ command. He calls His worrying disciples, you and me, His “little flock.” Isn’t it just like Jesus to pack so much in two words. And isn’t it just like us not to hear them.

Many years ago, when my children were very young, occasionally they would be awakened in the night due to a bad dream, a nightmare, or a terrible storm. They would wander through the dark house to our bedroom, sometimes in tears, crying and filled with fear and anxiety.

How do you think my wife and I would respond to their fears and tears? Do you think we would say in a harsh voice, “Don’t be afraid! Go back to bed! Your mother and I are trying to get some much needed rest after taking care of you all day!”

Of course not. We would not scold or shame them. We would jump out of bed and put our arms around them, kiss them, and say, “Don’t be afraid. It’s okay. Mommy and Daddy are here. We love you and we are going to protect you. Now just come up in my lap and relax and go back to sleep.”

Casting All Our Cares on Him

The other day I was preoccupied with something and was struggling with that gnawing feeling in my gut. I was beginning to experience what I now know is anxiety. This time, I heard a very different voice speaking to me. It wasn’t the shaming harsh words I was expecting, but the tender words of a Savior who knows that we are but dust. He knows how broken this world is, and He knows how weak we are.

I heard Him say:

“Tim, don’t be afraid. I am committed to you. I love you and am going to take care of you. I am with you. I have given everything, including My own life, to secure your safety and well-being. I am Your Savior and King.”

What about you? How do you hear Jesus’ command, “Do not worry?” Do you add or leave off the next two words, “little flock”? Those two words make a world of difference. Those two words are spoken by a King who bids us to live life in a very different kingdom than our own. A kingdom where He rules as King in your behalf.

For More Help (Added by Your BCC Team)

For more practical, biblical help with anxiety struggles, your BCC team is pleased to recommend Dr. Lane’s new book, Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace.

Join the Conversation 

What does it mean in your life to cast all your cares on Jesus because He cares for you?

Topics: Anxiety, BCC Exclusive, Biblical Counseling, Fear/Worry, People in Need of Care, People Who Offer Care, People Who Train Caregivers | Tags: , , ,

About the BCC

The BCC exists to strengthen churches, para-church organizations, and educational institutions by promoting excellence and unity in biblical counseling as a means to accomplish compassionate outreach and effective discipleship.