...that others may live!
As a non-profit counseling center, CrossLife works with people regardless of their financial status. We operate based on the donations of individuals, churches and local businesses. This means that anyone in need of counseling is able to receive Biblically based Christian counseling through CrossLife Ministries.
CrossLife offers personal discipleship counseling, for both individuals and married couples, which is set apart from other approaches in that our emphasis is on the finished work of Christ. We do not teach the individual how to try harder (with God's help), how to change himself, or how to improve their "self-image." Rather, we help individuals and married couples discover "Christ as their life," which is: "Christ in you, the hope of glory"! God never intended for His children to try to figure life out or "do the best they can". Paul said, "For me, to live is Christ", more clearly stated, "For me, to live, is for Christ to live out His life through me! That is life as God intended!
Biblical, Christ-centered, healthy counseling or therapy should always cause one to walk away more Christ conscious (in awe and in worship of Him) rather than self-conscious (soulically conscious or emotionally conscious). The problem is that a person can become much more in touch with the soul rather than the spirit.
Regardless of the struggle that you maybe expriencing personally or in your marriage, Christ is the soulution, not behavioral modification. It is vitally important to “listen under” (the meaning of New Testament – “obedience”) the Spirit of Christ and what He is saying. Nothing should substitute for “hearing the voice of God” and walking by faith.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
To those seeking counsel for situations in their lives, the question must be asked: What kind of counsel are you receiving? Is it focused on you and your problems or on Christ and His Life?
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN COUNSELING?
Many individuals seek help from a wide variety of counselors and therapists today. How do they differ? What is a Christ-centered biblical approach? The following is a brief example of the counsel that we share at CrossLife Ministries. Whether in person or via the internet, Skype, text, email or phone calls, we communicate the love of Christ in the context of a non-condemning message of grace.
Recently a Christian leader inquired, “How does one deal with anger issues,” which he struggled with, and which on occasion would lead to rage affecting his marriage and ministry. He had received “Christian counseling” that focused on psychologically understanding himself better, and his emotions. He was counseled that the root of his problem was emotional. The counseling was directed at helping him to better understand his emotions/feelings, so that he might be able to discern what his feelings were and then give him a healthier way of expressing what he was feeling. (Traditional behavioral modification).
It was suggested to him that he would need long-term addiction counseling to conquer this “emotional problem,” and that the counseling/therapy would be directed primarily toward dealing with his emotional dysfunction, by getting “in touch” with his emotional pain, he would allegedly find the answer to dealing with his addiction to rage.
He contacted me after he had received 3 days of intensive counseling at a cost of $5,000.00, asking if I would advise him to continue in the therapy. He had been advised that he would need to enroll in a nine-month program.
In sharing my response, it is hoped that others will realize that Christ and Christ alone is sufficient for every problem we have or will face, and that unless we receive a revelation of Christ as our life we will never learn to live in victory regardless of our struggle with behavioral dysfunction.
A CrossLife response:
As helpful as learning how to express your emotions more effectively might be, what’s more important is your emotions are not the source of your problems. A faulty understanding of who you are in Christ and how to function as God intended is at the root of everyone’s problems. You’re not the only one with emotional challenges, and as a result there is not something wrong with you. Your problem stems from a faulty understanding of how God designed you to function. There is more, "...much more,” as Paul wrote that you need to know, “we shall be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10). To truly live, is to experience Christ’s Life, as Paul again writes in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ.” Living as God intended is more than understanding how to function psychologically, emotionally stable. Biblical counsel is more than teaching you how to sort out all your thoughts and emotions and making sure you make right decisions. The misconception of this perspective is – the primary focus is on you and your performance. Thank God life is not dependent on you. The Christian life is a walk of faith, depending on Christ and experiencing His life, learning to walk by faith despite your feelings.
There is a HUGE contrast in the focal point or point of reference. We might say, it is like the difference between night and day, between humanism and Christianity. In humanism man is the center, "the point of reference," (therefore everything depends on him – YOU); in Christianity – Christ is the center (everything depends on God) and therefore all that we “do” must be derived from Him or else it is a work of the flesh.
There is nothing wrong with feelings (God created you an emotional creature); emotions are always indicators of what you are thinking and potentially believing (that however is a choice). It's fine to allow Christ to reveal your soulical "variations” and why you have felt the way you have felt (understanding rejective memories), (why you rage, get angry, and what you use to mask your pain, "addiction", alcohol), but understanding who you are in Christ and learning to function in your identity is not centered on yourself or your psychological feelings, or even your flesh patterns of dependency.
Yes, let Christ help you process your emotions, identifying false thinking i.e. lies, but then choose to allow His truthful revelation, hearing His voice rather than "the voice of the emotions," remind you of the truth of who He says you are. As you are receptive (faith) to Christ activity (grace) your behavior will then express His character.
The safe place you felt (counseling center, counseling approach or counselor) should never focus on a “person or place" other than Christ Himself (do not attribute the work of God to a process or place apart from Christ as the means of grace). If your "mind" focuses on anything other than Jesus as the source of your feeling safe, you are focusing on an idol. The greatest idolatry is humanism (self-reference), regardless of how man has explained it or couched it.
Identity is focused on who God is and who He created you to be, and you must allow His character to be expressed through your behavior. No one can teach you “how to walk by faith” and no one can imitate God’s character.
Faith is the receptivity of God's activity. Faith is hearing God and participating with His grace activity. Faith is allowing for His character to be acted out through you even when you feel like “raging”. Faith is learning to "touch" the “unseen” and eternal, not your emotions. Because all you have known is an emotionally fleshly reaction to the seen, which focused on your circumstances. Walking by faith is an “unseen reality” of Christ as your life. Until you choose to depend on Christ in the moment by faith and experience His character of grace, the fruit of the Spirit, love joy, gentleness, kindness, understanding and the Godly control of self, you will continue to walk after the flesh, in anger full of rage. That's why Paul wrote, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
You need to be careful that psychological counseling does not cause you to become more self-conscious than you already are. Biblical Christ-centered healthy counseling or therapy should always cause you to walk away more Christ conscious (in awe and in worth-ship of Him) rather than self-conscious (soulically conscious or emotionally conscious). The problem is that you can and have become much more in touch with your soul than your spirit. Being a Christ-one is not primarily a psychological reality. Man has always focused on the soul, rather than the spirit. One reason for this is that man wants to be in control of everything, including his thinking, emotions, and the choices he makes with his will, not only because he is more familiar with his own personality but primarily because he is not acquainted with the Spirit realm (the unseen). To be Christian is, to experience relationship with Christ and often we have an unfamiliarity with Him. Our humanistic tendencies resist being dependent on another.
It is vitally important to “listen under” (the meaning of New Testament – “obedience”) the Spirit of Christ and what He is saying to you. Nothing should substitute “hearing the voice of God” and walking by faith. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Christ is your life – NOT a better understanding of your emotions and how to relate to them.
It is a matter of your "Point of Reference." Who is the beginning point; who is the starting point; who is the pivot point – Christ or your emotions? Christ is the Alpha and Omega, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13). We only function as God intended as we allow Christ to function in and through us. He is the foundation of your functioning spiritually, psychologically and physiologically as He designed – NOT your best effects to understand yourself emotionally or your best effects not to rage again.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
I hope these thoughts prove to be helpful as God in Christ Jesus reveals Himself to you, as He is your only ability to experience LIFE. Keep in touch.
Your brother in Christ, Don Burzynski, CrossLife Ministries, © 2018 Don Burzynski
CrossLife Ministries is privileged to offer tele-counseling. Tele-counseling sessions are held via video conference. This option is offered to clients who are not local to the Indian River County area or are not able to travel for health reasons.