The longer I am in ministry, I am so grateful for the opportunity to offer a heart change for a life change in Christ, by equipping the saints to have spiritual care and loving support through biblical counseling.
However though, I wonder at times, are the people simply just being consumers of religious goods and services? Or are those who seek pastoral counseling simply going through the motion and learning to “conform” with little tweaks of behavioral modification?
The goal of biblical counseling is for the Christian to give greater glory to God (1 Cor 10:13) and be more pleasing before the Lord (2 Cor 5:9).
But as we think of that, how can we help others grow in spiritual maturity? How can we help our children to be more Christ-like? How can I learn to live, love, and lead more like Jesus in spiritual maturity? How do you know one is just “conforming” verses “transforming” in their likeness to Jesus?
Here are two metrics I use with being conformed to a program and transformed to a person (Jesus).
Conforming to Religious Rules as a Duty
Is the person simply following the policies? The evidence will be where the individual is looking for a loophole of continue to be living for “self” rather than “God”
Does the person focus more on outside “behavioral modification”?
Conforming to “rules” only bring temporary change rather than life-long change
Changing for “fear of man” by avoiding punishment and judgement from others.
Dependance on “self-will” power
Compliance by holding on to “self” for applauds of man.
Inwardly hiding sin and “covering up” towards others
Manipulating to defect sin of others.
Performance based on relationship with other people.
End goal of focused with only doing the “bare minimum”
Transforming to Relational Reign as a Delight
Is the person walking in personal transformation? The evidence will be where the individual is looking for every opportunity to grow in Christlikeness.
Is the person more focused on the inside “heart level” to be transformed by the renewing of their mind?
“Transforming” to likeness of Christ is long lasting as God is doing an inner working.
Transforming for “fear of God” is based on love and positive motivation.
Depending on “God’s-will” power
Surrender by holding on to “Christ” for applauds of God (2 Cor 5:9).
Outwardly releasing sin and “confessing up” to God (1 John 1:9).
Maturing up by owning up sin of self.
Performance based on relationship with God Himself.
End goal of focused with doing all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).
The Gospel Application to the Heart Level
At the heart of the issue of those “conformed” versus “transformed” is the problem of the person’s world revolves around the me-center of the universe.
God opposes such behavior who claim to be “wise” but are worldly and are puffed up with pride. The Bible even says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Jam 4:6).
When the gospel is gently pressed on the heart of an individual, it humbles the heart and transformation takes place.
What is needed in our counseling ministry and soul care work is the gospel. The gospel allows the believers to see through the lens of Christ and give a heart more like the good shepherd has for us sinners.