Summary: Marital problems; depression; anxiety; fractured relationships with friends and /or family members; a lifestyle of sin; etc. are serious issues, even in the church today. When persons find themselves in similar circumstances, they need help. They need the
Introduction: Marital problems; depression; anxiety; fractured relationships with friends and /or family members; a lifestyle of sin; etc. are serious issues, even in the church today. When persons find themselves in similar circumstances, they need help. They need the power of Christ. They need to change. They need joy in Him.
People come to counseling because they have a problem and are in need of change. Sometimes they feel that others are the ones who need to change, but it is they themselves who need to change. The goal of all counseling is change whether that counseling is psychological or biblical. The good news is that for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, real change can occur and joy can be had in Him. The question is: how can Christians change so that they might find the joy they desperately need in Christ. Before they can change, they need a foundation for change. To that dynamic we turn.
I. The Christian has a foundation for change if he understands that change comes by grace from God.
A. We do not have the power or the desire to change apart from the grace of God working in our hearts.
1. 1st Corinthians 15:10 (NASB) 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
2. Here Paul says that God’s grace made him what he was. Because he had been granted grace, he labored abundantly. He constantly labored for the Lord and changed day by day as a result of the Spirit’s sanctifying work. He labored, yet, it wasn’t him but the grace of God in him. Let the one who wants to change look to Christ and His powerful grace.
II. The Christian has a foundation for change if he or she appropriates the abundant resources that God has given her.
A. Those resources include, among other things, the word of God, the Holy Spirit, and prayer.
B. The word of God is given to us for instruction and hope.
1. Romans 15:4 (NASB) 4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
2. The knowledge of the Scriptures affects our attitude toward the present and the future.
3. The more we know about what God has done in years past, the greater the confidence we have about what he will do in the days ahead.
4. We should read and study our Bibles diligently to increase our trust that God’s will is best for us.
C. The Holy Spirit is given that we might have spiritual power from His application of the word to our hearts.
1. 1st Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB) 13For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also perform its work in you who believe.
D. Prayer is given to us that we might approach the throne of grace boldly for help in time of need.
1. Hebrews 4:16 (NASB) 16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
E. Prayer is also given to us in order that we may obtain wisdom to apply the word to our hearts in the right way.
1. James 1:5 (NASB) 5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
2. By wisdom, James is talking not only about knowledge, but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances.
3. Whenever we need wisdom, we can pray to God, and he will generously supply what we need.
4. Christians don’t have to grope around in the dark, hoping to stumble upon answers.
5. We can ask for God’s wisdom to guide our choices.
6. Wisdom means practical discernment.
7. It begins with respect for God, leads to right living, and results in increased ability to tell right from wrong.
8. God is willing to give us this wisdom, but we will be unable to receive it if our goals are self-centered instead of God-centered.
9. To learn God’s will, we need to read his Word and ask him to show us how to obey it.
10. Then we must do what he tells us.
F. Paul affirmed that God the Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.