"The Counseling Process"
We Start Right Where You Are Now

Many people come into counseling trying to convince us that their marriages are so hopeless and painful they should be allowed to leave. We have had many get angry simply because we refuse to spend an entire session confronting their spouse for the wrongness of some situation that one of them has become entangled in. I am sure they could convince many people even other Christian Counselors and Leaders that divorce would be a very acceptable solution to their impossible situations.

We will compassionately listen to their complaints. But, we do not spend a lot of time trying to decide if their marriage is bad enough that separation or divorce is advisable or desirable. As we listen we will try to guide them in a way that helps determine the true nature of the "bad fruit" that is appearing and being reaped in their marriage and life.

Then We See How Pervasive Certain "Bad Fruit" Has Been

The vast majority of people rarely enter into marriage truly ready. Most people come into marriage with a list (conscious or unconscious) of what they do and do not want in a spouse. This list usually also consist of what they are willing and not willing to "be", "do" and "put up with." They have wish list, intentions and ideals, but also have deep-seated doubts, fears and reactions to what they do not want in a spouse and/or children. . These desires and fears are true of all people and their relationships (or lack thereof) with God, The Church, its Leaders and members. They significantly influence all aspects of our lives even in the community, with neighbors, bosses and our peers.

Once we see the nature of "bad fruit" that is present right now, we seek to identify and help them discover, exactly how pervasive this "bad fruit" has been in their life in other relationship. We will start with those times and episodes in your life that previously caused you to experience something similar to what you are experiencing now. We will look for the times in your life when you may have sown something similar to what you are reaping now.

We will also examine the times and circumstances of your life in which you have feared, avoided, dishonored, judged, punished or paid back, and with all good intentions vowed to never be who you have become or to be married to the person you find yourself with now.
Some of us have done to others what we now reap. While some of us have experienced much in our past that is just like what we are facing now.  Some of us are being or living with someone totally unlike anything, we consciously remember in our lives, but it does not mean the culprit was not there.

A Change of Nature is Necessary

The Gospel is certainly about being cleansed of sin, and laying hold of the grace, we have in Christ to live free of the sin that once so easily ensnared us.  The Gospel is also about being transformed into a person who is living “in Christ” and “like Christ.”

Ultimately, the Christian life is not just about being forgiven. It is about Christ being released from within us to live the life He desires for us through us. This life may not be the one we have always wanted. He may actually desire to take us deeper into the life we have always wanted to avoid for His purposes.  Christianity is living for the sake of Christ and not about purposely avoiding whatever we have seen or experienced in our past.

We focus on what in the flesh has brought someone into a situation in the first place. We want to help them see the need to die to whatever is being revealed about their old sinful nature. Then bring to The Cross that part of the old sin nature that is being most provoked, revealed and tempted in a current or past situation.

Some of these areas in your flesh are more powerful strongholds of thought, speech, and actions than you realize, and they do exert a very powerful negative influence on those who should love you and bless you the most.

We seek to get to the root of the stronghold in their lives so we can crucify the person “rooted in them,” cutting them free to be transformed inwardly and to transform the current situation. The root is revealed by, but rarely found in, their recent choices and sins. The current situation is just a symptom of a deeper life issue.

Everyone who comes here has something in their life that they wish would never happen again, and other things that they wish for but can never attain. We cannot promise that something will never happen again in your life. We can promise that if you go to The Cross, it will cause more of the life of Christ to be visibly manifested within you, and you will find yourself living in a transformed life, guided, provided for, protected, and graced by the Holy Spirit.

Once you have gone to The Cross with some area of your old life, God may absolutely stop some thing that has repeatedly happened in your life.  On the other hand, once you have been sanctified, transformed and trained by your current situation, God may elect to promote you into another set of circumstances that suddenly seem similar but in which you find yourself thinking, speaking, acting or reacting very differently.

Your going to the Cross can precipitate a change in the people and circumstances around you, or God could remove the people or take you out of your circumstances – His way. 

Opportunities to Experience Transformation

Consider how many situations you have escaped from in the past out of anger, fear, hurt or lust because you did not realize it was God's intent by the Holy Spirit and God's Laws to hem you in and give you the opportunity to die to some part of your old nature that was never going to fulfill or profit you in anyway. Many of those situations would have been perfect to help you die and be transformed but you did not know that was God's intent.

Each circumstance we find ourselves in is an opportunity to obey or disobey and where obedience has been stubbornly withheld repeatedly, it is obvious that the situation is revealing a greater need for death of the old nature that is still present in the life of the Christian.

Consider A Caterpillar Transforming into A Butterfly

A caterpillar can long to be a butterfly all it wants. It can try to hang out with butterflies and even climb a 40-foot tree believing it can fly. But if it is only the longing of the caterpillar in control and not the faith and new nature of the butterfly, the caterpillar is not going to fly.

God's grace works all things together for good, but that does not mean that every apparently Christian act that we do comes from a new nature. I am not saying that we should stop trying to do good, but rather that we are not to stop letting the Spirit reveal the old nature that needs to be put to death even during the times when we think we are being obedient to Christ.

The Power of The Cocoon

What stands between the caterpillar and the butterfly is the cocoon. What happens in the cocoon is the "power of nature" for every caterpillar to become a butterfly.

Likewise, the bridge between fallen man and eternal life in Christ is Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. His cross, grave, and resurrection are "the power of God to those who are being saved." Hence, His sufferings, death and resurrection are the power of our cocoon.

The Cross is the only place a Christian will ever die. I was crucified with Christ over 2,000 years ago. That is the only place I am going to die. When my spirit leaves my physical body that is not death, but rather the final shedding of the old and fuller emergence into eternal life. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels," and those earthen vessels frequently get in the way of His Glory being fully revealed in us.

I wonder if at the moment of our death whether we will suddenly realize how much of Jesus was in us, or how little of Him we tapped into and walked in because of all our fleshly striving to preserve and protect our old life. I wonder if we will be like the very poor family in Kansas who saw three generations of children grow up in abject poverty, only to discover after losing the family property in foreclosure, that great-grandfather's farm was sitting right on top of a large old field all along.

C/O Cross of Christ Ministries
4132 Annistown Road Snellville, Georgia 30039