Katie Jeffries, AACC Intern
John 8: 31-36 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Often times, we can get so caught up in our sins and struggles, that we start to believe the lie that we can never find a way out of our destructive patterns. But that is the opposite of what Christ tells us. When we abide in Christ and His word, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free from this bondage of sin! John 15:4 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” We do not have to let our sin discourage us from finding the truth. Sometimes, it can take a while to break out of sin, but if we constantly have the Word of God being spoken to our hearts, the more we realize that Christ has set us free from sin’s imprisonment. This is the truth, that Christ has freed us from our sinful desires because of His sacrifice for us.
As counselors, it’s important for our clients to understand that they have a way out of their sins, struggles, and addictions. They no longer have to let their behaviors take control of them; they have Jesus Christ to lean on. He will give them power and endurance to fight their battles, if they rely on Him. Our clients will undergo four stages.
- Unawareness- Just like the Jews in the story, they had no idea that they were in bondage to sin. It did not even occur to them that they had a problem until Jesus brought it up. As counselors, we need to do our best to help point out to our clients, in love, the sin issues that they are facing and help them scrutinize why it is a problem.
- Realization: Once the sin issue has been brought to their attention, then they really think about their behavioral/cognitive patterns. When looking up the Greek word for “sin”, it is taken from the word hamartia, which means “to err, be mistaken” or “to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor, to do or go wrong.” Another realization that they need to have is that Jesus longs to free them. He wants to free us from the bondages that hold us back from Him and from fulfilling our purpose in life. Even if the clients are not Christians, they still feel a sense of right or wrong. It is our job to analyze what their worldview is and help them from that basis.
- Denial or Acceptance: There are either two responses that can come out of realization: denial or acceptance.
Denial is seeing that there is a problem, but denying that it is the actual cause. So they may see the sin in their life, but they refuse to believe that is the cause. An example of this would be a husband that comes to the counseling room and explains how his wife no longer wants intercourse. After digging into the situation more, we find that the husband constantly tears down his wife verbally on a regular basis. When bringing this to his attention, he denies it, saying that she is just a prude that does not love him anymore.
Acceptance is realizing the problem is partially their fault because of their own sinful behaviors. They realize that if they practice sin they will be a slave to it. This acceptance is recognizing that the sinful behavior or thought in their life is hurting themselves and the people around them. If we go back to the example of the husband again, this time he will see his own faults and accept that his behaviors were erroneous to his wife.
- Complacency or Change: Then the last stage is either complacency or change.
Complacency is being content in the situation or continuing the behaviors like nothing has been brought to their attention. They act as if the problems have never been brought up to them. This is where they continue to be a servant to their sinful nature. The Greek word for servant is doulos which means “devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.” When they become complacent, they think they are doing it for themselves, when in reality, it is disregarding their own interests to be the slave of the behavior or thought that has taken captive of them.
Change is where they want to start fixing the problem because they realize that they do not want to be a slave to the behavior or thought that is controlling them. If you are in a setting where you can talk about Christ, it is important to bring to their attention that He will help them through and set them free. This is going to help them more than any self-help book or piece of advice. The Lord can always be there for the client, no matter the circumstance.
Our hope, as Christian counselors, is that we can lead our clients to Christ, because He is the One that can truly set them free from their burdens. This does not only apply to them, but it applies to us as well. We go through the same stages in our lives as well. We should never feel like we cannot have struggles or trials. Romans 3:23 says that “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But we have hope that our Savior, Jesus Christ, will free us from our transgressions and give us new life. In John 10:10b, Jesus tells says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Since He has given His life for us, we must life abundantly and help others see the gift that Christ has given them as well.
This weekly devotional was written by AACC intern, Katie Jeffries. Katie is a senior at Liberty University, studying Psychology with a concentration in Counseling and Human Development. Katie’s future aspirations include counseling women in crisis pregnancies.