Just about every day here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center we get to deal with a family in crisis. The two questions we get asked the most are, “How can I save this marriage,” or “What in the world can I do about this child?” We can say everyone has family crises. The question we have to figure out is what is behind the family crisis? By the way there can be many and complicated spiritual issues behind a family crisis.
Many parents contact us about their children every week. I have great compassion for those who are struggling in children crises. So, for the sake of this article we will confine it to families with children crises. However, some of the spiritual principles will apply across the board. Let me make a statement here. It is the parent’s responsibility to get the heart of their child and keep it.
Proverbs 23:26, My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Folks, everything in life is fundamentally a spiritual issue. It is a heart issue! Ephesians 6:6-7, Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (7) With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
So, what is behind the family crisis? Let’s ask some heart questions and start off with a sobering one. Do you really know if you have your child’s heart or not? Does your child show respect to you in front of you and behind your back? Does your child respect your decision making? Does your child feel they can talk to you about any matter and you will be willing to listen? Does your child do deceitful things behind your back? Does your child talk negatively about you behind your back? Does your child have outbursts of ungodly anger? Does your child lie to you and try to deceitfully and emotionally manipulate you? Does your child treat brothers, sisters, mothers, and other adults disrespectfully? Does your child seek to get others to disobey? Does your child always seek to get their way, no matter what they have to do to get their way?
The answer to those questions are all a matter of the heart and spiritual heart issues. Something that I see in our Biblical counseling and discipleship is a lack of spiritual understanding of what it means to walk in the Spirit. There is a huge failure today from top to bottom in the matter of being Spirit controlled people in the church.
Galatians 5:16-17, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Why do we do Biblical counseling? Because most people have come from a habit life style built around flesh gratification and senses (lusts) orientation which is ingrained in their lives. It is imperative to begin somewhere in understanding that we have to begin responding to our new nature because it is the right Biblical spiritual thing rather than responding to the old nature all the time because it feels good.
Galatians 5:24-25, And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Did you see that? Crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Almost all the people we counsel including those in spiritual leadership positions, do not understand what it means to be a Spirit controlled person. Most Christians live a lust filled life and consistently respond to the old nature.
Proverbs 25:28, He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
The Bible describes a person who has no rule over his spirit as a disaster with no defenses. Many Christians struggle with the simplest matters in their spiritual life because they have no rule over or control over their old nature. You will either respond to your old nature or your new nature. Most Christians respond to their old nature continually. They are then led by their emotions and make disastrous decisions which only makes their life worse. They are unhappy and question whether God is there or if He cares or why has this happened to my children or family? Their life becomes more and more complicated with each passing disastrous decision they make.
Something I see, and it is a real problem, is those who are blinded to their responses to their old nature. They live for their old nature and put a spiritual spin on what they are doing.
So, in our Biblical counseling, we help them to see from the Bible that their life is in this mess because they are blinded spiritually to their lusts (responding to their old nature continually). They are certainly not living to glorify God, because their behavior shows it.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The will of God for each of us is to glorify God.
James 4:1-10, From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (2) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (4) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (5) Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? (6) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Did you notice in verse 8, purify your hearts ye double minded? James 1:8, A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
So, it is double mindedness, and a double minded man is unstable in all his ways!
That is the description of many Christians and churches today. Many churches today are nothing more than an activity center. Teaching people to live for their lusts right in the church! The Christian of this hour lusts for social relationships first at the expense of spiritual Biblical common sense and purity. Activities first, leisure first, job first, sports first, ungodly music first, just about every lust first! Thus we have an epidemic today of family crisis! We receive several hundred inquiries each week asking for help!
The other thing I see all the time is ungodly anger. Non Spirit controlled behavior by handling ourselves with anger and an angry spirit! It will cause a family crisis big time! Many pastors lose the hearts of their children and wives because of ungodly anger or a spirit of anger.
Ungodly anger is deceptive and many Christians are deceived by it. Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Some time ago I was meeting with a pastor and his wife who were considering getting a divorce. I asked the wife what she thought the problem was? She looked at me and then looked at him and then looked back at me and then looked at him and said, “I despise you! You scream and yell and call me names and demand that the children and I obey you! You are an angry, hurtful, and out of control person. I am scared to death of you and so are the children!” Wow! I would say that was a real family crisis! Ungodly anger destroys lives!
By doing this type of thing we open up our lives to the devil and his destruction.
1 Peter 5:8, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
This destruction takes place in our lives, in the lives of our family, in our ministry, and of our children. The essence of the Christian life is to be controlled by the Spirit of God, (submitted each day and each moment at the point of impact to the Spirit of God).
Ephesians 5:18, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Philippians 4:4-9, Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation (self-control) be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand (in your life). (6) Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
I want you to notice in verse 6 the phrase “prayer and supplication.” Supplication means to ask for something humbly (submitted). Then I want you to notice in verse 6 thanksgiving.
Then notice in verse 8 praise. So, at the point of impact rather than be anxious, “Lord I want to turn this over to you, I ask you to forgive me, I want to submit this to you and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.” Since most problems begin in the mind, “Lord what do you want me to praise you for and thank you for?” Then verse eight comes into play; proper Spirit controlled thinking rather than let your mind worry, fret and think on the wrong things. It must become a daily moment by moment part of your life to be a Spirit controlled person at the point of impact!
Hebrews 13:15, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Folks, we are not controlled by the Spirit of God if we live our life daily in ungodly anger. Satan is very deceptive and ungodly anger is designed by Satan to destroy your family, ministry, and your life. Notice below that ungodly anger comes from pride and of course Satan is the author of that pride. Please see at the end of the article how to deal with ungodly anger.
Ephesians 4:31-32, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Colossians 3:8-10, But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
Proverbs 22:8, To those who believe they should discipline their children in ungodly anger, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail”.
Where does ungodly anger come from? Pride! Proverbs 21:24, Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
Proverbs 13:10, Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
To deal with a family crisis we have to start by learning what the Bible says about Spirit controlled behavior. How can I be a Spirit controlled person? That is what we do here at Hope Biblical Counseling Center. We take the Bible and help people to see scripturally what that means and how to implement it in our lives. We cannot over emphasize the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives. We believe the Bible has the answer to man’s issues, not popular psychology. Everything has to start with the Bible and we have to apply it practically in our lives not live for our lusts.
Psalm 119: 4-9, Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. (5) O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! (6) Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. (7) I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. (8) I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. (9) Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Every believer has to understand a very important Biblical point. Matthew 4:10, Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Ladies and gentlemen, we will never make any change in our children’s lives until we understand and practically apply Biblical truth in our lives and be a Spirit controlled person.
Do you want to learn more about the Spirit controlled life? Our booklet, How to Have a Real Relationship With God-The Work of the Holy Spirit in a Person’s Life, will be very helpful. Please click on: http://mismallbusinessweb.com/LoveOfTheFamily