In the movie Sneakers (think 1992), a band of “criminals-gone-good” is coerced by secretive government agents into stealing a “black box.” Going to great lengths, they do indeed retrieve this box, only to discover what it actually is. This box can break any cryptography ever invented. With this device, previously incomprehensible gibberish comes to striking clarity. The world is suddenly accessible with the ease of merely connecting the right wire. The group was thrown into awe at the sheer power they had before them.

It reminds me of a similar awe I experienced when stumbling upon the clarifying power of my own “black box.” A man incessantly eaten up by anxieties and cloudiness found an interpreter suited for the most complex cryptography imaginable. The Holy Spirit illuminated Genesis 1 to me.

Let’s be honest: counseling is cryptic. When someone comes to you with a flood that mixes flesh with Spirit, lies with truth, manipulation with honesty, helplessness with pride — where do you go? How do you proceed? What exactly do they need? And how exactly are you supposed to help if you even knew? Peoples’ stories tend to take us for a ride, and we can lose our bearings.

Take a moment and read Genesis 1:26-31. I see God telling us in nine different ways that we are to make Him known.

  1. Let us make man in our image
  2. after our likeness
  3. let them have dominion [because God has dominion]
  4. God created man in his own image
  5. in the image of God he created him
  6. male and female he created them [united trinity]
  7. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth [God fruitfully multiplies]
  8. subdue it
  9. have dominion

Every last item in this list roots itself directly in who God is. He rules powerfully, generously, and wisely. He overflows, multiplies, and spreads. From this, by statement and by command, God leaves us no doubt about our one reason for existing. We exist to make God known. This is it: the reason for it all. Even creation itself exists to show God off (Psalm 19). God needs to be seen.

I can’t describe the rest, clarity, and even creativity that this gives me in counseling. Joe comes to me with an incomprehensible flood that leaves my head spinning — until I remember my reason for existing, until I remember the reason for existence itself. Joe needs to see God. I need to show God off. Everything else roots itself in this.

Suddenly, a complex, impersonal world of competing theories on behavior, motivation, and change falls away. A black box takes its place. My source of counsel is now rooted in one simple, personal question: Who is God? Because of the Holy Spirit, I have ready access to the answer (1 Cor. 2), so I never need to fret. From this wellspring flows the rest and clarity I desperately long for. God must be seen for who He is, and through Jesus, He has renewed my ability to show Him off.

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