Four months of sub-human treatment in the enemy’s camp, and Bobby can’t believe his eyes. Hope forsook him long ago, and yet he’s now staring at his rescue in disbelief. The group of five infiltrated the camp, and they now stand ready to end his stint as a prisoner of war. An hour later, as they make their way out undiscovered, Bobby finally asks the Jed, the group’s leader, where they’re going. After some time with an absent look on his face, Jed admits, “I have no idea. I haven’t thought about it.”
Well, that was lame. Do I win “worst plot of the year” award? Probably. But I bet you’ve actually done this. I know I have. And we’re bound to do it again and again if we don’t ground our lives in firm goal of being infatuated with God ourselves.
It wouldn’t make much sense to break into an enemy camp with no idea where you want to bring the imprisoned soldier. It makes about as much sense to move into your friend’s life to help them and yet have little idea where you want to take them. So, let’s ask:
What do I ultimately want to happen when I give counsel?
There’s always the answer from the last post, “I want them to see God.” For sure, it’s a sound and biblical answer, but we need to be aware that, as people inherently suffering from multiple personalities (that is, flesh and Spirit), our goals are constantly shifting. “What do you want to happen?” isn't just a one-time, static question to settle with a doctrinal statement. It is an all-the-time, pliable narrative that we work through over and over with the Holy Spirit amid our ever-changing, messy lives.
In fact, I’m not sure we can truly want something for someone else that we haven’t already practiced wanting in daily life. For sure, I can meet my friend and think, “I want you to see God.” But if I’ve merely wanted to escape into television the day before that, then the idea of wanting anyone to see God is honestly more of and out-of-context intrusion than it is a genuine desire. My goals for other people answer to my everyday life. They also have the deciding say as to whether I’m truly helping my friends or souring their plot lines with indecision and unknown goals. Goals are what fundamentally separate biblical counseling from pop-psychology:
What do you want to happen?
The truth is that life changes, our desires change, and we change with them. So get into the habit of asking yourself often where you want to take friends when you meet with them. And realize that your lifestyle (obedience in faith or disobedience in unbelief) is the rudder that determines where you want to take them. If you want others to see God, you must want to see Him yourself, and you must be careful to make this a daily want.