Quotes by Dan Wickert
The heart and mind are complex and difficult to understand, and the symptoms of an unwell heart are wildly diverse. Counselors have a daunting task: They seek to understand aching and fractured, angry and despairing people, and try to offer help. This is impossible, or course, without prayerful, Spirit-endowed compassion along with a careful, attentive, empathetic investigation into each counselee’s history.
Hope is not defined by the absence of hardship. Rather, hope is found in God’s grace in the midst of hardship. Hope is found in His promise to give us a future. God offers hope to Christians when He promises, “I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Rom. 8:38-39).
It can be easy for some counselors to treat the Bible like Tylenol, but Scripture was never intended to be prescribed for mechanical ingestion every six hours to make people feel better… Counselors who prescribe Scripture are in danger of approaching their counselees in a routine, uninterested, and dispassionate way. They instruct counselees to memorize this verse and to write out that verse, but they don’t use the powerful Word as a dynamic means to encounter the living Christ. They rarely delve into the depth of biblical passages, the character of God, the beautiful implications of the gospel, or the nature of the sinful heart that fuels idolatry and deception. It is spiritual malpractice.
As a rule, I never advise or require counselees to stop medicating because I am not their physician. I don’t know their complete medical history, and it would be irresponsible for me to advise them out of ignorance. In many cases patients who stop taking their medication cold turkey will suffer severe withdrawal symptoms that make it even more challenging to think and act rightly.
Does medicine ultimately solve heart problems? No. But is God’s will ultimately going to be hindered by medicine or a lack of medicine? No. God will work His will in a counselee’s heart regardless of whether they are medicated. My goal and responsibility are to cultivate hope, to help people grow in Christlikeness, and to help them prosper in the freedom of the gospel and in God’s rich purpose for their lives.
Every sin is founded on a lie – the lie of unbelief directed toward God’s Son and His declared truth.
We often fail to believe that God is who He says He is. We do not believe that God will really do what He has promised to do; we suspect that God might not know or will not do what is best for us; and we doubt the way that God has ordered the world. When we believe lies and choose to sin, we experience emotional consequences such as depression, anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and many others.
Scripture memory is a sharp, shining weapon against temptation. Memorizing Scripture invokes the aid of the Holy Spirit – God-on-the-scene in our struggles. The Spirit who dwells within us has the power to strengthen and comfort and gladden our hearts with His Word. The psalmist says in Psalm 119:11, “I have treasured Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” By the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word, we are set free from the slavery of our sinful nature (Rom. 8:2, 10-11; 2 Cor. 3:17), we are convicted of any hidden sin (Psm. 19:12), we abound in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), and we abound with hope (Rom. 15:13)!
Just as every sin is the fruit of unbelief, at the heart of every sin is an idol. If I believe a lie about God, then I am not worshipping Him; rather, I am belittling Him, casting Him from the throne of my heart. Man was designed for worship, so if I am not worshipping God, I am worshipping something or someone else.
Idols are powerful, but two realities cause our hearts to become dissatisfied with idols. The first is that we are created in the image of God and created for God; nothing else will give us eternal purpose or everlasting joy. When we choose to set up a dead, powerless idol and worship at its feet, then we are attended to by a dead, powerless idol that pleases temporarily and superficially. Money disappears. Fame fades away. Children grow up and leave. Our friends fail us. Control is elusive. God alone – in all of His beauty and grace – can promise us joy forever. The second reality that causes our hearts to grow dissatisfied with idols is the grace of God. God is too good to allow His children to worship something or someone that will not satisfy. He is so good that He either wrenches our idols from our hands or makes us miserable as long as we clench and grasp.