What You'll Discover in this Episode:

God’s Sufficiency for Godly Living

Training up the next generation of Biblical Counselors

How is God’s grace sufficient for godly living? What is the difference between works of the flesh and works of the Spirit?

In this episode of the Biblical Counseling Podcast, Pastor Jeff Christianson with his wife Jennifer explain how the Christian life starts with grace when someone first becomes a Christian (Justification, Eph. 2:8-9) and continues throughout all of life (Sanctification, Gal. 2:20). God is at work in His children and empowers them by the Holy Spirit that He graciously gives them. Paul is a great example of someone who did many works for God and they were done by the grace of the Holy Spirit working in him. God’s grace is the wind in our sail as we step out in faith, in obedience to His Word. Without the grace of Jesus we are unable to do anything of eternal value. “For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b). 

In this podcast, Pastor Jeff Christianson and Jennifer help us understand the difference between works of the flesh and works of the Spirit. A work of the flesh can be defined as someone who does something in their own strength. Instead we must start with a humble dependence on God. It is God who empowers us for ministry and the work of Biblical Counseling. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20). We are God’s vessel to offer Christ and His Word.

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  • Want to learn more from Pastor Jeff? Listen to this podcast to hear Pastor Jeff address:
  • The foundations and principles of counseling within the life of the church
  • Church life, COVID-19, and loving others through challenging times
  • 1 John 4:7 and how biblical counseling draws upon divine love in order to minister to

    others within the body of Christ

  • “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2).“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).


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  • God’s Word is sufficient to meet every need of the human soul, just as David verifies this frequently in his psalm. Psalm 19:7-14 is one of the most comprehensive statements regarding the sufficiency of Scripture. It’s an inspired expression about Scripture as our guaranteed qualified guide for every situation. Scripture contains everything necessary for one’s spiritual life. Scripture is more absolute for proving God’s power and presence than any human experience. Scripture contains divine principles that are the best guides for character and conduct. Scripture is void of any flaws and therefore lasts forever. Scripture is true regarding all things that matter, making it more than capable of producing comprehensive righteousness. Scripture meets every need in life & Scripture is infinitely more precious than anything this world has to offer.

    • Josh, you have some great insights. I am overjoyed at your confidence in the Scriptures. It is true that many seek to place personal experience over the truth of the Bible. But, even our experiences show that the Bible is true. The blessings and burdens that follow those that sow to the flesh instead of the Spirit also acknowledge the veracity of the text. There is no better diagnosis than the diagnosis of Scripture because it does more than tell me what is wrong with us; it gives us the cure (Jesus’ atoning death) and a hopeful prognosis (His triumphal resurrection). Thy Word is truth!

      • Thank you David, I really appreciate that!
        All too often pride so easily creeps in.
        Good point, and whatever we sow we will reap.
        We as flawed humanity desperately need that hopeful prognosis and eternal cure.

    • Josh, you are so right. God’s Word is sufficient for every need we have. I love God’s Word; it is what gives life to our souls, and light to our paths. God’s love for us is demonstrated at the cross, but it is also demonstrated in what He wrote for us. Everything we want to know is there. His Word is an awesome gift that I treasure so much. Thanks again!

      • Amen Ritter! I hope we all love it and what it does. that’s a great point as well. this is something we need to make sure we remember. Salvation the Spirit and His Word are the most valuable precious gifts we as created beings will ever be able to comprehend or receive.

  • Some other verses that I thought of in relation to our sanctification and ministry are Phil. 2:13 and Col. 1:29. “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13). “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Col. 1:29). The idea that we are striving and running the Christian race all the while trusting in God who empowers us by His Holy Spirit is a valuable truth. It helps us to stay humble and to give God all the credit and glory He deserves for all the good that we do.

    • Chase, those are some great verses regarding our sanctification and energy for ministry. There have been those moments when I keep on working, thinking that if I put in some more study or strive a bit more, then I can achieve greatness. Greatness for the Christian is found in humility, not in my performance. Jennifer Christianson said, “He fills our sails”, He is the one in which we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Everything we accomplish is by His grace and mercy, unmerited, and unearned. Thank God for His grace in which we stand and minister.

    • I think about this amazing God that loved us before the foundation of the world; this God that not only provided Jesus so that we are restored to the Father but also have provided the gift of the Holy Spirit who as you said empowers us. This is humbling and only God gets the glory; it is all about HIM! Thank Chase – God bless!

  • Living a godly life and passing that life to others, passing the baton is what we are called top do. I never knew that there was a difference between Justification and sanctification. Paul knew Timothy was timid and as Paul knew this but yet we see later on that, he was fruitful and used as a major vessel. He (Paul) knew where he( Timothy) was spiritually and yet understood where he was. I really like when it was said “Paul said be strong in the grace in Christ Jesus, and as we walk with Him and in Him He pours out grace to us through the relationship we have with Him”. God at work producing labor, when i heard that i automatically thought that when i work unto the lord, and i tend to find myself in the wildest situations,and in the midst of it, people would always questions why am i so motivated and so zealous, and i would always just simply answer by saying “God”. He empowers us to do His work, and when doing His work His way, He takes over and allows every piece to fit together. God resists the pride and gives grace to the humble, and when hearing this scripture, it brings me back to when I was filled with pride and I’ve witnessed the consequences of it, but when striving for humility, God always has honored that. He resists pride, and so I do my best not to be stuck in my ways, but choose Christ and live in Him. It is contrary to living a prideful life but a humble and sacrificial life.

    • Hi Johan,

      I am glad that this podcast helped you understand justification and sanctification. Another great verse on justification is Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” and for sanctification, 1 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

    • I’m thankful that God empowers us to no only do His work, but also to be humble in a sacrificial life. God is a good Father and will continue to provide grace upon grace because of the work of Jesus at the cross. Johan, I love what you said about when we are doing His work, He takes over and allows every piece to fit together; the picture of this is so beautiful! What a gift we have through Him!

  • Thank you, Pastor Jeff and Jennifer. A great podcast tonight. I love what you said about the first-time, when believers get the first taste of the “grace” of God; when forgiven and then saved. We immediately become His vessel and as it was said, we don’t have to do anything on ourselves, but let the Lord do His thing; we are to give people Jesus, that is it. I feel that as biblical counselors if we hold on to this truth, there is nothing that we need to be afraid or timid about because God is who is doing the work through us. It is not our job to save or transforms people, but Gods; He lives in us – Gal 2:20. There was one time when I needed to speak to a group of women in our church about identity, and the whole day I was nervous that I would not do it the right way. God reminded me that I was His vessel, and I just needed to trust Him and to repeat what He already said in His Word. I asked Him to take away what I was feeling, and as soon as I sat and started to speak, the nervousness went away. God is sufficient for us to live according to His way and His will, and we need to believe what He said; He can’t lie. Without Him, we can’t do nothing as John 15:56b states it. By the way, I want to thank you Pastor Jeff for your services in the army. God bless you both!

    • Hi Ritter
      What you are saying is very important. We need to come to God and the body of Christ with humility. Because as you wrote it is Him that is doing the work and we are his vessels. When we understand and do this God gets all the credit and a mighty work happens through us. Thank you for that reminder. Blessings, Michelle

    • I know this to be true that God’s grace is sufficient, and those who have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, know that it is only by His grace that we even have an opportunity to have that relationship. If it was up to me and my works, i would have no chance to even feel His presence.But God is great and His mercy and His love endures forever. If we are not speaking Christ and not leading people to the cross, then we need to evaluate ourselves and ask the Lord to bring us back to our first love.

  • Thank you Pastor Jeff and Jennifer for your insight on Biblical counseling. When you spoke about biblical counseling being a discipleship with those that you are counseling really spoke to me. I have always believed that to be true. To counsel someone and being allowed to enter into their pain, sorrow, anger, bitterness, and loss is a privilege. We as biblical counselors should always remember this because the counselee are seeking relationship and healing. Biblical discipleship is an opportunity to speak into someone’s life and share about what God can do and will do for them. That’s way it very important that we are in Gods words and that the grace we are given is evident in our lives so that the counselee can see what’s being spoken is truth.

    • Michelle, I thoroughly agree with you on the need for us to abide in His Word and be recipients of the grace we profess. There is nothing phonier than someone professing to have answers from theory alone. We believe that God can transform lives from the inside-out because we have experienced that for ourselves. We aren’t just spokespeople, we are clients of His grace, forgiveness, and mercy. That is one reason why Paul was able to confidently encourage and assure young Timothy in the ministry.

    • thank you Michelle for sharing your thoughts on the pod cast, I believe it helps if we can counsel others based on the Grace and Mercy we have been ourselves been given because we are not just saying something based on what we think it is based on what we have gone through ourselves, and have experienced God’s grace, and mercy and comfort.We should always be in God’s Word daily, always seeking truth through the Scriptures.

    • Counseling someone is an opportunity to be the best witness we can be for Christ; it gives a chance to disciple the person into a deeper relationship with the Savior. Being in God’s word is an absolute key if we want to help people into discipleship. God calls us to be disciples that makes disciples. Thank you Michelle for your comments!

  • Thank you, Pastor Jeff and Jennifer Christianson for a great episode. I can relate to the anxiety of not feeling up to the task of competent biblical counseling. Much prayer and preparation are done before, during, and after the sessions. This episode was a great reminder that being strong in the grace of God is most important. The counselor is not the primary change agent, but the willing vessel of God. Also, while we may have a great deal of biblical head knowledge, it must not supersede our personal walk with the Lord. It is this thriving day-to-day walk with Christ that we should administer our counsel from. God will resist us if we attempt to accomplish His works in our flesh. He giveth more grace, and for that I am grateful!

    • Very true David it is all about “our personal walk with the Lord.” We must cultivate that relationship with Christ day by day and have daily bible reading and deep study to grow in closeness to Christ and be open for the Holy Spirit leading us. The Spirit will illuminate his word for us that will guide.

    • Knowing my job, working full time ministry, it can be really demanding.I work with students that were once dealing with life controlling issues, and my foundation even before i start to speak is to give the mentoring session to the lord. I pray before the student is before me, and then we pray together and not only for my mentee to gain something but for both of us to receive a word from the lord.Welcoming the Holy Spirit in and allowing the spirit of God to speak, is us taking action and which shows our faith that we have in Him.

    • Hello David, I know what you mean about the anxiety of not being up to the task of counseling. One thing that I have become accustomed to doing is to be praying in the moment that I am counseling. I am continually asking God for guidance and for the right words to speak, this keeps me relying on him even as I’m in the middle of trying to disciple and counsel someone.

    • It is so encouraging to know that we are not the primary change agent, but it is the Lord who works in and through the counselor. We should not try to accomplish His work in the arm of the flesh, but wholly trust in the work of the Spirit. We need more of the Spirit and more of His grace.

  • We are God’s vessel. We won’t always say the right things or give the message that the person wants to hear, but it is what God wants to say. This takes so much pressure off of us as we counsel others. I loved what they said, Humility says “I can’t” but faith says, “You can.” Timothy knew he coundn’t do it on his own he needed to rely on the grace of the Lord and so do we. We are the vessels that God is able to use in the life of others. We want to be those pure vessels. I have been struck this week with all the dissension within our country and especially in the church. I want to be a person that brings peace, but that can only happen if I am pointing people to Jesus and His word. In Him is peace and reconciliation. The Lord has not given a spirit of fear, but of power and of LOVE and of a sound mind. (2Tim 1:7) I want to be a person that brings this hope to those around me.

    • Amen Kristle we can’t do it on our own, like you said. It is only by faith and reliance on Christ can we have any eternal spiritual impact. Life is certainly hard at the moment I have elderly family myself that I spend time with. But I’m reminded of that verse that always gives me hope. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:13.

    • Good point, the burden should not be on our shoulders, we are really unfit for the task. But we can certainly be used by God when we rely on Him, to be used in others lives.

  • Thank you, Pastor Jeff and Jennifer for an encouraging episode. We are indeed blessed to have God’s grace in our lives. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. It’s best to stay humble before the Lord daily then we can be usable vessels in his hands as the Holy Spirit leads and guides us. Its wonderful to know that we can come before the throne of God at any moment in prayer and that God hears and answers.

  • Thank you for another great pod cast Pastor Jeff and Jennifer, Thanks for the reminder that we are God’s vessel and sometimes we are not gonna always say what people want to hear because we are giving God’s word not our own, so it kinda takes the pressure off of us and thanks for the reminder we are saved by grace not by our works and it is not in our own strength it is by our personal relationship with God. The more we grow in Christ and die to ourselves the Spirit lives in us and will guide us. I know for myself when I try and do things in my own strength I get discouraged and have anxiety, I usually always have to go back to the cross and get out of what I call self mode and remember who I am in Christ, because in my own strength I can do nothing. It’s when I humble myself that I find God’s peace and getting in the Word I find truth, which is on my own I can do nothing but with Christ I can.

  • This was a great podcast, the idea that we rely on the Lord in all aspects of counseling is foundational. Even when we have heard of a particular problem and we think we know the answer or the right counsel, we must not lean on our own understanding and our own experience. Instead we have to pray and ask God for guidance and rely on Him. As was stated in the podcast, this really takes the burden off of our own insufficient sounders and onto the Lords. Paul was encouraging Timothy to strong in the grace that is in Christ. It is in God’s grace that we will be used as vessels to minister to and counsel one another. As we rely on Him, He gets all the Glory and the body of Christ is strengthened.

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