Five Favorite Bible Passages — with Kevin Carson

Janet Aucoin July 1, 2022

God’s word is sufficient to guide us in our daily lives. There are many scriptures that can be go-to passages to help us in the problems that we face. Today we welcome Kevin Carson to discuss his five favorite scripture passages that he often uses in counseling. This episode will be encouraging for counselors and counselees alike.

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Episode Transcript


Gospel Primer - Milton Vincent


Five Favorite Bible Passages in Counseling - Kevin Carson

Blessed Self-Forgetfulness - Tim Keller


Biblical Counseling in Action


Restoration Men’s Ministry


Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy.

Janet: Well, welcome back to our listeners. And I want to let you know that we have a special guest today. We have Kevin Carson here with us who is not Jocelyn. So in case you're confused by that. We have our counseling training conference. Jocelyn is busy serving there, and Kevin has taken a break to share with our listeners. So Kevin, in a minute, I'm going to ask you to tell us about yourself, but first I'm going to tell you what I know. Which is that you're a follower of Jesus. You're a husband. You're a father. You're a pastor. You're a counselor. You're a blogger. And you're a speaker. This is what I know about Kevin.

Kevin: Plus, you know what it's like to go on vacation with me.

Janet: Yes, I do.

Kevin: We chased each other around glacier national one week.

Janet: We did. And while that was a whole lot of fun, that has resulted in one of my illustrations where I say I came and I saw, and I did not conquer. Because on that Highline one or whatever that…I had to go back. I couldn't do it.

Kevin: What a fun time. My son, that was four, still he talks about it all the time.

Janet: He remembers it?

Kevin: Oh, absolutely.

Janet: That's so fun. So we have vacationed with Kevin and it was a whole lot of fun. But it was not my finer moments, but it was fun. So tell us, fill in some of the blanks. Tell us a little bit about your family and your ministry.

Kevin: Sure. Kelly and I have four children, and we've been married about 23 years. I think I could be wrong on that number.

Janet: Okay. That's an important thing to get right.

Kevin: It is in May. I'll know by the time of my anniversary.

Janet: Kelly, do not listen to this.

Kevin: By the time my anniversary gets here, I will know. But I'm blonde and I'm a true blonde. So I lose those details sometimes. So we've been married, we've known each other since 1990, so I can't keep that number together.

Janet: We got that.

Kevin: And so four children, God's blessed us with that. And I've had the privilege to start a church in Ozark, Missouri, and been pastor there for 20 years in March. So I do you know that number as well. So. And just been a professor of biblical counseling since 1999. I talked recently on a different podcast about our first child, which is number five, actually died when she was a month old. And so, it was in that process that I was actually approached about becoming a biblical counseling professor.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: Which got me in touch with Westminster and started my whole journey in biblical counseling. So, and then I've been a professor since '99.

Janet: For the listeners to know that's on Biblical Counseling In Action, which is Steve Viars' podcast, which we also recommend, and we'll have a link to that in our show notes.

Kevin: Yes. So I've been in biblical counseling since 1999. Early on, it was a smaller field, as you know, back in the day. Conferences were much smaller and there weren't as many people doing it. And so Ed Welch, Paul Tripp, David Powlison, Steve Viars, Randy Patton

Janet: And you.

Kevin: Bob Smith. They just became good friends. Yes. And so I enjoyed just great blessings. And I was pretty young. They engaged me early, which probably wasn't wise, but now I've grown into it, I hope.

Janet: And I love that. It's a good reminder. We all have to just get started.

Kevin: Yes.

Janet: And you did, and now you have been a blessing to our family personally, and I know you are also one of the professors that comes to our Faith Bible Seminary as well.

Kevin: Yes.

Janet: So we get a lot of connections with you, but I know this week at our counseling conference, you're speaking on your five favorite counseling passages. And you're not speaking right now, our audience is not primarily counselors, but all of us need to be counselees at least. And so if these verses you have found helpful, I am excited for you to share some of those with us so that we can be encouraged too.

Kevin: Yeah. These particular verses are important because they reach a wide variety of circumstances. Right? So when I looked at what are my five favorites, my five favorites become that because they fit so many different situations. As we go in and out of those situations, there's really key principles and thoughts that help guide us in those situations. And so these are the top five that tend to come out often.

Janet: Well, I'm ready to learn. So give me your first one.

Kevin: Well, Second Corinthians five is my first one. It's a fun text. In that particular text, Paul is writing to Christians generally. And verse nine is one that probably you've memorized and maybe lots of your audience when it says, therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent to be well pleasing to him.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: And so when you get that purpose of life sentence, this is my aim. This is my goal. Well, he gives us that goal based on the first eight verses, which basically he's describing when you get saved, the Holy Spirit begins to develop in you a strong desire to be with the Lord. But whether or not you're with the Lord, the goal is still to remain equally faithful. Right. So as a Christian, my heart tends to want to go with the Lord, but between here and there, I'm going to have to walk by faith.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: And so for everyday living, I'm going to have to keep my feet grounded and having a grounded life looks like my goal is to be well pleasing. Now, of course we can't live in a way that makes God happy. God is happy because we are in Christ.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: But we can live a life that honors him. And that's the goal that he has for us here. And then beginning in verse nine, then he begins to describe the rest of this chapter. Kind of what that looks like when we talk about living a life that honors him, what are the things I need to think? And what are the things I need to do that help me live consistent with that.

Janet: Which is so good that you're saying that because my first thought is everybody's going, okay, but now what? So what?

Kevin: Right.

Janet: So what would that actually look like if I were living that way? How will I know if I'm not?

Kevin: Well, that's a good question. And this text, I think verses 14 and 15 are very helpful because he says for the love of Christ compels us because we judge that if one died for all, then all died and he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again. So the love of Christ compels. That word means it controls us. And it's not my love for Christ that controls me. It's Christ's love for me that controls me.

Janet: Very different.

Kevin: Oh, it is very different. Right. So as I'm aware of the gospel, it controls me or motivates me. So my goal is to be well pleasing. What motivates while I strive to be well pleasing is the love that Christ has for me. And so he says it motivates me instead of living for myself to live for Christ, which would be first great commandment. And whenever we live for Christ, It's going to play itself out in the way that we live for others in second great commandment.

Janet: I love that. So you're going back to, cause we hear this a lot. We just need to keep preaching the gospel to ourselves. And I think sometimes we think, okay, what does that even mean? But what you're saying is, when I'm meditating on how much I'm loved. That's the only thing that's gonna motivate me to stop living for myself.

Kevin: Yes. And it motivates me not just simply to live for Christ though. So when I think, how do I live well, pleasing? It's not, did I give an offering? Did I go to church? Did I read my Bible? Did I pray? Those are maybe all important.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: But that's not really the look of loving Christ and loving people. It's how am I serving? How do I see people? And how do I serve people?

Janet: Oh, I love it.

Kevin: And so he continues where he says verse 16, therefore, from now on I regard no one, according to the flesh, even though we've known Christ, according to the flesh yet, now we know him thus no longer. When you first read that. I don't have many people that I talk with that get that verse on first read. Right? It's one of those complicated verses.

Janet: So we skip it.

Kevin: Yes, we do. But it is so powerful because he says before I knew Christ, I saw Jesus simply as a man. I saw him as a Jew. I saw him as an imposter. I saw him as someone that I did not like. And he worked against Jesus, but the Damascus road changed all that. So he no longer saw Jesus as someone in the flesh, he saw Jesus for who he truly was.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: You get to 16. He says, so from now on we regard no one, according to the flesh. When I engage people, I engage them as those who are encapsulated souls. Right? I'm not distracted by earrings and by piercings and tattoos and the color of their skin or the kind of economics they may have. Those things are not what draws me into people and to engage people. But it's, what's going on in their heart.

Janet: I have to tell you, I have never. Taken that from that verse, but that's really powerful.

Kevin: It is a fascinating verse, right? So he says, even though we've known Christ, according to flesh, we don't know him that way anymore. It's changed. And so his relationship with Jesus being controlled by his love has changed the way he sees Christ and it changes the way he engages others. Then he adds another layer. Then if anyone is in Christ, he's a new creature. The old has passed away. Behold, all things have become new. So in that particular verse, he's saying, I am a different person, right? I have a different operating system. I like to use computers to think about this particular illustration. I do the same things. I have the same capacity. If you use Microsoft Word, if you're using it on a PC, you can do certain things and the commands look and feel a certain way. But then when you switched to OS, It's all a bit different. It kind of has the same function, but it's a different operating system. When we get saved. Our old is gone. In other words, if we use that illustration, that old operating system is gone and now we have a new operating system. And this new operating system can honor the Lord. It can live in a way that actually does please him, which is what he says his new goal is, in verse 9. So now it's this new person in Christ. I can do things differently. I'm not a slave to the old man. I'm not a slave to the flesh. Now I have a desire to honor the Lord.

Janet: That is so hopeful.

Kevin: It is. I love it. Then he says, and I'm now a new creature that is an ambassador. I have been reconciled to God and I now have the goal, ministry, even message to be a reconciling person. Right. So as an ambassador, now I represent Jesus.

Janet: Yeah.

Kevin: And that's powerful as well. Because as I live my life and he says, my aim is to be well pleasing to him. Well then how are you well, pleasing? He says, I'm well-pleasing as an ambassador. As I live, Christ. Right. He says that in Philippians as well. Here, he describes it as, as God were pleading through me, this is the way that I live. And it comes back to verse 21, the gospel. It's the change that was made in my heart when God put my sin on Christ and God took his righteousness and placed it on me. That drives everything Paul does. So as an ambassador, what Paul is trying to say is that he lives every day with his values, his goals the things that he does, the things that he wants to do, he tries to take those from Christ so that he represents Christ. And so the love Christ has for him, it produces the motivation, and at some level produces the example for how then now he can go and live and seek to serve people around him.

Janet: And you're saying that's not just for apostles and pastors. Because when I read this, I'm like, well, I don't know. Do I have the ministry of reconciliation? Maybe that's for the preachers.

Kevin: I think it's for all of us. Yes. We are all ambassadors of Christ because the old has gone and the new is arrived.

Janet: For everyone.

Kevin: Correct. And the new is this new life in Christ. It's a new sense of righteousness. So the question I ask myself, is it possible that the very worst ambassador of the United States, who represents an imperfect Congress, who represents over the last many, many years, just very imperfect presidents.

Janet: Absolutely.

Kevin: Is it possible that the very worst ambassador for the United States is better at their job, and when they wake up wherever they are, whatever country that is in. Are they more aware of what they're doing and why they're doing it than I am every day as I live for Christ?

Janet: Well, and that is so convicting because even the worst ambassador is probably at least intentionally trying to be an ambassador.

Kevin: Right.

Janet: And am I?

Kevin: That's it. Every day, I try to ask myself this question. Have I gotten up this day with an awareness that I represent Christ? I am an ambassador. And it's a hard question. Even asking myself that, I forget it.

Janet: Thank you for the gospel that covers all of that while we're growing. That's excellent. So would you say you share that with most of your counseling cases?

Kevin: With lots of them. Cause I come from this perspective, we can be problem centered or problem oriented and go after a particular problem. Or I can get someone on board to, I want to live life that honors the Lord. And if we get him on board or her on board, there, then the problems tend to fix themselves.

Janet: And I love that because for our listeners who might be thinking, well, I'm not a counselor. What if you're a parent think about the parenting implications

Kevin: Right.

Janet: of what you just said. If we can help them with that rather than just each problem separately. And for our own lives, because we all need this. So that's great. I would like to spend an hour on each one of these and we're not going to, because I don't want to end at number three and have the ladies going, where's the other two. So let's keep moving, but you are doing a session on this a full hour. And we will have in our show notes, a link to that so that people can get more.

Kevin: Sure.

Janet: When they want it.

Kevin: So first Corinthians 10:13 is my second one. And that is a text that again, many of your audience may know and have memorized. For sure you do. And it's one of those texts that I think just gives us a good sense of how do I see my circumstances and how do I respond to those? And so it says in 13, so no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it. So big idea stuff. It says no temptation. The word temptation is a word that's used multiple places in the New Testament, and it means pressure-filled circumstance. Right. So

Janet: Broader than we typically think of a temptation.

Kevin: Much broader. Yes. What determines if you translate it as temptation or trial, which is the other primary way it's translated, is how you respond to it. So I'm in a circumstance, and if in that circumstance, my heart gives me a solicitation to sin because of my own desires. Then I would say, oh, that was a temptation. But if in that exact same circumstance, my heart doesn't respond with a solicitation to sin, but instead I am faithful in it, then we would call that a trial. But it's the same. The word in the Greek is peirasmos. It's the same peirasmos in both of those instances. What makes one a temptation, and one a trial is how I respond to it in my heart. So we're just literally talking about a pressure. So what I love about this verse, it says there's no pressure that overtakes you, but such as this common to man. In the world system, we have an entire industry that has a book called the DSM-V that trains us to think of situations as different than, or not common to man.

Janet: It's all unique.

Kevin: Right. So there are commercials on TV that there are people wearing t-shirts and it says their own specific diagnosis on that t-shirt. And it's like, as you walk through and I think it's maybe the train station in New York. As everybody's walking past each other, they initially have normal clothes on. And in this commercial that gets transitioned to their t-shirts that has their diagnosis.

Janet: I have never seen it. That's fascinating.

Kevin: Oh, it is fascinating because it emphasizes the differences, not the fact that the Bible says situations are common.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: So in the commonness, what do we know? We know that in that commonness, it says, God is faithful. And what's he faithful to do? He's faithful to not allow us to be put under pressure that will force us to sin. Right? So the second half of the verse, God is faithful, who will not allow you, he's going to limit the pressure so that the pressure never forces us to sin. The pressure's there. And we have an opportunity to grow. We have an opportunity to be faithful and a lot of people. Again, maybe my own, just in my theology, but I think probably a lot of your listeners would say, yes, it says with the temptation will make a way of escape. And so what is the escape?

Janet: And we think it's the lack of pressure. It's relief from the pressure.

Kevin: Excellent. You're exactly right. Whereas the text says that you may be able to bear it or that you'll be faithful in it.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: I like to use the example with my, with the people I talked to in this text of Star Trek. Right now for those that are a little bit older, right? So this may

Janet: You're speaking my husband's love language. I'm with you.

Kevin: So right. USS enterprise captain Kirk, Spock would have been in that generation. McCoy was the medical officer. They would go on this away team. And as they're on this other planet, right before they were eaten or hurt or shot or whatever was going to happen to them, they would press the button their lapel where it would call back to the enterprise and Scotty was on the enterprise. And what would they say?

Janet: Beam me up Scotty.

Kevin: Yes. I think this is the beam me up Scotty verse for Christians. I think essentially when they get into trouble, when they get into circumstances, they're praying, beam me up. Get me out

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: from under it, rather than help me to be faithful in it.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: So the escape they're looking for is an escape from it rather than an escape from sin toward faithfulness.

Janet: Which just highlights is my goal to please God, because then I would want an escape from sin? Or is my goal I just don't want to be under pressure. And then this pressure is in some ways revealing my heart too.

Kevin: Right. Of course it does. And that's where our next text, not to move us along too fast.

Janet: Oh, do it. Do it.

Kevin: The next text, kind of helps us think through it because it's the same word. And that's in James chapter one. James 1:2-12. In verse two, he says my brothers count it all joy when you fall into these various trials. The word trial there is the same word we have in first Corinthians 10:13. So here he's identified they're in various trials. Now in this particular context, the trial would be…James of course, is Jesus’ half-brother and he's the first pastor in Jerusalem. All of these people were saved at Pentecost. They start undergoing intense pressure. Stephen's the first to die, but many of them begin to die. So they take off for their lives. So they're running across Asia minor. As they do they're poor. Because as Acts talks about they've sold everything. They've served each other. All with this intense desire, Jesus is coming back soon.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Right. So a great anticipation and desire that Jesus would come back. So they're quite excited, but now life is upside down. It's exactly not what they thought would happen. And so as they take off across Asia minor, many of them are really struggling. They're finding themselves sinning there angry. Right? They're under intense pressure. And so Jesus' half brother ,James, as their pastor, writes a pastoral letter and he says, Hey, listen, you need to, you need to respond to this in a different way than you are.

Janet: I have never thought about the context of that. And the fact that they would just think he was going to come back right away.

Kevin: Right.

Janet: And they are wanting to honor the Lord, but this is totally not what they expected and how disorienting that would be. I have not thought about that before.

Kevin: The total disappointment. And I think that's why in verse 13, James says, and so you're sinning, but it's not God who's making you sin.

Janet: Yeah, yeah.

Kevin: But you are disappointed. Those are legitimate disappointments. And he says, count it joy to be in these various pressures. So we say, well, why would we do that? Well, then he begins to describe, because this process is what's producing pieces that you have missing in your character. So he says, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have its perfect or completed work. And here's the reason that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing. So I like to tell counselees about buying a grill. This was way back in probably 19 in the 1990s. So first house Kelly and I ever owned. We had this house had a big deck on the back. And so Keaton who's now 21. He was just, hadn't been born long. He was in the car and we dropped Kelly off at a Walmart. And as we drove by toward the front door, we drove right past all of the, It was in the middle of winter. So we drove past all of the grills that were sitting out and they had that back then they would put a little Starburst on them, so you would know that it was on sale?

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: All of the grills had Starburst on each one and I could barely see it. It was just dark enough I could barely see it. And it looked to me like they all said $50. Well being the good husband that I am, I dropped her off and immediately sped around the parking lot, pulled up on the sidewalk since Keaton was in the back seat. I couldn't get him out. It was winter. So I parked right beside him. And as all good men, they saw one man stop. And so men just started coming from everywhere. And so I just saw the biggest grill there and pulled the tag and the person that was working, I just handed it to him and said, listen, my wife's inside. I have an infant in the car. This is the one I want. He says perfect. Right? Every man needs a big grill,

Janet: Absolutely.

Kevin: on his deck. And so we get this grill $50. We get it home. First, pretty day of the spring. We have to have steaks, right? It's time to get, I am a man. This is my own home. I grill. No matter what I do, I can't get it to come on. It just will not turn on. So what do I do? This was at the very beginning of the internet. In fact I had this idea in my mind because I didn't get any paperwork with it. I bought the grill that was sitting there. I thought my mind, well, wonder if they even have a website? Well, they did. Had an 800 number. I called the person. She asked this question, do you have a phone that'll go outside? Right. So I had a cordless phone.

Janet: Oh, that’s funny.

Kevin: We were Uptown.

Janet: Who won't even ask that now?

Kevin: Right. Of course you wouldn't. So I go outside and she says, describe the grill. So I start at the top and describe it all the way, everything I see. She says now open it up and describe everything you see. She says, perfect. We'll take care of you. We'll send you a box. Two days later, I get two boxes. The first one, pretty light. No problem. Second one. I wasn't expecting it, but when I went to pick it up, I could hardly pick up. There were all kinds of parts that this grill was missing.

Janet: No way.

Kevin: I had no idea.

Janet: Were you supposed to know that?

Kevin: I don't know. I'm not--Right. I give up my man card. I didn't know what was supposed to go inside a grill. I had no idea what was supposed to go inside a grill. There was a lot of stuff that was missing. And so I started, she had all the instructions. I put it all together. And the grill has worked. Kelly, in fact, just this year said, you've got to get rid of that grill. But I've always said, no, this is my, this is my grill.

Janet: I built this grill.

Kevin: Here's the point. I had no idea what was supposed to go inside of it. And for $50, I thought I had a great deal.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: But the creator of the grill, when I said, this is what I see, she sent the pieces that she knew was missing.

Janet: You didn't even know to ask for.

Kevin: Correct. In this text, God brings pressures. And as we go through those pressures, God is giving us pieces that we don't even know we're missing. And God graciously puts us in those trials to allow us to grow. And then he says in verse five, and if you lack wisdom, ask God. Because it's easy to lack wisdom.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: We're not sure how to handle the pressures. We're not even sure necessarily what pieces are missing.

Janet: Right

Kevin: And so we go through these pressures and the goal is to just respond in a God honoring way. Verse 12 eventually says, blessed is the person who endures temptation, right. Endures the trial. And so our goal is to go through these temptations in a way that honors him and grow in Christ as we do. And I often give my counselees, when I go through this text with them, I keep a pile of carpenter pencils in my desk. My granddad was a carpenter. And so as a little kid, I learned that a carpenter pencil is, a long flat pencil. And it's maybe, it's maybe a quarter of an inch thick. And it's wide and flat maybe Karis can put a picture of a carpenter's pencil in the show notes. Yes. So you can see a picture in the show notes, right? So it's this long slender pencil. It's got a real thick lead. You could never write with it.

Janet: Yeah. I've never seen one.

Kevin: And it's flat. Well, fascinating enough. I often show it to people and they said, yeah, I have no idea what you would do with that. Well, why is it made this way? They don't know. Well, it has the lead that it has, because it needs to be strong enough to write on wood, and not break.

Janet: Okay.

Kevin: And it's flat so that you can lay it on a roof. You can put it almost anywhere and it won't roll off.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: So it's made with a purpose. And so I give them one of those pencils to keep during the week. And to remember every time they see. Just like this carpenter's pencil is made with the purpose for an intended end, so is their circumstance. As they go through this circumstance, God has him under it. And the goal of being under it is to grow through it. But God is at work, in the middle of this circumstance. Even because of his Providence and his kindness, even when people sin against us, even in the worst circumstances, God is still using it. Like Romans 8:28, he's working his good ends, even in the middle of a tough circumstance.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: So that's a fun text. I love to help people go through it. Just one more example, I love helping people try to figure it out with examples. I think. Right. So I don't know much about baking, but I do know this, that if you have the cake batter, you do everything you have to do homemade or batter doesn't matter. And you put that in the pan. You put the pan in the heat.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Right temperature. Everything's good. But instead of 20 minutes, you take it out at 10 minutes, you're going to have a mess.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Right. It's not going to be what was intended from that heat and that particular time. Well, God allows us to go through heat, which is our circumstances, the trial.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: He says, let it have its completed work. Our tendency, and I'm going to connect this with the last text, our tendency is to want to get out of it. So that we want to pull ourselves out of the heat before the 20 minutes. So that we do get a product, but the product isn't, the product God intended

Janet: Right.

Kevin: when he brought those trials. And so the quicker we try to get out from underneath it, not that we can't pray that God would change it, but not that we can't say this is a true disappointment. Even when he says here have joy. He's not saying, just walk around with a smile pasted on your face.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: He's saying no, have joy, because if you will remain under this pressure until God gives you a legitimate out and allow God to use it, to grow you to be what he wants you to be, your joy can be that you become like Jesus.

Janet: Because there is a purpose behind it. And the purpose is a good purpose from a God who loves us.

Kevin: Right.

Janet: So I can stay.

Kevin: He's being faithful, even when he allows us to go through those circumstances.

Janet: I love that. And I think about how easy it is. And sometimes we can find ways that are not legitimate, as you said, ways to get out. And we may be able to do that. And then we really don't see any purpose in that trial because we never saw the result.

Kevin: Yes. And even in the text, he says it here and in chapter four, but in verse six, he says, let him ask a faith with no doubting for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. The idea is, especially when you add that to chapter four as well in the first ten verses. It's saying you can't have it both ways. You can't say have one foot with God and one foot in the world and say, I'm going to go through this trial, but just in case God, doesn't come through, I'm going to have my own agenda. I'm going to do my own thing. What you just said. There's other ways to get out. And if I take one of those other paths, then you're doubting.

Janet: Right. And then I shouldn't expect to see any of the results from the Lord.

Kevin: Correct. And then what happens? You're going to need another trial.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Cause you’re still not

Janet: and then maybe I trust God less. Cause I don't see any good results from the last trial, but that's because I took an illegitimate way out. Not because the trial was not going to do what God said.

Kevin: And then I misunderstand circumstances. I misunderstand God and we get to verse 14 and my desires have not changed. And if my desires have not changed that pressure is producing temptation, which is going to produce sin and destruction rather than being blessed as I go through it.

Janet: Wow. That is really helpful. Because these are passages that I know, but seeing them more fleshed out and thinking more about the context of them and the implications. I hope it's helping the other women, but if not, I'm liking it.

Kevin: Yes. It helps me as well. I love them. Well, how about we move to another passage. And although I love those. I could spend a long time in these, to be honest, I could talk for hours on these, but I think we need to go to Ephesians five. So in Ephesians five, total different context. We're not talking about pressures anymore. In Ephesians five, as you know, in Ephesians chapters, one, two, and three, it really, he works us through the gospel and the gospel that changes you. So, in the first chapter he introduces, he wants us to know something. And it's fascinating enough. I was going to go to chapter five, but let me just start us in chapter one. In chapter one of Ephesians, he says in verse 16, pardon me, verse 17. He says that the God of our Lord Jesus, the father of glory may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. So he's not praying that we would have revelation. He's praying that as we read revelation, and here it would be the book of Ephesians, that we capture the significance of it.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: And then the next verse, he says the eyes of your understanding having been enlightened. So as a Christian, you ought to be able to see the significance of it. And then he says there are three things he wants us to know: the hope of the call, the riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints, and the third one is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe. Now in chapters two and three, he works us through all three of those things. He talks about the call to salvation and sanctification. In the second part of chapter two, he talks, and that would be the call. He tells us really the context. The community is the body of Christ. You're no longer people who do not have a family and a group and a God and a hope, but now you're in the household of God. And that's because Christ has given you peace. Given you peace between neighbors, given you peace with God. That's the second element. In my mind, as he presents the gospel, that's the second element. So the gospel is a gospel call that calls you to salvation and sanctification. And it's a gospel community. You get to do that with the inheritance of the saints.

Janet: Yep.

Kevin: And then the gospel capacity is chapter three, where he talks about, he wants us to understand the power of the Holy Spirit that works in us to allow us to do what God's called us to do. That's first three chapters. You get to 4:1, then he says, so therefore, walk worthy.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: So walk here is now this is the way you're supposed to live. Worthy means equivalent. Right? So it would be like a scale. The known weight is the gospel- one, two, and three. The unknown weight is how you live. And what he's saying is that these two things need to equal each other. And he begins describing that. And he uses the word walk to divide the rest of the chapter. So walk worthy, which would be chapter four, walk consistent is the second part of chapter four, and chapter five, he says to walk in love to walk in light, and then you get to 5:15, and he says to be careful how you walk. In the New King James here, it says, walk circumspectly. It's just pay attention the way you walk every day. And as you walk, there are certain things you need to pay attention to. And this one is wisely. Right? He sets up these parallel panels, and he says, so be careful how you walk, not as a fool, which a fool says in his heart there is no God. If we, if we define fool with the Old Testament, but instead, as a wise person. Then he says, not as an unwise person, but instead understand the will of the Lord. Which we would know the will of the Lord we get from the scriptures. Not as someone who's drunk, but as someone who is filled with the Spirit. Now, when we look at those together, we would say the unwise person who is a fool, acts like the drunk person, which means they can't have a clear, conscious thought about something.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: They're fuzzy minded. Whereas the godly person is the wise person who understands the will of the Lord and is filled with the spirit. Now, Colossians and Ephesians are parallel books. If you look at this specific place in Colossians, he says in Colossians 3:16, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. So you say, what is they filled with the spirit person? It's someone who the word of Christ is dwelling in richly. Their mind is what-- they have a clear God consciousness, where the drunk person has fuzzy thinking. So the godly person that's being careful how he walks, and right as you know, a drunk person can't be careful how they walk.

Janet: That's right.

Kevin: Right? They have a field sobriety tests because you can't walk straight if you're drunk. Here, he's saying, so be careful how you walk, and you do that when you're filled with the Spirit. Now immediately after that in verses 19, 20 and 21, he says, these are the five things that will happen when you're filled with the Spirit. Again, this is one of those texts that sometimes can be confusing. It's kind of like the 2 Corinthians 5. Here, it says, speaking to one another in Psalms hymns and spiritual songs. That's the first thing is speaking. They all have ING's in most English translations. Singing is the second one.

Janet: Yep.

Kevin: Making melody in your heart to the Lord. That's the third one. The fourth one is giving thanks always for all things. The fifth one is submitting to one another in the fear of the Lord. So these five things, you say, well, what are those. It's not the recipe to be filled with the Spirit. I've heard it taught that way. I've read it that way. Do these five things and you'll be filled with the Spirit. The grammar actually is the opposite of that. Be filled with the spirit and these five things are the result. This is what will happen. If the word of Christ dwells in you richly, if you're filled with the Spirit, if you're walking carefully, it will impact your heart. It'll impact your attitude. It'll impact your gratitude. And you will submit to one another in the fear of the Lord. Well, how do you submit to one another? Now he gives specific examples of what that looks like. So I think there's two things to note. He's using, what's called a household code, which means simply that in that day they would write a list of rules for their house, and that was the law for their house. And so Rome gave everybody that option. So when you would write your rules, Law was that you had to follow those rules at that house. The man would write it. Often they were very man-centered. They were for his pleasure only, and everybody in the house had to

Janet: follow it

Kevin: basically follow that and serve him.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: So when Paul starts to write this, it would be like, if I just started saying here to you, to whom it may concern. In your mind, you immediately say, well, he is talking about a business letter.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Right? It's an immediate thought.

Janet: We're now starting a formal letter.

Kevin: Right. When he starts with wives, submit to your own husband or submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, every person who would have been listening to this letter being read, and then eventually would read it would immediately know he's doing a household code.

Janet: Okay.

Kevin: So how does this set of rules fit with submitting to one another? Well, it's the way that this looks in the typical life of the person who's being careful how they walk. Right? Cause that's our main verb. Be careful how you walk, be filled with the spirit. Someone who's filled with the spirit submits to one another out of the fear of the Lord. Just one other note, I said there were two notes. One you need to know it's a household code. The second thing you need to know that submission, the way I define it is you accept the role God's called you to. Right, so, when I submit to the role of a husband, I submit to whatever God has put in that role. That's what I do. And I love to use the military as a good example. If I'm a private, I submit myself to my spot in the military, which is a private.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: If I'm a different role, I submit to that. Now it doesn't speak to anything other than the role itself. Because I can be, if we think about enlisted people, the higher you go, the highest you can go as an enlisted person is an E9, depending on which other military they're all the same, but they have different labels. So whatever that label is, you're at the top of the enlisted people. It means you've been in the military a long time. You have a lot of experience, you understand a lot, but you're not an officer. So you can have a young officer. A Lieutenant or some of first or second rank officer who is still over someone who's an E9.

Janet: Yeah.

Kevin: But this officer doesn't know as much. He's not as experienced. He's not as wise. He may be quite unwise, but he still has a rank that he's called to. And the E9 has a rank that that man or woman is called to.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: So you submit yourself to the role you have. It doesn't speak to intelligence. It doesn't speak to experience. It doesn't speak to any of those issues that a lot of times

Janet: get mixed in.

Kevin: people try to cram into submission. So what Paul is saying, when you submit to one another, he's saying the way we submit to one another out of fear of the Lord or respect for the Lord. We submit by accepting the role God's called us to. Then he describes those roles. In 22 to 33 of chapter five, it would be the role of a husband and wife. In six, one to four. It's the role of the parent with the child. And in verses five through nine. It's the employer, employee or servant/master. Now this is just, we can't go through all those today, but what's fascinating is this; in each one of those he talks first to the one who must submit. Right? To the one that has the lesser role.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: So he says wife submit to your own husband. He starts describing that. The man who would have written that typically in the house is like, ah,

Janet: I like that.

Kevin: in Christ nothing changes. Everything's the same in Christ. Until you get to verse 25 and it says, so husbands, this is what you need to do. And he describes a life that no husband would live prior to Christ.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: Prior to the gospel. And so he's turned it upside down. Same thing with parent, children, obey.

Janet: Nothing new.

Kevin: Nothing new. But I don't know if you're like me. I always wondered why does it say, and you fathers do not provoke your children? Because household codes were primarily written by men. He's turning it upside down.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: It's written to the man and the wife.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: He's saying this is what's different. No fathers, you can't live as you normally live. Same thing with masters. Servants, this is what you should do. And then he says to the master, but master you don't understand, you have to do all of those things and your own master holds you accountable. This new master in Christ.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: And so it's a fascinating text, but we can't think of that application in the home with husband and wife, with parents, or even in the workplace, without understanding it all falls under walk carefully, as someone who's in the Spirit. And this is the way you should be able to live because the gospel gives you the ability to do it.

Janet: And that, again, applies to so many this

Kevin: Oh. Absolutely.

Janet: We're all there. We're all in different ways in several different roles.

Kevin: Right. We have many roles.

Janet: We need to submit to each role and what goes with it. Oh, I love that. Okay. I, I'm not going to ask all the questions I want to ask about that. So, because we're going to get to all five.

Kevin: Yes. So one last text. Second Peter chapter 1. And in second Peter one, it's again, a very familiar text around churches like ours, that love and appreciate biblical counseling. So in second Peter one, the verse that probably most people would be familiar with just in this first paragraph is as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.

Janet: Yes, in verse three.

Kevin: Yes. Many times when we read that, the emphasis, especially as it says, through the knowledge of him, who's called us by glory and virtue we've been given these exceeding great and precious promises. The emphasis is often, in our circles, that this is talking about primarily the Bible. Those are the promises through the knowledge. I'm going to suggest that when we do that, we miss the primary emphasis. The emphasis in this text is different. When he says, if we go to verse two, verse one, he says, this is written to people who are saved. Verse two. He says grace and peace be multiplied to you. Where? In the knowledge of God and Jesus, our Lord. The knowledge isn't the content. The word that's used here, even though the English has the word knowledge in verse two, verse three, verse eight, and then again, in verse five, I skipped that one, right? Knowledge is multiple places in this text. But they're not all the same Greek word. And so he says you have understood the Lord or, you know, the Lord in the knowledge of God, it's almost like in the old Testament, when you would use knowledge for a husband knows his wife.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: It's an intimate knowledge. So in verse three, when it says as his divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, where did we get all things that pertain to life and godliness? It's through our intimate relationship with Christ. And the moment we get saved, we're given the capacity, everything we need for life and godliness. In the moment we get saved, we get those things. So that this text is not as much about the sufficiency of scripture, although it's important, and we'll see that, but it's about the sufficiency of Christ. As a follower, everything you need for life and godliness, you get in Jesus. Then he says in verse five, so for this reason, what? Give all diligence. Because you have everything you need to live for Jesus. Now I'm going to use a theological word that some of your people may know or may not know some of your listeners in verses two through four, it's really about positional sanctification, a result of justification, whatever word would connect with them. When you get saved, this is in position, what you've received through your union with Christ.

Janet: It's a fact.

Kevin: It's a fact. That's a good way to say it. Thank you. And so, in fact, you have everything you need for life and godliness in Christ. Verse five. So for this reason, give all diligence to add to your faith, virtue, virtue, knowledge, different word. That is content knowledge.

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: That's knowledge I grow in. It has a wisdom component to it, but I learn the word. And as I learn the word, I can grow in the content, the wisdom knowledge of applying the word. So capacity is verses two, three, and four. You get to verse five. And so I have responsibility: grow in the word, which helps me then grow and grow in the wisdom components of it. Add to your faith, virtue, virtue, knowledge, knowledge self-control self-control, perseverance, perseverance, godliness, godliness, brotherly kindness, brotherly kindness, love. That's my role. Then he tells us why we're to grow in that way. Verse eight for if these things, what all of those virtues, if they're ours and they're abounding, he says you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge, this is back to intimate knowledge. So in the

Janet: Wow.

Kevin: What you get in Christ, that will produce exactly what God intends for it to produce. If I'm being diligent every day to add those virtues,

Janet: which makes me think of a passage you just talked about, this is my walk worthy.

Kevin: Right? Yes.

Janet: Because of, then I balance what's already a fact by living consistent with that.

Kevin: Yes. And every day seeking to add to it, to be diligent, to add. Well, he says, well, if you forget, verse nine, the gospel for he who lacks these things is shortsighted. Even to blindness. And the idea of they're short-sighted is, it'd be like a kid, if you're playing hide and go seek and they hide behind the curtain. Right? They miss that you can see their feet, and they miss you can see their outline. But because they can't see you, they think they're hidden, right? That is a chosen blindness. Or, I tease my wife. Sometimes we're going somewhere and she closes her eyes if she thinks I'm going to hit something or whatever. I'm thinking, that's the last time you want to close your eyes. You want to be aware of what's going on.

Janet: I do that all the time.

Kevin: This is voluntary blindness.

Janet: I don't want to know.

Kevin: Yes. That is this text. You're voluntarily being blinded to the capacity that God has given you. When you choose that you will not grow. You're going to be barren and unfruitful instead of productive in your relationship with Christ. So then he makes the statement, verse 10, therefore brethren, based on all of that, what? Be even more diligent. So the verb in verse five, when he says, for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: The verb is add. So we're supposed to add to faith, virtue, virtue, knowledge. When you get to verse 10, the verb is diligence. Give all the diligence you can to what? Make your call and election sure. Or to live as a follower of Christ. Now the promises here are just absolutely fascinating. He said, if you do that, there are two promises. The first one is, if you do these things, you will never stumble. Now the word stumble means you're not going to commit the kinds of sins that would make your election questionable. All right. So we're talking about the bigger ticket items sins, right? Not the everyday stuff, although certainly over time, it might make you say, oh, I'm not sure if I'm a center or I'm not sure I'm a saved person. But here it's, you're committing sins that are going to make somebody say, I'm not sure they're saved based on that.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: I take people here all the time and say, if you want to divorce-proof your marriage from your side, this text gives you what you need to know to do that. Every day, if you get up in the morning and you are giving all diligence, right? So it's not a small effort.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: It's a big effort. To add to your faith, virtue, virtue knowledge, knowledge, self-control, self-control, perseverance, perseverance, godliness, godliness, brotherly kindness, brotherly kindness, love. If that's what I do every day, at noon, I will not commit adultery with my secretary. That will never happen. Never one time. and actually, Pastor Bill Goode, which is from Faith.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: One of the things he's known for saying back years ago, is he said when they were talking about a pastor who fell, a pastor who committed a sin, that would be one of these sins

Janet: that would disqualify him.

Kevin: Correct. So it's one that would make you say, oh, I'm not sure if his calling and election are sure.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: He said, when that person fell, he did not fall far. That's absolutely right. Because you don't make that kind of effort at six in the morning and commit that kind of sin at noon.

Janet: Right.

Kevin: You quit giving all diligence a long time ago and that sin is just the next step. I think that is fascinating promise.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: And then he says, and this is even better, for, so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom. I think the second promise is that when you die, both doors will be opened to heaven. It's just a wonderful statement that as I get close to death and as I die, two things, I'm going to have the confidence in my salvation.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: The second thing, my family's not going to wonder. I wonder if he was saved or not.

Janet: Such a blessing for them.

Kevin: Yes. I think of our dear friend, Bob Smith. He's died here. This is my first year back when he's not here.

Janet: After. Yeah.

Kevin: When Bob Smith died, he did not. None of us that knew him wondered. I wonder if he went to heaven?

Janet: No, that,

Kevin: Never.

Janet: That would be a crazy thought.

Kevin: Instead, we said, oh, imagine what it was like when he saw Jesus and got to see Leona and got to be with his dad again. And we began to wonder, wonder what heaven was like for him.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Why? Because he lived this.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: He did it.

Janet: There was no question.

Kevin: Right. And that's exactly what he's saying here. It's the confidence, eternal security that we can have when we live this way. The reason you can have that kind of confidence is because this isn't normal.

Janet: Yes. This is supernatural.

Kevin: Right. And the diligence to add every day, only God gives us that desire, and God gives us that energy to do it.

Janet: But what I love is it's supernatural, but you're not saying so it should just happen to you. We have to be diligent.

Kevin: Right. It's a both-and.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: The capacity to do it, we get. In the moment you get saved, you do not need one extra thing for life and godliness.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: You have it. But all throughout life, we are to add to that.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: We are to be diligent in the process.

Janet: And the fact that you even want to add to it is evidence of the spirit.

Kevin: Right.

Janet: Yeah.

Kevin: So that's the fifth passage.

Janet: Okay. This is awesome. So what I want to do now is we could spend the next hour saying, so how do you apply all that? But you even gave us application as we went.

Kevin: I was hoping, yes.

Janet: So I love this. I know that we need to close this, but, I just want to, first of all, thank you because these are passages I know, and all five of them have come alive to me in ways that, to my shame, I did not know these things. And I'm thinking I'm already thinking I want to go back and reread that. I want to think about that more. And they're all hopeful. And I love that. So for our listeners, all of these, give me great hope, and I hope they do for them as well.

Kevin: Yes, wherever they're at, whatever they're facing, whatever their circumstances are today. And as you said in every one of those passages, there's an underlying theme of, you can do what God wants you to do because God gives you the capacity. So it's not pull up your bootstraps, just grit your teeth and try harder. It's walk with Jesus. Let his love, let the gospel impact your mind and heart and thinking, and as that happens, you're going to grow more confident in that God is working in you as Philippians two says, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Janet: Yes.

Kevin: Even Philippians one, I can be confident that the God who started this will complete it. And so that I think all those texts help us.

Janet: Excellent. And I think of anybody listening who may not even understand what we mean by the gospel. So we will have a link for that as well, because you have said over and over, it's not something we do ourself. It's something, it's a fact when we come to Christ and when we move from the kingdom of ourselves to the kingdom of God, by humbly acknowledging it's Christ alone, my only hope. So for anybody listening that finds this compelling, but really doesn't quite understand it all, reach out to us, send us an email, reach out to us. We will have links for some other resources as well, but it would be our joy to know that then you could know that factually for you. That you have all that you need now for life and godliness. So thank you, Kevin, for coming and taking the time. I know it's a busy week, but I'm very grateful that you came and for those of you listening, I hope you'll join us again as we continue on this journey together.

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Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.