What part does faith play in successful counseling?

Faith is absolutely essential. I have commented elsewhere on the impossibility of counseling unbelievers. Here, I should like to point out that among believers, who have the basic resources for successful counseling (the Holy Spirit, the Word, and a regenerate nature), faith is also a necessary component. Faith that God's promises are reliable and are valid for us, is absolutely necessary. If a Christian doubts this, then it is clear that he should expect no help.

A person who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. That person shouldn't suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, because a double-minded person is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:6-8).

Faith is so essential that without faith it is "impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).

Now, the important fact to comprehend is that Nouthetic counseling, unlike many other forms of counseling, at its foundation, isn't a technique or system. In the final analysis, it is a matter of calling upon a Person for help. There is nothing mechanical about it. When one is in the proper relationship with God, he may expect Him to bless and answer his prayers. When he is not, he must first become properly related through repentance and faith if he would have God do so.

God is the believer's heavenly Father. When he believes and obeys Him, he may expect God to answer his prayers according to what is best for him (not always what the believer thinks is best). That is the confidence that we have; but "let him ask in faith, without doubting." The reason why many believers fail to receive the help that they desire is two-fold: 1) they fail to ask ("You don't have because you don't ask." James 4:2) and 2) they ask "wrongly-to waste it on [their] pleasures" (James 4:3). These failures both demonstrate a lack of biblical faith! So, let a counselor and his counselee both come to counseling full of faith. Faith leads to hope, hope leads to endurance, and endurance leads to the changes that God desires.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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