Home » Bible in counseling » Following the Holy Spirit’s Lead in Biblical Counseling: A Triperspectival Approach, Part 2

 
 

Following the Holy Spirit’s Lead in Biblical Counseling: A Triperspectival Approach, Part 2

 
 

[Our blogger for May is Mike Wilkerson. Mike is a pastor and director of Biblical Counseling at Mars Hill Church. He leads the Redemption Groups ministry, wrote Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry, and co-authored a chapter on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in counseling in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling. (The chapter is available as  free download.)]

In the previous post in this series, I suggested that we could understand what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit in biblical counseling by looking at the issue from three perspectives: the normative, the situational and the existential. In this post, we’ll look especially from the normative perspective. In other words, we’ll ask: What has God revealed about the kind of work the Spirit does, and how might that shed light on what the Spirit may be up to in a given counseling moment?

Lest we speculate about what the Spirit is up to, or merely assert that he’s up to whatever we may be most excited about at the moment, the normative perspective clues us in to what the Bible says the Spirit likes to do.

For example, he convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). He intercedes for us in our weakness (Rom. 8:26). He strengthens us to know the love of Christ (Eph. 3:16–19), and he pours God’s love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). He transforms us as we look to Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). He teaches truth, gives wisdom and reveals Jesus to us (John 14:17, Eph. 1:17). Usually, he works through the Word, since all Scripture ultimately points to Jesus (Luke 24:27; Heb. 4:12).

The Holy Spirit’s ministry has been helpfully summarized by J.I. Packer as a “floodlight ministry”: “the Spirit throws light onto Jesus, making Jesus more visible to us.”1

Similarly, Gordon Fee says:

“In terms of his relationship to us, the Spirit is first of all the revealer [1 Cor. 2:10–11], the one who, to use John’s language, “takes the things of Christ and makes them known to us.” He is therefore the instructor in the ways of God and Christ [1 Cor. 2:2–13].”2

These are some of the things we know the Spirit loves to do. We know because the Bible tells us so. So at any given moment, it’s a safe bet that he’s probably doing something along these lines. Remembering this will help us to get in line with what the Spirit wants to do in a given moment.

If this is the case, then counselors who want to know how to follow the Spirit’s lead should be continually growing in a knowledge of Bible and Theology. Why again? Because much of the time what the Spirit wants to do is to illuminate the Word for counselees, “enlightening the eyes of their hearts” (Eph. 1:18). This will require not just a knowing of the Word in a cognitive sense, but also in a way that is deeply connected and relevant to one’s life situation (we’ll see that more clearly from the situational perspective), and in a way that resonates personally and experientially (which we’ll see more clearly from the existential perspective).

1 J.I. Packer, Keep in Step With the Spirit, (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1984), 65–66, quoted in Graham A. Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Wheaton,IL: Crossway, 2008), Kindle Edition, Kindle Locations 2544-2545.

2 Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 911, quoted in Graham A. Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Wheaton,IL: Crossway, 2008), Kindle Edition, Kindle Locations 3654-3656.

 

 

No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment