What follows is a short summary of remaining three practices in the biblical counseling process. The first three practices (gathering pertinent information, sorting out problems and involvement) were summarized in an earlier post, which can be found here.
- The biblical definition of hope is “the expectation of something good.” The authors also add their own definition and define it as “conveying an assurance that God is working good in our lives for His glory and our growth in Christ.” What does this look like? Step 1: Cast a vision of what God can do through his Word and his Spirit in a person’s life; Step 2: Communicate the promises of God and his character during times of temptation; Step 3: Illustrate how victory is possible in the midst of human frailty and difficult circumstances; Step 4: Use biblical terminology to describe problems and Step 5: Start with the most accountable and/or responsible person before God.
Instruction – The Path Forward:
- “Biblical counselors are not afraid to be ‘directive.’ On the basis of God’s Word, we interact with people about their thinking, motives, and behaviors. This happens because the Bible instructs us about how to please God with regard to our perspectives, behaviors, and heart longings” (334). Looking at 2 Timothy 3:16 they specify this in several ways: teaching, which consists of having the proper desires, thoughts, and actions related to the issues of life and living (334); reproof, which consists of “becoming aware of the ways in which we are not pleasing to God and admitting it” (334-335); correction, which “refers to standing up against that which has been knocked down. The Bible is profitable for teaching us how to clean up the messes our sin creates” (335) and training in righteousness, which “addresses how to discipline thoughts, actions and motivations so the future of one’s life will be different from the past” (335).
- “Homework is simply the application of God’s truth to one’s life” (336). Furthermore, “good homework assignments are vital to the counseling process because they help counselees to grow and change in the ways they think and act. Simply talking about problems will not effectively help counselees. We have to help them do something about their problems. Good homework assignments help counselees to put truth into practice on a daily basis. In fact, counselees can walk out of the counseling session with a plan to put into practice the very things discussed in that counseling session!” (336).