We continue our brief series covering the ten basic categories of theology and relating them to our walk with the Lord and to our personal, one-another ministry that we call ‘counseling.’ Today, let’s think about the Holy Spirit’s role in life transformation.
The Holy Spirit is the “Agent of Change” in counseling. The early Christians freely dispensed the hope found in the gospel and were confident of the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit; they truly believed in heart and practice that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation and sanctification (Romans 1:16; Galatians 5:22-26). By virtue of the believer’s union with Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his physical body and accomplishes transformation of character by teaching the Truth of the Word (John 16:12-15), empowering him to change through diligent application of biblical truth to life (2 Peter 1:5-8), and renewing the mind of the believer as he meditates on the written Word (Ephesians 4:23; Romans 12:2).
The Holy Spirit not only teaches and empowers the believer, but He also leads, intercedes, fills (controls by yielding to the Word) and produces spiritual fruit in the life of the obedient disciple (Romans 8:14, 26; 1 John 2:20, 27; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:18). Therefore, effective biblical counseling is impossible without the active presence of the Holy Spirit. John MacArthur sums it up well in the volume, Introduction to Biblical Counseling,
Only the Holy Spirit can work fundamental changes in the human heart. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the necessary agent in all effective biblical counseling. The counselor, armed with biblical truth, can offer objective guidance and steps for change. But unless the Holy Spirit is working in the heart of the counselee, any apparent change will be illusory, superficial, or temporary—and the same problems or worse ones will soon reappear.
Let us be reminded that any lasting change in our lives—and the lives of those whom we counsel—is accomplished by the power of the Spirit of God, as Christ is beheld and obeyed, not the cleverness of our approach. “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” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
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