Why do Christians need counseling if we have the Holy Spirit? Dr. Nate Brooks explains how God can use counseling to continue our growth and sanctification.

Counseling is a Means of Transformation

Even though we have the Holy Spirit, who is dwelling in us as our counselor, we understand that sometimes Christians need counseling. Why is this the case? This drives us to understand how God works in our lives in his sovereignty. God has designed the universe so that he uses means to effect transformation in us. When the Holy Spirit is indwelling us, we are regenerate. We have new hearts that are alive and growing in godliness, but many of the ways that God uses to accomplish the purposes of our sanctification and growth are through means that he’s created.

God has designed the universe so that he uses means to effect transformation in us.We see this across all sections of the Christian life. When you think of preaching: preaching is a means that God has created for you and I to experience the text and be taught the text so that it transforms us. We think of something like prayer, our conversation to God. That is a means that God uses to draw our affections after him and to accomplish his purposes. Counseling, likewise, is one of those means that God has created for human beings to grow into his moral image.

The Role of the Counselors and the Holy Spirit

Counseling is not a category that is reserved for “problem people.” Rather, all of us lack wisdom in certain categories of our lives and oftentimes need individuals who are outside of us to help us grow and understand what’s going on inside of us. One of the examples that I use with my counselees a lot of times is I myself am not an expert in all of their life situations and all of their troubles; rather, I’m a guide. I’m able to stand above the maze and have some eyes into the maze and be able to tell them, “OK, after you described what you’re seeing, I think you want to turn right, turn left, turn right, and then you’re back in familiar territory.”

Counseling is not a category that is reserved for “problem people.”Oftentimes, the Lord uses the kindness of his people surrounding us to help point us in ways that we can’t see because we’re too close in the middle of it. That doesn’t stand against the idea that the Holy Spirit ministers to us directly, but rather it’s the use of the means that God has appointed of Christian fellowship, of wise counsel for us to be transformed into the image of Christ.