How to counsel someone who is struggling to live out their faith?

(Nthabiseng Machedi ) #1

Hi everyone, what do you say to someone contemplating abandoning the Christian faith because they cannot reconcile their current life with the Faith they have in Abba? When the word the pray and believe and have been confessing is not manifesting in their lives?

(SeanO) #2

@Ntha For me personally, I would want to know in what specific ways they were struggling to live out their faith. Living the Christian life is not just about believing God’s Word - it also requires us to understand ourselves - our mind and our body. Some sins are addictions and overcoming them can even require counseling and time - months or years in some cases. The road to recovery for some people is longer because of how deeply their body / mind have been impacted by their former life.

I might start with 3 questions:

  1. What are you expecting to happen? I would ask this to understand their expectations. Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations - they think that getting saved means they will wake up and all temptation will be gone or they will instantly be transformed. But Biblical growth in Christ is a process that takes time and obedience in the face of temptation, though God always promises a way for us to stand up under temptation (I Cor 10:13).

  2. “What is stopping you from living out your faith?” Is it a lack of self-control? Are they giving into peer pressure? Are they not willing to be ridiculed for Jesus? Is it an addiction?

  3. What is the Gospel to you? I might want to read through a book like the one by Matt Chandler called ‘Explicit Gospel’ and just make sure they are deeply rooted in the reality of the Gospel so that they are not trying to live out the Christian life from their own strength.

From there it would really depend on how they answered the questions. If their issue was severe, I might suggest a counselor. Is that helpful? Are you free to share any more details about what might be causing them to doubt that their faith is impacting their life? The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you counsel this brother or sister.

(Matt Western) #3

I would ask the person considering abandoning the Christian faith - what alternative are they going to go towards. The 4 questions Ravi poses that a worldview needs to answer is
How do you think the universe came into existence?
How do you think human life began?

What is the purpose of human life?

How do you determine good and bad?

What will happen at the end (at death)?

Yes sometimes the teaching of Jesus is hard, and really stops you in your tracks. In John 6:60-71 Jesus was teaching some of his disciples (presumably the enquiring ones who were just learning and listening), and in verse 66 many turned away and followed him no more. This followed Jesus’ teaching of Him being the Bread of Life in the previous verses.

Jesus then asked his inner circle of 12 disciples, will you also go away. Peter’s response I love:

"Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

If a person rejects Jesus as Messiah, Emmanuel: God With Us, where else is there?

(Mike Sweeney) #4

The will of God is that we are with Him for eternity in heaven. This current life ends soon in death and in sin for all except for those who trust in Jesus. The price of abandoning Jesus and choosing this world is the worst thing I can imagine. The eternal inability to be close to His unconditional love. The choice is everyone’s freewill. I would want to make sure that anyone contemplating a turn away from Jesus clearly understands the eternal nature of that choice and what they are rejecting, His unconditional love.

(Nthabiseng Machedi ) #5

Thank you all for the response. I got much from what you all had to say.