Hope is the Difference

The more I think about what one aspect of biblical counseling sets this type of counseling off from the other types of counseling offered, I come down to one word: hope.

Biblical counselors point counselees to Christ, the only true Hope for salvation and sanctification (a.k.a. spiritual growth). Because of Christ, we can be forgiven of our past choices, redeemed from the circumstances of abuse enacted against us, and provided with the resources to be transformed into a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Who else or what other type of therapy offers such profound and powerful remedies to our struggles in life? The only answer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vision of Hope is aptly named because we offer Christ, the One True God and the God of Hope. Our hope is not in ourselves or any other person but in the Person of Christ. Such a simple truth yet often neglected when we are tempted to look for the next thing to soothe our “addictions” and abuses. We are tempted to look for the latest, greatest therapeutic technique and theory to provide relief, comfort, and help when the source of those desires is in Christ.

Matthew 6:33 reminds us of a simple truth of how to find real hope: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV) In other words, when you seek after Christ to further His kingdom through obedience in righteous living for His glory alone, the by-products of living such a life will be realized in hope manifested by the fruit of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. God does not promise relief or comfort in all circumstances and those circumstances may not change (though they might by God’s grace!); instead, He promises to see you through those circumstances with joy, peace, and patience that come from Him not from mankind. That is true hope!

-Pastor Mark Shaw (living in the hope of Christ)

Mark Shaw
Mark Shaw has 22 years of counseling experience working in a variety of settings including faith-based residential programs, dealing with issues surrounding “addictions” of all types, and supervising staff positions. His experience in the biblical counseling field began in 2001. He has written 14 published works including The Heart of Addiction; Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies; Divine Intervention: Hope and Help for Families of Addicts; Addiction-Proof Parenting; and Hope and Help for Self-Injurers/Cutters. He also co-authored a chapter in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling (2013).