Summary: Assessing The Levels of Faith Development in Counselees
Assessing The Levels of Faith Development in Counselees
1). Sensory Faith - When someone becomes a Christian they depend on the teachings of their immediate mentor, friend, or Pastor. Relying on what their senses tell them to be true, the young believer is dependent on those who are closest to him. Many people fashion their Christian characters after their parents because they never rise above this sensory dependence level of faith. They are limited by what they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Their capacities to discern between truth and error is limited by the wisdom of their own sensory inputs. Paul recognized that the Thessalonicans believers were still at this first stage of faith development so he communicated to them accordingly writing, "As a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, I was well pleased to impart to you not the gospel only, but also my own life because you were very dear to me!" (I Thes. 2:7,8) It takes a mature Christian to realize that one cannot depend on feelings, circumstantial proofs of God’s miracles, or what one can visibly see.
2). Communicative Faith - When a believer starts to acquire the ability to articulate his faith to others, it is an indication that he is growing in the faith to a higher level. Just as a maturing child increases in his skill to express himself, so a Christian learns how to accurately send messages that influence people. A child who is unable or unwilling to express his needs to others soon misses out on many opportunities. The more a believe is able to communicate through scriptural words, ideas, and principles, the greater his faith becomes. Better communication also results in a higher level of assurance about what is true, good, and blessed. A person who fails to articulate his faith confidently, accurately, or consistently soon begins to doubt the validity of his relationship with God. A loss of respect for oneself and those around him is a sure indication that a believer is not faithfully communicating his faith into his life, conversation, or relationships.
3). Concrete and Experiential Faith - When a believer is able to learn from the experiences and concrete illustrations of life, he is able to expand his ministries across cultural, social, and educational borders. A believer who consistently performs at this level is willing to learn from trials and errors. Seeing relationships between certain causes and effects, this believer is able to learn from the illustrations of those around him. However, many believers never rise above this level of faith since they have a hard time living simply by faith and not by sight. People who fail to see the connection between obedience and blessings are still operating at level two. Many adult believers are forced to re-learn many painful lessons because they are not able to learn from the mistakes of many people in the Old and New Testaments.
4). Reflective-Principled-Concept Level of Faith - When a believer is able to think, act, and believe on a level of the principles of scripture they are said to operating on the highest level of faith. Abraham staggered not at the promises of God through unbelief but grew strong in faith being fully persuaded that what God had promised him, He was able to perform. (Rom. 4:20,21) By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." (Heb. 11:8) Abraham is called the father of faith because he exhibited the highest level of active faith consistently. Paul wrote in Romans 1:17, "The righteous man shall live by faith!" When people are able to take God at his word, without relying on their senses, their personal communications, or others experiences, they are operating at a principled level of faith. Few believers consistently live at this highest level of faith because of their fears, doubts, and desires to walk in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. Yet, everyone must remember the words of Jesus when he told the sick woman, "Be it done to you according to your faith!" Today, Jesus is giving everyone a blank check with His name signed on the bottom as He beseeching all of us to put in the amount that we can trust Him for. If our faith is great we will be able to trust him for great things, but if our faith is small we will only trust him for little things.