Summary: Counseling According To the Developmental Levels of Youth

Counseling According To the Developmental Levels of Youth

a. Basic Trust Versus Suspicion - When someone trusts God he develops an inner security regardless of one’s circumstantial difficulties. Just as a child learns how to trust his mother for protection, feeding, and instruction, so does an abiding Christian learn to rest in God’s reliability. However, when one’s trust in God is inadequate there will be a consequential attitude of suspicion, cynicism, and fear manifested. Failure to trust God leads to an underlying insecurity about one’s needs that leads to all kinds of erratic behavior.

b. Confidence versus Fear - When one develops a firm reliance and certainty in God it is expressed through a boldness with the truth. An attitude of certainty, strength, and assertiveness is found with those who have learned to habitually put their firm trust in God regardless of the adversities. The alternative to confidence is fear. A harboring expectation of pain, persecution, or suffering accompanies the one who fail to look to God as their shepherd. Perceiving people, circumstances, or crisis as threatening, the fearful person needs to begin to adjust their viewpoints of God, their surroundings, as well as themselves. One is who controlled by fear is under the illusory intimidation of pain, punishment, or deprivation. Only when one fully realizes the perfect love of God in a personal way can fear be exchanged for confidence.

c. Innovation versus Inhibition - When a believer appreciates his value before God he is free to initiate ideas, work, and evangelism. He is not stifled by others’ criticisms. However, when one lacks a mature faith he tends to shy away from telling others about the power, healing, and blessings found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul gave us a great example of the contrasting emotions of innovation versus inhibition in Romans 1:16 where he wrote, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (As many of the Romans were by implication) for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes!" We all have to make choices everyday between innovating change or giving in to the attitudes of suspicion, fear, and inhibition.

d. Productivity versus Inferiority - The deeper one’s faith the greater capacity one has to generate spiritual fruitfulness. The fruit is seen in one’s love, kindness, faithfulness, good works, self-control, holiness, or even converts from evangelism. However, when one fails to produce lasting fruit a feeling of inadequacy, insecurity, shame, or inferiority plagues a person. Often times people try to compensate for these inadequate feelings by inventing superficial fruits that are from the flesh rather than from the Spirit of God. You can decide whether you are going to overcome any feelings of inferiority by producing fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. The people with the highest sense of their self-esteem are the people who are most productive.

e. Integration versus Confusion - When a believer grows he is able to integrate his beliefs into all aspects of life. A wise believer combine the parts of his faith in ways that bring solutions to the most complex of problems. Being able to bring to bear many aspects of knowledge, faith, skills, and Spiritual power, a mature believer is able to make a lot from small resources. Anchoring his beliefs in the scripture, an integrative believer is able to build on to the foundations of truth from education, culture, as well as from experience. One’s failure to integrate leads to confusion and frustration by every new winds of doctrine or philosophy. As a result many are led astray by naturalistic, humanistic, or pragmatistic philosophies that outwardly appear to work, but are not grounded in the scriptures. Wise Christians are able to integrate both the art and the scientific aspects of truth in ways that make them able to relate effectively in many cultures. The inability to integrate leads one to a state of confused disequilibrium.

f. Friendly Intimacy versus Cool Estrangement - When a believer gains an intimate relationship with the Lord’s attributes, he gains many blessings. One who knows God intimately is able to walk, talk, and hear God’s Spirit speak through the worse kinds of crisis. Those who are able to sense His nearness can rejoice even when they encounter problems since even conflicts turn out to be blessings for those in close communion with the Lord. However, many believers rarely reach this plateau of spiritual development. Preferring to navigate according to their own insights, many Christians remain coolly distant from their Lord. As a result, many Christians who grow older become more cynical, plastic, and indifferent about the things that really matter. Eventually, it becomes apparent who is so isolated in their own thought patterns that they are not even able to recognize the plain will of God. Decisions for the estranged are often done on a trial and error basis. Without an intimacy with God, everyone is headed for isolation, frustration, and despair.

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