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Spiritual guidance in a confusing world


Spiritual guidance in a confusing world

Four counseling books

You’re Not Enough (And That’s Okay) by Allie Beth Stuckey: Sometimes worldly lies can sneak into churches and books labeled Christian. Stuckey takes on five common lies women hear, including “You are enough,” “You determine your truth,” and “You’re perfect the way you are.” Stuckey explains where to look for these lies and the Biblical truth that corrects them. But she also explains the grain of truth in each lie—why they sometimes seem to resonate but leave women feeling empty. Her willingness to address the heart and keep God central makes her corrections very useful. At certain points, the author goes on tangents not directly related to the chapter topic, but the content is all good. 

Untangling Emotions by J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith: Some people steamroll their emotions with truth, while others let their emotions run wild. Groves and Smith write that both approaches miss the point. God made emotions intricately connected to body and soul, and people should engage their emotions as a way to grow. This means identifying the emotion, examining its cause and whether it is a valid response, and then acting accordingly. The authors give excellent illustrations from their counseling experiences, and the clear writing and practical points make this book a pleasure to read. They speak about emotions precisely. For example, our culture values feeling good, but sometimes feeling grieved or angry is a godly response and will come more deeply with spiritual maturity.

Safe and Sound: Standing Firm in Spiritual Battles by David Powlison: With characteristically clear and gracious writing, Biblical counselor David Powlison delivers his final book, published posthumously. He explains what spiritual warfare looks like in the Bible, contrasting that with much of what we give that label today. One of his main points: Jesus cast out demons in the Bible as a subset of healing, but the Apostles modeled and taught that people should repent of sin and trust Christ, no matter what sins are in their past. Counselors will find Powlison’s section on spiritual warfare in counseling particularly helpful, but this book can also serve as a God-focused primer on how Christians should fight their spiritual enemies. 

God, You, and Sex: A Profound Mystery by David White: Sex pervades the culture but is rarely understood rightly, even in the church. Pastor David White starts with the basics of God’s design, then applies it to numerous areas of life, including marriage, singleness, and sexual sins. Throughout the book, he continually returns to the picture of Christ and the Church: Sex is a sweet gift, but ultimately it pictures the even better reality of God’s intimate and loving relationship with His people. White addresses topics like pornography and what should and shouldn’t be allowed within marriage. He also devotes a chapter to how parents can shepherd their children in a sex-saturated world. This book could be an excellent discipleship tool or resource for a Christian trying to understand what God says about sex.