Christians and Psychology
When I speak in this article about psychology, I am referring to that humanistic system in which people seek to solve their inner problems through the aid of psychologic counselling and advice from those who use modern practices of self-examination and methods of understanding what is causing inner problems, such as outside influences, environment, stresses upon the individual, etc. For the most part, when I speak of people seeking psychologic counsel, I am referring to people who go for counselling to those who have been trained in secular institutions to deal with the problems of the mind and psyche by worldly, non-Biblical methods. I am not speaking of Biblical based counselling, which some may refer to as "Christian Psychology," so long as that counselling is truly based in the truths of the Bible and of a personal turning to Christ for answers to all inner problems.
When I speak in this article concerning Christians, and Christianity in general, I am speaking of what I conceive as true, Bible-based Christianity, not the false kind. True, Biblical Christianity is centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- His death, burial and resurrection on our behalf, and the effect that repentance, salvation and the Grace of God by faith, has upon the heart (including the mind) of a believer.
When one truly comes to understand what Biblical Christianity is, and what it means to be saved, what it does to the human heart at conversion, and what it promises to do through the process of sanctification, one must begin to wonder why a Christian, saved by the Grace of God, and growing in the Grace of God, would need to turn to a secular, humanistic system to address any of his inner needs. A Christian's response to God is faith. That faith is not merely addressed to God as an entrance into heaven eventually that Christians go to once they depart this life and leave this body; no, that faith is addressed toward a God Who tells us in His Word that He wants to be Lord to us in the here and now, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to govern over our entire person in thought, word and deed. God's Word teaches that He seeks to transform the soul of man, and that man's soul is where the mind of man is located. If the mind is sick when one comes to God, the Great Physician says He will heal that soul! And He does just that. Read the testimonies of countless people who have turned their minds and hearts over to the Great Physician, and you will find that He has done just that and is continuing to work in them to develop and mature them by Grace through faith.
Jesus Christ made the profound statement, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me." The goal of every Christian should be to embrace that great truth and allow Jesus Christ to take them to the Throne of the Heavenly Father. There in His Holy presence we will find everything that we need for the inner heart and for the mind -- all the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, and all the other nine fruit named in Gatations ________. If we have all these fruit in the abundance that God promises, we have everything; we have a heart that is uncontaminated by the world and we come to possess a sound mind in Christ. Most Christians still have to overcome worldly attitudes in order for this fruit to be fully manifest. But with God all things are possible.
We are to have the mind of Christ, not the mind of the world which is what secular psychology leads to. If we make Christ Lord, as we are to do, in every aspect of our lives, we will become like Him. "What would Jesus do?" we often think. Well, I ask you. Would Jesus consult a humanistic psychologist? Would He seek the counsel of the world, which counsels," Someone in your past caused you problems, made a mess out of you." No. Jesus spent His time communing with the Heavenly Father and obtaining His instructions from Him. Jesus is Lord. If a Christian makes a weekly visit to a man who gives him worldly advice, thereby making that man his Lord, Jesus at the same time cannot be Lord.
The Christian walk, looking only to God and His Word for counsel, will address every difficulty that arises in the Christian's path. It deals with all the problems of the soul. The Word tells us that man's basic problem is sin; that we are all sinners, every one of us. God cannot deal with us while we are under the dominion of sin; and so He first deals with the sin problem. Jesus Christ died once to pay the debt of sin for the whole world. Faith in that Perfect Sacrifice, repentance, and then the receiving of that paid debt into our hearts by faith, sets us free from sin to serve the Living God. We die with Jesus at the Cross; we are raised to newness of life in Him to live unto God. (Romans 6: __)
Today Christians are going to secular psychologists for advice by the droves. Yet psychologists do not recognize that a Christian is a "new creation." The psychologist views the patient as the total sum of all his entire life from birth to the present. If the Christian would tell the psychologist, "On a certain date ten years ago, I became a new creation in Christ Jesus: old things are washed away, all things are become new," the psychologist would probably smile condescendingly and then continue telling him that "Things that happened to you in your childhood are deeply embedded in your sub-conscious; and we must get them out!"
If a Christian would tell his psychologist, "God's Word says that I must completely forgive everyone that I perceive has ever done me a wrong," the psychologist might agree on the surface. He sees forgiving as healthy; but he does not view it in the same manner as God's Word views it. He views it as a healthy ointment to the mind to let go of things that cause bitterness; but in his view God has nothing to do with it. And even though he may view the purging of the mind of negative things such as unforgiveness, as good, his perspective is completely different. To the psychologist, we do not do this to please God, because to him God may not even exist. We should turn from negativity to positivity for a different reason entirely -- for the benefit of "self!" What the psychologist may say on this matter may sound good; but the truth is, even though forgiveness is good for the soul, we have no real power to forgive unless that power comes from God Himself. We may seek to change ourselves, and indeed may cover over the hidden sin of the heart by convincing ourselves that we have forgiven, but unless the Power of God comes into us to forgive, we are just living and walking in hypocrisy. We are great actors (the word "hypocristy" means "acting a part"), but there is no substance without the power of God. "A form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." This is the same basic problem with false religion, and we will address that at another time in other writings.
God's Word teaches that "self" -- some call it ego, or pride -- is our main problem. Self is the very seat of sin. The concept within man of his own person being the most important thing to him leads to all kind of inner sins that produce external results in the way we disobey God and mistreat others. God's remedy for man's self-centeredness is to take self off the throne and put Christ there. This is what takes place at conversion, pictured in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Read Romans Chapter 6. The believer is to identify with the work of Christ and be converted. In Christ's death, we die to self and to sin, and to laws that do nothing but point out what sin is in us; in His resurrection we arise to newness of life in which Christ is Lord of our life by the Power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit now lives in us and He will lead us into all truth. He replaces selfishness in the old man with Love which is the New Man in Christ. Our entire attitude toward God and our fellow man are to be seen through the Love of God.
Many people go to see psychologists because they want re-inforcement that they are right in their attitudes and that the problems, that agonize them inwardly, lie outside themselves. They are seeking an understanding of what life is all about, and why their lives are a mess. Usually their relationships with those close to them are rocky; they are experiencing many problems outwardly and inwardly that they cannot control. Many are filled with guilt, something Christians should not walk in. When Christians pray daily, they are to take all their cares, problems, guilt, stresses -- everything -- to the Throne of Grace for help in time of need, and then leave them there in the hands of the All-Powerful God. Blessed Assurance in the Sovereignty of God and His promise to work out all things to our good, should be of great benefit for the Christian. Sometimes the problems are very serious ones; and we do not play down the gravity of what some dear souls have to go through. But true faith lays hold on the idea that God is in complete control, and what may appear hopeless today is surely going to work out to the good of all concerned in due time! Therefore, in the midst of tribulation, the Christian can inwardly be at peace.
As peace fills the heart, we begin to see that things around us get better also. Why? Because as we become more ordered inwardly, our outward actions lead to more and more order in our lives. We begin to see external things from a different perspective entirely. We learn that we cannot "fix" everything, but that we can have peace in the midst of everything. And the cares of this world begin to fade away.
Christians are people who should have come to realize that Eternity and the temporal are two different things entirely, and that it is what is eternal that lasts forever. The temporal is passing away, and the world is dying around us. This dying world, in fact, has already been crucified, or put to death by the Death of Christ on the Cross. This is not taught often from pulpits, but if we place our hopes and dreams in anything that is part of this dying world, we are doomed to die with it. "Love not the world, or the things that are in the world; for love of the world is enmity to the Father." We are to put our faith in an Eternal God Who is all goodness, light and Love. And even though we must wait for all things around us to be made right, nevertheless, inwardly, we should walk in the assurance of God and His Eternal Promises, not in the corrupt and erroneous view of this world and those who are still bound to it.
Psychologists are apt to re-inforce in people the idea that other people around them, or people in their past, are causing them problems. But God's Word tells us that Love cures most problems. If you have the Love of God in your heart for all people, you will not mistreat others, and will seek to bring others to the same God Who, in your own heart, gives you the peace that passes all understanding. And if others mistreat you, as God teaches you to love them in spite of this fact, you will be lifted to a higher level than re-acting vainly to situations over which you have no power, but that only God can deal with and ultimately make right.
People go to psychologists to deal with inner problems such as anxiety and panic attacks, and with depression. Yes, there may be times when depression is caused by a physical problem; but usually depression is caused by a faulty mindset and a heart that has not had the sin issue dealt with. Christians who are new creations in Christ Jesus, whose very life is Christ, have no room to be depressed. Turn to Him and seek His cure for depression and anxiety. Begin to "live unto God" and you will see these things fade away. It may not happen all at once, but it will happen as the mind is renewed on Truth.
Panic attacks and anxiety have their root in fear and uncertainty. I once suffered from panic attacks, and I know that with them one fears that he or she is going to pass out or die. There is an intense feeling inside of being out of control, lost and helpless. I do not want to address this very serious problem lightly, as though it is not a real problem to many. It is very real. But the remedy is not to try to battle it with drugs or secular helps, but to seek God with all the heart for healing. At such times, try turning to God in praise and prayer. Believe in your heart and hold on to the faith that you belong to Him, and there is nothing that can happen to you that He does not allow. And if He allows it, it must be good. Start singing the hymn or spiritual song that glorifies Christ the most in your heart and causes it to soar to Him. Think on Christ, and inwardly pray to Him and thank Him for all your blessings. As you begin to name all the blessings in your life, you will be amazed how many more blessings there are than reasons to gripe or complain. And as you meditate on Christ, horrible things in your mind must vanish! Fear must cease! "Perfect love casteth out all fear." That is a promise. It is not a magic formula that, if you recite, all fear will cease. It is to be believed in the heart and cherished in the mind as a Promise of God! Replace bad thoughts with thoughts of Perfect Love and that negative thought, anxious thought or panic attack will flee. Over time, as you live unto Christ and seek Him, you will grow less and less prone to such things, which are truly from the evil one attempting to destory you. Jesus said, "The thief comes but to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10: ___)
Try memorizing several passages of uplifting Scripture passages like that one and when bad times come, and negative thoughts attempt to beset you, such as anger at others, unforgiveness, restlessless of the mind, a nervous attack, etc., recite a passage or two, not as a magic formula to pull God's strings, but as a promise by which to renew your own mind.
People also go to psychologists to help them deal with addictions such as smoking or over-eating. Why not pray? Why not put your total and complete faith in the One Who can deliver you from harmful things? For that matter, when you know there is something in you that needs to come out, an addiction or even a giving over to negative thoughts, replace it with praising God. He will strengthen you when temptations of any kind come.
God's Word tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds on truth. Yet Christians will not do this. Some Christians never pick up their Bibles, and when they do many have been taught today that somehow by reciting passages of God's Word, there is some kind of magic that will occur that will bring what it says to pass. This is not the right way in which to use God's Word. His Word is for the very purpose as He states in it -- it will renew the mind! Reciting God's Word to Him without allowing it to take root in us and renew our own minds -- is a futile effort. God looks on the heart, and it is the heart that He seeks to transform. Therefore, when we read and study the Word of God it is to have an effect in our hearts. Over time it will renew our minds completely, so that we have the Mind of Christ.
Do you think that Jesus ever had a nervous attack? Of course not: Jesus' faith while He walked the earth was one hundred percent in His Heavenly Father; and He was in constant communication with Him. Jesus is the Mediator between us and the Heavenly Father; He wants to impart into us His Faith, His Mind. He does that by the Holy Spirit which indwells all believers. But to a greater or lesser extent we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. There is total victory and total overcoming in Christ; we will gain it if we but pursue. The Word says, "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you." The secret is not just to do this one time, but to make it your very lifestyle!
It is the vain religion taught in most circles today that keeps Christians in bondage. For the most part it is taught that the Kingdom of God is yet future and that the Christian life is to be lived either in struggle or vanity, or somewhere in between. No; Christianity is all about a new creation, which you are to be now, and a walk with Christ as Lord, seated on the throne of your heart. You cannot know and walk in this unless you are born again spiritually.
As I have studied the Word of God, it has slowly become revealed knowledge to me that man cannot serve two masters. Jesus said, "Man cannot serve God and mammon," and while this seems to mean merely that man cannot serve God and materialism, it also carries with it a much deeper meaning. Such as: "A Christian cannot turn his mind and heart fully over to God and at the same time turn it over to earthly, secular endeavors." This does not mean, of course, that we are never to touch the things that are in the world, because we do still live in an earthly body and certain physical needs must be met. But what it does mean is that, if we are living unto God, as Romans 6: ___ tells us to do as new creations, we cannot at the same time live unto, or make our intents and purposes in life, anything else but the things of God. He is now our Master. We cannot serve Christ and serve the causes and belief systems of this world at the same time.
Secular psychology is one of those belief systems of the world. It is not of God; it is totally turned inside out and opposite from the Will of God. God's Word says, "My ways are not your ways." The Will of God for your life is to listen to Him, hear Him, believe Him, and walk in His Truths.
Secular psychologists seek to help you get your needs met. The Will of God is that you learn that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and that you must lose yourself, die to self and be reborn spiritually in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. Self must come off the throne; and Christ must sit there.
Married couples go to secular psychologists to help them work out problems in their marriages. The reason they fight all the time is because self sits on the throne of each one. A secular psychologist has no answer for that; but Christ has an answer. He said, "Die!" He says, "Be spiritually reborn and put Me on the Throne!" If Christ truly rules and reigns over a home, that is, in the hearts of all who dwell in that home, that home will be paradise on earth. If both the husband and wife have Christ as their head, then they will meet on common ground -- in Christ. Their home will be a home of love; their respective goals and unified Goal will be to serve God and each other, and to raise up the children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, so that they, too, will come to know Him in a personal way as Lord and Saviour.
If you are wrought with all kind of inner problems, feel the world and everyone that you know is against you, seek God's way. Think of it this way: "Is my own "self" rulling over my heart? How can I get rid of my self-centeredness and put God on the Throne?" Jesus said that the way to do it is to die. And then be reborn.
I can understand people of the world seeking the counsel of secular psychologists. But I cannot understood why Christians would do so, except that they do not understand what it means to be "in Christ." They are poorly taught in the churches. Jesus is not their Lord. Many feel they have embraced His Cross in salvation; but they do not know what it means to embrace His Life in transformation and Holy living.
It is a shame and it is apostasy that in so many churches today, the Trojan Horse of Psychology has come in and replaced or, at the very least, attempted to add something to the gospel of Grace. Wake up, Christians. Renew your mind on truth and be transformed by the mighty Power of God!
"Touch not the unclean thing..."