Tough Stuff: The Bible Doesn’t Mix

Sunday, February 8th, 2009
Sermon Series: Tough Stuff

Sermon Manuscript …

Tough Stuff - Difficult Truths from the Bible

The Bible Doesn’t Mix

Tough Stuff–Difficult to discern–the sufficiency of the Word in counseling

Some things require a warning–sticking your tongue in a light socket . . . keeping your fingers away from a power saw . . . the upper steps of a rickety ladder . . . the inclusion of peanut oil on your salad for those with allergies . . . making sure people don’t drink the water in Mexico.

But some things require something more than a warning–putting up a railing around the edge of a thousand-foot cliff . . . putting child safety locks on the cabinets containing poison . . . keeping a gun on safety and pointed in a safe direction.

As a church, there are some errors that require a warning, but there are certain errors that require more than a warning, and today is a “more than a warning” day.  Part of my job as pastor-teacher and our job as elders is to warn and to protect, Titus 1:9 says an elder is to be “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”  This morning I am attempting to refute those who contradict and warn you at the same time.

The difficulty today is this:  you may not want to hear it.  Today’s warning flies in the face of not only current worldly thinking, but also current Church thinking.  In fact only those who truly embrace the authority of the Word of God will heed this warning.  Please believe me I am being very careful not to overstate my case.  This danger is real and it is destroying Christians.  It has already hurt some people in our own church and potentially could destroy others.  So it’s imperative I warn you of the danger.  What is this menace?

We are in the midst of a series called Tough Stuff.  Eight months ago at our annual elder retreat, we identified some practical and doctrinal issues that had to be addressed directly from God’s Word.  We talked about wealth worry, the doctrines of grace, pornography, living by Christ’s righteousness and not our own–and today this is the danger . . . mixing the Word of God with psychology.  My goal is never to beat people up, or throw ministry under the bus, or to make fun of those we disagree with, but to protect you from harm.  And mixing the Word of God with psychology, then listening to it, following its counsel or reading its falsehoods is deadly.

You ask, “Chris, is it really that dangerous?”  Yes it is!  One of my TC graduates in Arizona was a close friend–we even went out on a couple of double dates with him and his wife.  Last year I received an e-mail from him informing me that his wife was divorcing him.  I was shocked, and if you knew them you would have been shocked too. How could this have happened?  His wife had come under the influence of a trained Christian counselor.  This woman counselor was teaching Bible classes aimed at healthy relationships, but using a mix of Bible and psychology (mostly psychology) drawing most of the material from a so-called Christian book which was also a mix of Bible and psychology.  The class, the book and this counselor repeatedly affirmed the lie that my friend’s wife was emotionally abused, and as a result had the right to divorce her husband–which she did.  Now one daughter lives with the husband, and two daughters who hate their father live with their mother.  All this took place in a period of months.  All of it was wrong, violated Scripture and destroyed a sweet family.

We have some dear friends who are like parents to us–we love them deeply and have been impacted by their genuine love for Christ, dependence upon His Word and lifestyle of integrity.  Their 40-year-old daughter-in-law came under the influence of a book which is modern psychology laced with a few Bible verses.  As a result of buying into this poison she estranged her husband, our friends’ son, their children (our friends’ grandchildren), and from them–and this daughter-in-law labored to poison the minds of the rest of their children, her brother- and sister-in-laws.  All of it she justified not by following Biblical principles, but by embracing so-called Christian counseling, Christian psychology, and a book labeled Christian, but that contains destructive lies from the pit of hell.  Friends be warned, the Bible and psychology do not mix.

Some of the talk radio, MP3’s or CD’s we listen to, classes we take, books we read and seminars we attend are like taking small doses of poison each day–eventually it is going to harm our spiritual health.  But some of this distorted mixture out there is lethal–like drinking a big gulp of gasoline, it’s gonna kill.  But all of it, the slow poison and the 64 oz. arsenic Slurpee are made up of the same substance–some mild, some strong but all poison.  What is it?  It is the Bible mixed with psychology.

What is psychology?  It is the science of the mind, of mental states, mental processes and human behavior–simply, it is the study of the soul.  Psychology is what human scholars and so-called experts have discovered about why people think and act the way they do.  Let me make this simple–psychology is human wisdom and the Bible is divine wisdom, which immediately puts psychology in conflict with the Scripture. Who are you going to trust–the experts of this world or your Creator and His revealed Word?  God says in Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  First Corinthians 3:19 says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.”

Sadly the Church today has bought into the lie that there are certain problems and behaviors that are just too complex and scary for anyone but a professional psychologist to deal with–cutting, bulimia and more.  Godly men and women trained in the Word of God are viewed as naïve, simplistic and inadequate as counselors in such cases.  But at FBC we believe Jesus Christ, genuine salvation, God’s Word, a loving community of God’s people, the Holy Spirit, prayer and all the other means of grace are completely sufficient to deal with any problem, any issue, and any scary weirdness.

God has told us in 2 Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  We have all we need.”  And Colossians 2:10, “And in Him you have been made complete”–we have all we need.  In this life we believe we’ll suffer, have pain, experience difficulties, and hurt but our God has given us what we need to get us to heaven.  And at our church, we believe true counseling can only be done by Christians, since only believers have the resources for understanding and transforming the soul, and that resource is God and His Word.

Now it is reasonable for Christians to seek medical help for a broken leg, a bad kidney or a toothache–medical issues.  It’s also sensible for believers who are drunkards, addicted to drugs, learning disabled, traumatized by a rape, incest or battering to seek some help in trying to cope with their trauma.  The big question is this–where should a Christian go for help?  Most Christians don’t turn to secular psychologists–so in our day many believers have turned to Christian psychologists and Christian counselors to get the help they need.  But sadly that is a source of danger.  When you turn to a Christian psychologist, you don’t know what you are getting.

What percentage of the Bible are you getting and what percentage of psychology are you getting?  And when their psychology comes in conflict with the Scripture do they defer to the authority of Scripture or do they rely upon their psychological training?  They all say they follow the Bible, but do they know, love and submit to the Word sufficiently to have you follow the Word of God over lesser things?  And a larger question is this: can those two worlds mix at all?  Can we legitimately blend psychology with the Scripture?  By mixing them together will we help or harm people?

At our church, we believe you cannot mix psychological theory and the Word of God.  We believe there is great danger in sitting under the counsel of a Christian psychologist, and great harm has been done to believers who have done so.  You may be here today saying it didn’t harm me.  What’s the big deal?  Or you have a friend or family member who seemed to be helped by Christian psychological counseling.  Others of you might wonder why it’s so deadly.  There are a few of you who have been personally harmed already.  And some of you have experienced the painful results of you or someone you love coming under the influence of Christian counseling.  So for all of you, take your outline and follow along as we discover . . .

#1  The differences and dangers of mixing the Scripture with psychology

There are two basic approaches most Christians deal with in counseling–Christian psychology and Biblical counseling.  In order to track with me, notice the chart I have made so you can clearly distinguish the difference between the two methods.

Note:  as I address Christian psychology, remember I am only dealing with a general direction since psychology is always changing

BIBLE ONLY BIBLE MIXED WITH PSYCHOLOGY
Biblical counseling Christian counseling
Non-integrationist Integrationist
Nouthetic = from Greek word exhort Christian = a religious morality

Biblical counseling refers to those who use the Bible and the means of grace only–Jay Adams, Stuart Scott and FBC.  Christian counselors are those who mix the Bible and psychology–James Dobson, Larry Crabb and Robert Schuller.

Biblical counselors are non-integrationists–they only use the Scripture, only use biblical terms, and trust only in God and His Word.  They believe the Bible is sufficient and use it exclusively in counseling.  Christian counselors are integrationists–they may use the Bible but also integrate psychological principles and techniques in their counseling.

When you get counsel from an integrationist, you never know if what you’re hearing is from the Bible or is it from psychology?  Many times it is 9/10ths Bible poisoned with 1/10th psychology.  But why can’t they blend together–what is the harm?  The danger is this–mixing them changes the pure message of the Gospel and the differences are too vast to reconcile.  What are they?

First  The trust is different–God or man?

The message of the Gospel is for us to trust in God alone to save us.  The message of most Christian psychology is to trust in yourself.  Psychology is man’s thinking, but the Bible is God’s thinking.  And Psalm 118:8 says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Christian integrationists will not say this out loud, but the Christian counselor does not believe the Bible is sufficient–the Bible is helpful, the Bible is a good starting place but the Bible is not enough.

They believe we need professional help, we need advance degrees, we need secular training to be able to really help people–especially those who are bipolar or OCD or any other so-called disease of the mind.

But the biblical counselor trusts in the Bible only–the Bible is sufficient, it is enough to deal with every issue and any matter of faith.  Biblical counselors believe that the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ, prayer, and other means of grace are sufficiently powerful.

Second  The theology is different–the nature of God and man

Biblical counseling only uses the Scripture to explain the nature of God and the nature of man, so this approach points to God as our sovereign Creator.  God is even sovereign over horrible sinful events, allowing evil to exist and at times allowing evil to come upon His own children.  Genesis 50:20 says, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”  Along with that all people are born as sinners, full of pride and are defiant by nature before a holy and just God since Genesis 3.

But Christian counselors use psychology to explain the nature of God and the nature of man, so they often point to a loving God who rarely allows bad things to happen.  Consequently all of your hurts are not your fault or under God’s plan–therefore they need to be blamed on someone or something else.  And if you can’t explain your pain, you may have to dig up a memory about something you can’t quite remember so you can even blame those you think may have done something to you.  Now your grouchiness is blamed on your difficult circumstances, or your mood swings on some personality trait or your low self-image, but rarely are your grouchy choices blamed on your own sinful rebellious heart against God and His Word.

Third  The diagnosis is different–is it a sin or a disease?

The Christian integrationist follows a disease model, using psychological concepts and labels, calling sin a disease.  The goal of those who mix the Bible and psychology is to try to discover your disorder or your disease.  You don’t have sinful bents–you have a disorder or you have a disease.  You can’t help yourself.  The result of this diagnosis, this label is devastating.  As soon as you own your label you stop changing.  In fact now you have an excuse not to change–and once you get a label, you’re not interested in changing.

What’s the danger in giving a person a label?  They won’t change.  I’m bipolar–I can’t act right, that’s why I’m moody and grouchy to my husband and kids.  That’s why I’m up then down all the time.  I’m OCD–I can’t handle going to church with all those people.  It’s too much for me–there are just too many germs.  Once they have a label and you push them to repent they have an excuse—they have a label.  They can’t help it.  It’s like telling them, “You have diabetes, get over it.”

But I can’t, it’s a disease—there’s nothing I can do about it.  I’m OCD, I want to be like Monk–he’s funny.  I’m schizophrenic, and so am I, and neither of us want to repent.  Don’t ask me to repent of my sinful behavior.  It’s all in my brain chemistry and I can’t help it.

Get this, friends–the study of brain chemistry is a theory–it has never been proven.  There are studies on serotonin levels in the brain and they truly have discovered different levels that are present when a person is depressed.  But what they don’t know is this–it has never been proven whether it’s our depression that causes the serotonin level to change, or the level of serotonin that causes the depression to change.  Was it the chicken or the egg?  It’s all theory.

Use common sense–have you ever looked at the back side of the Prozac ad–there are 500 warnings telling you why you should not take this drug.  As a church we’re not against medication to assist in a crisis, but we really question the long-term use of any mental medication as a solution.

In contrast to the integrationist, Biblical counseling is based upon a sin model, embracing mankind’s fall into sin found in Genesis 3.  We use only biblical labels and focus on what the Bible says about sin and repentance.  True repentance in 2 Corinthians 7:10 to 11, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.”

Let’s say you’re grouchy.  Then let’s ask what issues or idols in your heart are driving this?  Repent of your anger, memorize the Scripture on thankfulness, depend on the Holy Spirit for the fruit of self-control over your tongue, get enough sleep, eat better, exercise, hang out with encouraging people, rejoice always, have some believers hold you accountable, trust the Lord to change you and so much more.

Fourth  The process of change is different–external or internal

Biblical counseling tells you how God wants us to change from the inside out through His Word by the power of the Spirit, calling sin “sin”, and not calling sin a mistake, a problem or a medical issue.  Whereas Christian psychology, the integrationist, tells you to ventilate–keep telling me more and eventually you will discover the answer within yourself if you just keep talking.  The counselor doesn’t have to do a thing but charge you per hour.  It is worldly, humanistic, blame-shifting and excuse finding.  Your problem usually ends up being blamed on your mom, your environment, your up-bringing, your circumstances, and the main culprit of our day—your dad.

You see, the biblical counselor wants you to become more like Christ in every way, trusting the Holy Spirit to illumine God’s Word to your heart, bringing you to healthy confession, genuine conviction and true repentance, where you put off certain sins and put on certain qualities of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit alone.  What’s our goal in this life?  Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”  And Romans 8:29, “He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”  God Word is transforming us to be more like Christ.

The Christian psychologist talks about behavior modification, where you are self-actualized, or you make a change in your thinking.  The goal is to have a catharsis where you finally get certain issues out in the open and off your chest–possibly even tell someone else off.  Dr. Phil will tell you to change your thinking in order to elevate your self-esteem.  Stop your stinkin’ thinkin’ and change your behavior enough to start a new habit–but there is no heart change, no heart transformation, and no inside-out newness.

Fifth  The goal is different–glorify God or satisfy self

The goal of biblical counseling is to glorify God alone, but the goal of Christian counseling is to satisfy self.  Integrationists are all about your happiness, non-integrationists are all about God’s holiness.  Typically people who seek counseling are not thinking about glorifying God.  Honoring the Lord God is usually the last thing on their mind.  Christian counseling is all about you, your needs, your hurts and your pains and not about pleasing God Himself.  Everything gets turned around–you sin because you are a victim.  You have a personality disease so it’s not your fault.  You’ve been hurt so you don’t need to forgive. You have low self-esteem and need to love yourself more–first you must trust in yourself, do what you feel is best, make certain you accept yourself.  It’s all about self.

But the Scripture tells us it’s all about God, His perfect character, His all-wise choices, His sovereign plan, His loving relationships, His exalted character and His all-knowing mind.  One system worships self and the other system worships God.  And since our culture is self-loving and psychology is a religion of self, it is easy to fall into a self-focused system.

Take repressed memory–do you know what that is?  I have hurts in my past, and the more painful they are, the more I push them away and try to forget them.  But they supposedly affect my behavior today. So through a lot of patience and expensive counseling we try to help those memories come to the surface.  Do you realize the secular non-Christian world was big on repressed memories, but now today they have rightly dismissed it.  They say sure it happens, but it is extremely rare.

But the world of Christian psychology picked up on repressed memory and it is still going strong.  Sadly much of the repressed memory comes from the power of suggestion–counselors say, “Did your dad ever do this?”  And through constant suggestion patients will ultimately embrace imagined ideas as repressed memories.  And it is destroying families–it is sick and unbiblical.  So many have later confessed–I made it all up in my head with the help of my counselor.

Listen, if you love Christ you are going to have hard times—period.  James 1:2 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.”  And Philippians 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”  You are going to experience pain, issues, hurts, suffering, problems, and some of it is horrible.  There are women here who have been abused and you are victims.  But this life is filled with sin.

If this paper I am holding represents your life, and the dots are your problems—where is your focus–on the life from God or the problems of self?  Do you have upward eyes or ingrown eyes?  The Bible says God’s children will groan in this life–this is not our home.  Hold on, be faithful, and wait for heaven.  This life is not going to be great.  Heaven is our home–it will be great and we are not home yet.  So where should I go to get the help I need as a Christian?  Go to the means of grace–go to the Word of God and go to those believers who counsel trusting only in . . .

#2 The sufficiency of the Word of God alone

One of the biblical names of Christ is Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).  He is the ultimate One we can turn to for counsel, and His Word is the only pure well to draw divine wisdom.  One of the best aspects of Christ’s sufficiency is the wonderful counsel and great wisdom He supplies in our times of despair, confusion, fear, anxiety, and sorrow.  He is the one we can turn to because He has been through it all yet without sin.  He is eternal, and has seen it all.  He is our Creator and knows us better than anyone, yet He still loves us.  That’s wonderful.

And Christ has designed His body to be a part of the way we experience His counsel.  We go directly to Christ, but we also experience sound counsel through His spiritually gifted counselors who trust in God’s Word alone to offer encouragement, discernment, comfort, advice, compassion and help.  Today churches have failed to trust God’s Word alone, and have also failed to train up Godly counselors to get personally involved and be compassionate enough to work through difficult issues.  To fill the gap, churches have turned to psychology, but that choice has really harmed people and weakened the Church.  Professional psychologists are no substitute for spiritually-gifted people.  And the counsel that psychology offers cannot replace the biblical wisdom and divine power that comes from God’s Word.

Turn to Psalm 19:7 to 9 and see what I mean.  This Psalm is the most pointed statement on the sufficiency of Scripture ever made.  Penned by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God declares that His Word is sufficient for every struggle.  In just three verses God declares that His Word does not need to be augmented with truth gleaned from modern psychology.  In this passage David makes six statements, each highlighting a characteristic of Scripture and describing its effect in the life of the one who embraces it.  Taken together, these statements paint a beautiful picture of the sufficiency of God’s Word.

First  Scripture is perfect, restoring the soul

David says in verse 7, “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.”  This word “perfect” is the Hebrew word meaning “whole, complete, or sufficient.”  It conveys the idea of something comprehensive.  Scripture gives us all that is necessary for our spiritual life.

David also says God’s perfect law affects people by “restoring the soul,” meaning Scripture is so powerful it can convert or transform the entire person, changing someone into precisely the person God wants him to be.  God’s Word is sufficient to restore through salvation even the most broken life–a truth many of us in this room can give testimony to.

Second  Scripture is trustworthy, imparting wisdom

Scripture is also sufficient because verse 7 says, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”  David’s use of the word “sure” means the Lord’s testimony is unwavering, reliable and worthy to be trusted.  You can stake your life and your very eternity on the Word of God.

Verse 7 adds, God’s sure Word makes the simple wise.  The Hebrew word translated “simple” comes from an expression meaning “an open door.”  It evokes the image of a naive person who doesn’t know to shut his mind to false teaching.  He is gullible, but God’s Word makes him wise.  The Word of God thus takes a simple mind with no discernment and makes it skilled in the issues of life.

Third  Scripture is right, causing joy

In verse 8, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”  Rather than simply indicating what is right as opposed to wrong, the word translated “right” has the sense of showing someone the true path.  The truths of Scripture lay out the proper road through the difficult maze of life.  Ever looked at the wrong map to get directions?  So many people are despondent because they lack direction, and most of them seek answers from the wrong map.  God’s Word steers us through the right course of life and as a result God’s Word brings great joy.  If one is depressed, anxious, fearful, or doubting, the correct solution is not in psychology or self-esteem but in learning the joy of following God’s Word.  All other sources are shallow and fleeting, which is why Job said in Job 23:12, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

Fourth  Scripture is pure, enlightening the eyes

Psalm 19:8, “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The word “pure” is better translated “clear” or “lucid,” and indicates that Scripture is not mystifying, confusing, or puzzling.  God’s Word makes the dark things light.  Yes there are things in Scripture that are hard to understand, but taken as a whole the Bible is not a bewildering book.  And because of its absolute clarity Scripture brings understanding where there is ignorance, order where there is confusion, and light where there is spiritual darkness.  The Word of God is in stark contrast to the muddled learnings of unredeemed men, who themselves are blind and unable to discern truth.  Only God’s Word clearly reveals the hopeful truths they can never see.

Fifth  Scripture is clean, enduring forever

In verse 9 David uses the term “fear” as a synonym for God’s Word, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.”  This “fear” speaks of the reverential awe for God that compels believers to worship Him.  Scripture is the divine manual on how to worship the Lord.  The Hebrew word “clean” speaks of the absence of impurity, filthiness, defilement or imperfection. Scripture is without sin, corruption or error.  Because the Bible is flawless, Scripture endures forever (verse 9).  Any change or modification could only introduce imperfection.  The Bible needs no updating, editing or refining (no additions) for it is God’s revelation for every generation.  The Bible was written by the omniscient Spirit of God, who is infinitely more knowledgeable than any psychologist.

Sixth  Scripture is true, altogether righteous

The final characteristic of God’s all-sufficient Word is verse 9, “The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.”  The word “judgments” in this context refers to divine verdicts from the bench of the Supreme Judge of the earth.  The Bible is God’s standard for judging the life and eternal destiny of every person.  Because Scripture is true it is verse 9 “righteous altogether”.  The truthfulness of the Bible points to a comprehensive righteousness that only Christ supplies–we must be saved and it comes only to those who turn to Christ for salvation.

Contrary to what many are teaching today, there is no need for insights from modern psychology.  In contrast to the theories of men, the Bible is eternally true.  Rather than depending on a counselor who totally or partially depends on psychology, let’s be a people who trust God enough to rely upon His Word, His Spirit, His Church, and His work in our lives to make us more like His Son through pain, hurts, trials, sufferings, even injustice–then bring us safely home to heaven.  Amen?

We are a psychological society–we are consumed with self, and as a result there are people who are going to be mad about this sermon, but please hear me out.  My goal is not to anger you, but out of love protect you and keep you from real spiritual harm.  It is only because I love you that I would risk offending you–this is my calling, so remember . . .

1 The most important answer is Christ

The ultimate danger of integrationist Christian counseling is getting you to listen to, depend upon, or focus on an answer that is not Christ.  Psychology leads you to trust self, look within, nurse your hurts, excuse sin and develop ingrown eyeballs–you victim you.  But the true Gospel is trusting in Christ alone.  Faith is dependence on Christ alone.  Repentance is turning from following your ways, to only following Christ’s ways.  Any counsel that turns our focus on ourselves, any counsel that leads us to depend on anything other than Christ is evil.

I know some of you have been hurt deeply, badly, unjustly.  And there are some here, mostly women, who were sexually abused by a father or someone else, and you are a victim, and you still hurt.  But the only answer, the true answer, the real solution, the deep transformation will only and always be Jesus Christ.  He suffered unjustly, His pain was beyond what we can imagine since it wasn’t only the cross–but the righteous wrath of the Father for your sins and mine.  Perfect, pure, holy Jesus Christ, eternal God became sin for us–and He did that so you could be forgiven, cleansed, made new, born again with a new purpose and a new hope.  Stop nursing your hurts and find joy and peace in the presence of Christ now–and long for heaven when He will wash all the tears away.  Turn to Jesus Christ–only He can forgive you from your guilt.

2 You’re saved by God alone, but you also grow by God alone

Paul is bitingly strong with the Galatians when he asks in Galatians 3:2 and 3, “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

Paul is in your face, Christian–He says, you are saved by faith, and you also grow by faith, not by works, but by depending upon the Holy Spirit.  Only the Spirit can bring about real change, only the Spirit can heal your hurts, only the Spirit can transform you from the inside out.  Don’t be so foolish as to think you began the Christian life by faith, but now you move on to spiritual maturity by works.

And what are God’s tools for growth?  Prayer, trials, and John 17:17 tells us, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.”  God changes you to be like His Son, called sanctification, not through psychology, but through the truth of His Living Word.  Don’t trust in man’s thinking, ways, ideas or man’s approaches–trust in God alone to change you and to grow you to become more like Christ, to learn to forgive, to be able to cope with hurts and deal with people.  Be like the Thessalonians in 2:13, “We also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

3 Trust Christ alone with all your struggles and fears

Just like Christ says to trust Him for all our material needs in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”  He also says to trust Him for all our emotional, mental needs in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”  And Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Hey don’t be afraid for yourself or for your spouse or for your kids–God’s Spirit, plus God’s Word, plus God’s loving people, plus time are enough to deal with any and all issues . . . fears, cutting, eating habits, pains from the past, weird habits, depression, all of it.

In fact He allowed you to have those problems so you’d trust Him, so He’d be able to show Himself through you and bring Himself glory.  Paul admits it when he says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”


ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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