Friday, October 06, 2006

How Problems Occur and how they may be helped! (updated 08/10)

After my last marathon article I had flittering doubts about how biblical I was and if I was correct in saying what I said. Probably the devils attempts to undermine me. However then in my bible reading notes for that day the late great Selwyn Hughes came to the rescue and said the following in reference to John 7:37 where Jesus says 'If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink!'

In my opinion, the biggest single preventative to us having feet like "hinds feet" is a stubborn commitment to independence. This reflects itself in the lives of every one of us - even those who have been on the Way for several decades. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, who were designed to experience fulfillment by being dependent on God, decided to act independently of Him. Sin can be summed up as a 'Declaration of independence' - an attempt to do for ourselves what only God can do for us.

What happened in the garden of Eden is duplicated millions of times daily, not only in the lives of unbelievers but in the lives of Christians also - Christians who use self-centered strategies to satisfy the deep thirst that is in their heart for God. Almost every spiritual or psychological problem has at its root this condition - the person is failing in some way to let God satisfy his deep inner thirst.

This might sound simplistic to some, but after many years of experience working in the field of counseling, I am convinced that this is what underlies such conditions as anorexia, sexual perversions, worry, hostility, depression, homosexuality, and so on. You see, if we are not conscious that God is meeting the deep thirst we have for Him on the inside of our being, then the inner emptiness will move us in one of two directions - to fill the emptiness in any way we can or to withdraw and protect ourselves from the possibility of any further pain.

Daily Devotion taken from Every Day with Jesus by Selwyn Hughes Copyright CWR

Now Selwyn Hughes is my all time hero of the faith. A more gentle and humble man you could never have met but one blessed with a staggering ministry and understanding of scripture. Not surprisingly my understanding of the human condition etc... is shaped partly by Selwyn's views since I studied counseling on a course devised by him. But reading this after I had written my article on Gods love reinforced my passion for people to understand their inner workings. Not for the sake of navel gazing and getting all introspective but to be released into the person God created them to be and to have God centered in their very spirit.

Many Christians as so afraid of taking a look inside their heart and pondering their inner workings. Denial is a dangerous path to take and can have all sorts of unwanted side effects. Part of spiritual maturity should be to always be open to what God wants to deal with in our hearts. Now I say again that the goal of looking into our hearts is never for self centered reasons or we get into a poor me way of thinking. It is always for the sake of looking where we are holding back things or taking control of our own life instead of surrendering them to the Lord in trust and dependence.

Sometimes a person has taken such a beating in life spiritually, emotionally or physically that more than just chatting and praying with our fellow christians can be required. I am a whole hearted supporter of professional Christian counseling since sometimes the church and even its leaders are not equipped to deal with some people and can sadly cause more harm than good even with the best intentions at heart. This should not be the case but until the church is able to deal more effectively with such hurt people then counseling services will be required.

However the evangelical church can be very suspicious of the word counseling. Maybe it is a reaction against the western worlds obsession with therapy and counseling and people box the word counseling into some sort of secular view or think Christian counseling is just secular theory with some bible thought tacked on. That maybe true of some people who call themselves Christian counselors. Secular counseling however is about helping people sort out their issues and feel better about themselves. However from my experience and training, the model I was taught is totally rooted in biblical truth and its goal is to help the person put God on the throne and take themselves off. The focus is not so much about the presenting problem but about the root which in essence is what Selwyn explains above. Sorting that out not only puts God in His rightful place but has the consequence of helping to sort out the neurosis that the person came for help with. Obviously this side of heaven we never get totally sorted and always battle with things but the difference it can make to a persons life is amazing.

I'll get off my soap box now!!!

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