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Lesson 3-3 – Recovering The Bible’s Sufficiency For Life And Godliness

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Lesson 3: Man’s Way & God’s Way
Recovering the Bible’s Sufficiency
For Life & Godliness

 

Twenty-first century Christians are nearing a point where the supernatural work of the Spirit of God using the Divinely-inspired Word of God has become simplistic and inadequate for describing, confronting, and ministering to human problems.

 

We as a culture have slowly accepted as almost Gospel-truth, the monumental stature that the APA[1] DSM-IV’s list, of  almost 300 mental and personality disorders. It is time to review what the Creator of humans, and the world in which we live has to say about how we deal with our mental problems and struggles.

 

Recovering the Bible’s

Sufficiency for Life & Godliness

 

Do you think that it is possible that our Omniscient God missed the fact 3,500 years ago, as He began to inspire His Inerrantly Sufficient Word: that someday people would have PTSD?

 

Did God Get

Caught by Surprise?

 

Do you think that an All-Knowing God, as He breathed out through His servants David 3,000 years ago, and Paul 2,000 years ago: that there would be people that were hobbled by OCD, AHD, and BPD?

 

In fact, do you think that there were no bi-polar afflicted people (BPDs) in the past 6,000 years of human life on Earth? Have no other generations, except the past two, been inhabited by people who match the catalogue of disorders now on paper in the APA’s official list of disorders know as the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV)?

 

  • How about Eleazar (2 Sam. 23:9-10), the one whose hand was stuck to his sword after killing countless enemies. Did he go through PTSD as he slept in a tent or a simple Israelite house with no security system, no pistol in his night stand, and no chemicals to calm his anxious memories of what he had gone through on the battlefield all alone that day?

 

  • How about David in Psalm 13, 56, and 142: unemployed, desperate, running for his life, fearful for his family’s safety, feeling abandoned by God, and all alone? Was God able to meet David’s deepest needs simply by faith without a disorder label and with no required counseling therapy techniques?

 

  • How about Isaiah 57:20-21? When God said that a characteristic that helps us spot the “wicked” is that they are like the restless sea, that they keep bringing up dirt, and they have no peace. Is that condition a disorder for which they have no control over, no responsibility for, and are victims? Or is it a condition that results from sin, lostness, and depravity over which regeneration and sanctification have life-changing power?

 

Are Personality Disorders New Territory for God?

 

Twenty-first Century Americans seem to think that we have entered into all new territory. To read current psychiatric studies, it is almost like we have arrived at a place where medical and psychological sciences have described and told us exactly what our disorders are, and now they are removed a step away from us, and our behavior is no longer part of our personal responsibility.

 

Nearly every sin Paul describes in the New Testament Epistles are now disorders and diseases that we can be diagnosed with. Once a person gets the diagnosis we can comfortably excuse what God has called sin.

 

  1. Should we excuse sinful attitudes, and unbiblical behavior because the person has a disorder?
  2. Was God incorrect in formerly declaring that these were sins?
  3. Is it now true that people with these recently catalogued disorders are not exhibiting the sinful attitudes and activities of their flesh, they just are dealing with a medical disorder?
  4. Are these almost 300 catalogued disorders new to modern times?
  5. Were these same “disorders” not previously experienced and dealt with in past generations of believers using only the Word of God and not counselors, plus medicine, plus psychiatric frameworks?

 

Both Dimensions are

Vital to God

 

There is a physical and a spiritual dimension to every human illness, disorder, disease, and trouble. The physical dimension can and should be addressed by all available and ethical medical means. But, the spiritual dimension must not be overlooked, ignored, or scoffed at, unless the greatest available cure be neglected.

 

Take for instance the fear, depression, suicidal thoughts, and desperation of the mighty man of God named Elijah in . Used as he was by God, he was still 100% human. Despite prayers that could stop the rain for three plus years and then restart them, he was still 100% human, and subject to all the spiritual disabilities prompted by our fallen sinful flesh.

 

Did God come to Elijah and correct his spiritual errors, unbelief, and sinful feelings while he was debilitated physically? No. God first stabilized Elijah, and led him through a regimen of retreat, rest, nutrition, and compassionate care. Is there a place for medical, counseling, and mental health professionals? Yes. God has always advocated the use of medical means, but never to the exclusion of the greater, deeper, and most powerful treatments. These are the areas that the medicine, the therapy, and the doctors are powerless to change, and the realms to which they have NO access. These areas are the spiritual realms.

 

Our souls, spirits, emotions, and minds are off limits to the physical world. Only God is the Father of Spirits. Only God’s Word is able to heal the mind and soul. Only God can bring peace that passes understanding that guards ours hearts and minds. Only He can keep us in perfect peace by tethering our mind to His Eternal Presence that dwells within us.

 

The Real Missing Link of

Modern Mental Diagnostics

 

Modern Psychiatric Counseling has left out the first, foremost, and critical axis: corrupt, deceitful, fallen, sinful, flesh controlled humans. That should be Axis O in the DSM-IV, instead, it is no where present. The single most important axis to understand what is going on in the life and behavior and thoughts of the person is absent. Note the premises upon which more and more Christians are operating, it is the basis for mental health providers across America, and increasingly around the world.

 

The DSM-IV TR is based on five different dimensions[2]. This multiaxial approach allows clinicians and psychiatrists to make a more comprehensive evaluation of a client’s level of functioning, because mental illnesses often impact many different life areas.

  • Axis I: Clinical Syndromes 
This axis describes clinical symptoms that cause significant impairment. Disorders are grouped into different categories, including adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders.

 

  • Axis II: Personality and Mental Retardation
This axis describes long-term problems that are overlooked in the presence of Axis I disorders. Personality disorders cause significant problems in how a patient relates to the world and include antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. Mental retardation is characterized by intellectual impairment and deficits in other areas such as self-care and interpersonal skills.

 

  • Axis III: Medical Conditions
These include physical and medical conditions that may influence or worsen Axis 1 and Axis II disorders. Some examples may include HIV/AIDS and brain injuries.

 

  • Axis IV: Psychosocial and Environmental Problems
Any social or environmental problems that may impact Axis I or Axis II disorders are accounted for in this assessment. These may include such things as unemployment, relocation, divorce, or the death of a loved one.

 

  • Axis V: Global Assessment of Functioning 
This axis allows the clinician to rate the client’s overall level of functioning. Based on this assessment, clinicians can better understand how the other four axes are interacting and the effect on the individual’s life.

 

While the DSM-IV-TR is an important tool, it is important to note that only those who have received specialized training and possess sufficient experience are qualified to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Clinicians also use the DMS-IV to classify patients for billing purposes, since the government and many insurance carriers require a specific diagnosis in order to approve payment for treatment.

 

Without an absolute standard for measurement in building construction, all of the angles of the construction will be off. That is exactly where modern psychiatric mental health has brought us to in the 21st century. Everything is off, and doesn’t line up.

 

Tonight we are learning how to apply the principles of the only counseling manual, guide, and reference book that God authorized, personally wrote, and uses on a daily basis in this global network of counselors.

 

Our Biblical Counseling & Discipleship Manual is the Bible, and the network of counselors is made up of all obedient believers throughout all the ages of God’s Word to mankind.

 

This class this evening is an extension of the Biblical Counseling & Discipleship ministry that God started, wrote about, and supports in every way.

 

All of us are in training to renew or join that ministry. That is why we all signed up to ne a part of this Biblical Discipleship & Counseling 101 ministry.

 

Biblical Counselors Need to Be Prayer-Driven,

Word-Filled, and Spirit-Prompted

 

The Holy Spirit is Necessary (Principle 5): Only through the power of the Holy Spirit are you able to live an abundant life (John 14:26, 16:7-14; Rom. 8:5-11; 1 Cor. 2:9-14; Eph. 1:13-14, 5:18).

 

Prayer is Vital (Principle 6): Prayer is essential to a Spirit-controlled life (Psalm 145:18-19; Mat. 7:7-8; Eph. 5:18-20; 6:18; 1 Th. 5:17; 1 John 3:22). You are to be devoted to prayer, according to God’s will, and bring everything and everyone unceasingly before the Lord in prayer (Luke 18:1; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 1 Th. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:1; 1 John 5:14-15).

 

Please turn to Romans 8:5-11, the central Scripture of principle 5.

 

  1. Pre-Set Minds: v. 5 the flesh promotes fleshly-living, fleshly-thinking, and an entirely fleshly-orientation.

 

  1. Lost = lifeless & restless; Saved = alive & peaceful: v. 6 lost people can’t obtain the benefits of the work of God that brings “life and peace”.

 

  1. Lost = opposed to the Truth: v. 7 lost people have an enmity, or hatred oriented mind towards the operating principles for mental health that God has laid down in His Word. So how could a lost, un-regenerated psychiatrist, mental therapist, etc. ever agree with the doctrines of God that regulate our mental health?

 

  1. Only Spirit-prompted lifestyles are Pleasing to God. v.8

 

  1. Salvation brings unlimited access and downloads from God: 9-11 salvation brings a dimension of life to our spirits, souls, and minds that lost people have NO access to at all.

 

Even deeper insights can be found in 1 Cor. 2:9-14 where God says: v. 9-10, only the Spirit can search deep with a person; v. 11-12, only the Spirit can reveal “know the things” that God has provided for each discipleship & counseling session; v. 13, beware of man’s wisdom (Rom. 8:5-11) that is hateful of God, and instead seek God’s wisdom, seeing the spiritual dimension; v. 14, lost people can’t process spiritual truth, and need regeneration to do so.

 

Only Biblical Counselors & Disciplers

Can Deal with the Whole Person

 

Welcome to perhaps the greatest dimension of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship. This is the dimension that acknowledges God as Creator, and His Divinely-inspired Word: as the only authoritative and effective diagnosing and treatment guide for the human mind and emotions. There is no skill more needed, and more powerful that the Spirit-empowered Biblical Discipler & Counselor.

 

Now, watch as we compare how the Creator diagnoses and treats various disorders we as humans go through.

 

Physical Dimension

(Body/Organs/Senses)

  Spiritual Dimension

(Soul/Emotion, Mind/Spirit)

 

Organic Diseases

(Medical Treatment Needed)

 

   

Spiritual Disorders

(Divine Treatment Needed)

 
 
   

PTSD

   

Fear, Anger

 

 

 
 

BPD

   

Depression, impulsiveness

 
 

ADHD

   

Thoughts Captive, Discipline

 
 

Treat the medical, nutritional, and environmental needs of the person.

 

   

Render unto God the things that are God’s: the spiritual, non-material, mental, and emotional needs.

 

 
 

 

Since so much of current attention is focused upon mental disorders, that is disorders that are seated in the mind: who alone is able to enter and repair the mind? Humans or God, through His Spirit, and with His Word? That is the key question that needs to be answered as we face the tsunami of psychiatric brainwashing in our modern culture.

 

Only God can “fix” the mind, repair the soul, cleanse the spirit of guilt and filth, and seal our spiritual lives from demonic intrusion. The physical body can temporarily overwhelm the spiritual dimension of our lives (sickness, weariness, chemical interactions, and so on; but only God can restore, renew, regenerate, change, and keep the spiritual dimension, and that work is eternal, not temporary. God’s recovery program is described in His Word as sanctification.

 

Which View Do You Follow:

God’s or Man’s?

 

There are immense differences between Man’s Way of Seeing Human Problems and God’s Way of Seeing Human Problems.

 

Man’s View of Man God’s View of Humans
Human nature is basically good.

 

I am desperately wicked from birth (Jer. 17:9); and only by grace through faith can I be

Forgiven of My Incredible Mountain of Sin (1 John 1:7), and have a New Beginning (Jn. 3)

People have the answers to their problems inside them. I am Indwelt by the Spirit of God,

who gives Abundant Life (John 7, 10) and only He can explain my true problems (Romans 8:5-11)

The key to understanding and correcting a person’s attitudes and actions lies somewhere in that person’s past.

Individuals’ problems are the result of what someone else has done to them.

I am Chosen by God, I am Beloved by God (Ephesians 1), and only God can give me a

New Beginning (Genesis 41:51-52).

Human problems can be purely psychological in nature—unrelated to any spiritual or physical condition. I have been bought by God (1 Cor. 6), set free by Christ (Jn. 8), and need to see that all evil attitudes and activities start in the spiritual side of my being God calls my heart (Mark 7:21).
Deep-seated problems can be solved only by professional counselors using therapy. Only God can do spiritual heart replacements (Ezekiel 36:26-27); once I get this new heart I am Sealed & Kept by the Spirit of God (2 Cor. 1)
Scripture, prayer, and the Holy Spirit are inadequate and simplistic resources for solving certain types of problems. God has said that all things that pertain to my life and walk in godliness that pleases Him are tied to His Word, the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:1-4).
Man’s View of Man God’s View of Humans

 

The Central Lesson of Biblical Counseling: Seeing

Each Person’s Need, the Way God Sees Their Need

 

The heart of Biblical Counseling is that it is counseling that flows from God’s Way and not Man’s Way.

 

This month’s lessons have been all about our spiritual orientation and Biblical priority for understanding and living life.

 

That’s why we need to work on our mutual accountability with the G.R.O.W. card. This card states that we are maintaining our daily walk in four areas:

 

G (My Devotions):  Get the Word into our lives on a daily basis. This means I choose to take over my schedule and plan a daily application of the Word to my life (My Devotions);

 

R (My Prayers):  Reach out for the power of the Spirit by faith. This means I choose to focused, regular prayers for the grace and power to see God change me, and the others into whose lives I am called to investing my life (My Prayers);

 

O (My Sanctification):  Open my life to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This means I choose to plan regular memorization of the Word for Spirit-filled meditation, so that He can change me a little bit more each day (My Sanctification);

 

W (My Ministry):  Willingly opening the Word to others. This means I choose to prayerfully look for others that God will prepare and help me to nurture and admonish; which are the two elements of Biblical Disciple making and Counseling (My Ministry).

 

Conclusion

 

There is a physical and a spiritual dimension to every human illness, disorder, disease, and trouble. The physical dimension can and should be addressed by all available and ethical medical means. But, the spiritual dimension must not be overlooked, ignored, or scoffed at, unless the greatest available cure be neglected.

 

Take for instance the fear, depression, suicidal thoughts, and desperation of the mighty man of God named Elijah in . Used as he was by God, he was still 100% human. Despite prayers that could stop the rain for three plus years and then restart them, he was still 100% human, and subject to all the spiritual disabilities prompted by our fallen sinful flesh.

 

Did God come to Elijah and correct his spiritual errors, unbelief, and sinful feelings while he was debilitated physically? No. God first stabilized Elijah, and led him through a regimen of retreat, rest, nutrition, and compassionate care. Is there a place for medical, counseling, and mental health professionals? Yes. God has always advocated the use of medical means, but never to the exclusion of the greater, deeper, and most powerful treatments. These are the areas that the medicine, the therapy, and the doctors are powerless to change, and the realms to which they have NO access. These areas are the spiritual realms.

 

Our souls, spirits, emotions, and minds are off limits to the physical world. Only God is the Father of Spirits. Only God’s Word is able to heal the mind and soul. Only God can bring peace that passes understanding that guards ours hearts and minds. Only He can keep us in perfect peace by tethering our mind to His Eternal Presence that dwells within us.

 

 

Appendix

 

Now, look at Page 50:

 

God’s Word is changeless and is as powerful and applicable to you and your circumstances today as it was to those living thousands of years ago (based on Joshua 1:8; Psalm 19:7-11; 119:160; Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 24:35; Romans 15:4; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:24-25).

 

Page 53

The Holy Spirit is your Guide, your Instructor, and your sensitive Counselor who reveals the wisdom of God to you (based on John 14:16, 26; 16:7-13; 1 Corinthians 2:6-13).

 

Page 56

Prayer gives you opportunity to praise God and to request His divine intervention in your life and/or the lives of others. Prayer allows you to glorify His Name and also provides an avenue for you to be filled with joy (based on Psalm 65:2,145:1; Matthew 7:7; John 14:13, 16:23-24; Hebrews 13:15; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14-25).

 

Page 60

This week’s lesson will become a valuable reference tool for you to use in the future. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in determining what is especially beneficial for you and what will help you help others (based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Ephesians 5:15-16; James 1:5).

 

Page 61

This week’s lesson should become a valuable reference tool for you to use in the future. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in determining what is especially beneficial for you and what will help you help others (based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Ephesians 5:15-16; James 1:5).

 

 

Psychiatric Disorders from the DSM-IV

Mood Disorders (Common Characteristics): The disorders in this category include those where the primary symptom is a disturbance in mood.  In other words, inappropriate, exaggerated, or limited range of feelings.  Everybody gets down sometimes, and everybody experiences a sense of excitement and emotional pleasure.  To be diagnosed with a mood disorder, your feelings must be to the extreme.  In other words, crying, and/or feeling depressed, suicidal frequently.  Or, the opposite extreme, having excessive energy where sleep is not needed for days at a time and during this time the decision making process in significantly hindered.

 

Disorders in this Category: Bipolar Disorder; Cyclothymic Disorder; Dysthymic Disorder; Major Depressive Disorder

 

Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression)

 

Category: Mood Disorders

 

Etiology: Research has shown a strong biological component for this disorder, with environmental factors playing a role in the exacerbation of symptoms.

 

Symptoms: Bipolar Disorder has been broken down into two types:

  • Bipolar I: For a diagnosis of Bipolar I disorder, a person must have at least one manic episode. Mania is sometimes referred to as the other extreme to depression. Mania is an intense high where the person feels euphoric, almost indestructible in areas such as personal finances, business dealings, or relationships. They may have an elevated self-esteem, be more talkative than usual, have flight of ideas, a reduced need for sleep, and be easily distracted. The high, although it may sound appealing, will often lead to severe difficulties in these areas, such as spending much more money than intended, making extremely rash business and personal decisions, involvement in dangerous sexual behavior, and/or the use of drugs or alcohol. Depression is often experienced as the high quickly fades and as the consequences of their activities becomes apparent, the depressive episode can be exacerbated.
  • Bipolar II: Similar to Bipolar I Disorder, there are periods of highs as described above and often followed by periods of depression. Bipolar II Disorder, however is different in that the highs are hypo manic, rather than manic. In other words, they have similar symptoms but they are not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning and typically do not require hospitalization in order to assure the safety of the person.

Treatment: Medication, such as Lithium, is typically prescribed for this disorder and is the corner stone of treatment. Therapy can be useful in helping the client understand the illness and it’s consequences and be better able to know when a manic or depressive episode is imminent and to prepare for this. As with all disorders, poor coping skills and lack of support will make the illness more pronounced, and this is often a focus of therapeutic treatment.

 

Prognosis: For more severe cases, prognosis is poor in terms of ’curing’ the illness, as most people need to remain on medication for their entire lives. The manic episodes may slow down as a result of the natural aging process. With medication, the illness can be kept at a minimum level, with some people not experiencing any overt symptoms for months and even years. However, there are definitely varying degrees of this illness and it is not difficult to misdiagnose due to it’s similarity to other mood disorders.  If the illness is not severe, often times medication and therapy can do very well in terms of treatment.  And, life experience, strong support, and an openness to improve can be enough sometimes to make a difference in outcome.

[1] (American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV)

[2] http://psychology.about.com/od/psychotherapy/f/faq_dsm.htm

 

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