For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD (Isaiah 55:9).
The very fact that God’s ways are higher than our ways has important implications in both salvation (justification) and Christian growth (sanctification). God’s plan of salvation is an example of how His ways are higher and therefore different from man’s ways. His plan was the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, which is quite beyond the imagination and comprehension of the human mind. Human wisdom relies on self-improvement, salvation by works, or some other such human endeavor. God’s ways are also higher and different regarding how Christians are to think, speak, and act; how they are to relate to one another; and how they are to handle problems of living.
Increasingly during the past 50 years, Christian sanctification has been thwarted through psychological counseling theories and techniques. Mistakenly supposing that psychotherapy (counseling psychology) is science and that its findings concerning the human condition are true, Christian leaders, pastors, teachers, and authors have embraced this “enlightened” means of helping Christians deal with problems of living and learn how to become better marriage partners and parents. Gleaning from the wisdom of men regarding the hidden psyche, Christians have sought to improve their lot in ways that are lower than God’s ways with ideas that often conflict with or undermine the revelation of God’s Word given in Scripture.
Thus, we have to ask: How many Christians are being stunted in their Christian growth by attempting to improve themselves and their circumstances through psychological counseling? How many are applying psychological wisdom about how to understand themselves and others, how to relate to one another, how to solve problems of living, how to capitalize on their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, and how to accept, love, and esteem themselves?
Such a focus is turned inward and inside out. As professing Christians focus on themselves and analyze themselves according to various psychological theories that have become commonplace in our culture, they will become shortsighted and lose the vision of God’s plans for recreating them in the image of Christ. They will also become desperately deceived about themselves, about their circumstances, about one another, and about God Himself, because “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). In fact it is so deceitful that the phrase “who can know it?” comes at the end of the verse. The very next verse then answers that question: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 17:10). This verse reveals how foolish it is for man to attempt to know and understand the inner depths of a person apart from God’s Word.
Human theories about the psyche are contaminated by the deceitful and wicked heart of whatever theorists devised them. If Freud, Jung, Adler, Ellis, Rogers, and all the other personality theorists possess hearts that are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” and don’t even know God, what can they possibly have to say of benefit regarding the new life of a Christian? Extending it further, what benefits from the psychological counseling cisterns do Christians who have been imbibing those theories have to offer other Christians? This contamination has permeated the whole body just as a bit of leaven permeates the whole loaf to the point where Christians look to “Christian psychologists” to understand themselves and to improve themselves as Christians, marriage partners, and parents. They look to them for nearly everything regarding people and relationships.
Followers of Jesus Christ need to look somewhere other than psychological counseling theories and therapies for living the Christian life. Looking at themselves through any other means than the Bible itself will lead the Christian in the wrong direction. Moreover, if the believer truly wants to grow in the Christian walk, the direction of the focus needs to be redirected to God.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-9).
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, January-February 2006, Vol. 14, No. 1)