The New Year can mean many things to different people: new resolutions (such as those that failed last year), new plans and aspirations, another year older, or even the same old, same old. But for those of us who have been given New Life in Christ, the New Year is a reminder that God is the One who gives us each new day, week, month, year, and each new moment to grow in our knowledge of Him and to trust Him to live His life in and through us by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Through the years we have stood for the sufficiency of Scripture for life and godliness with the understanding that Scripture reveals God, His Gospel, His means of salvation and sanctification. The Scripture is sufficient because it is the very revelation of God, who He is and what He does in and through His children.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:2-4).
Because God has provided all that is necessary for the new life in Christ to be lived by grace through faith, there is no need to substitute or supplement God’s Word and Christ’s life in the believer with psychotherapy and its underlying theories. In fact, such additions are actually subtractions because they only work at the fleshly level. God’s Word speaks clearly about how to live and how to deal with problems of living:
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving (Col. 2:6-7).
Paul continues with a warning:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Col. 2:8).
Psychotherapy fits Paul’s description of “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Psychotherapy and its underlying theories are not science. Rather, they are ideas formed in people’s minds, some of which may have been based on observation, but nevertheless it is the subjective wisdom of men. Such wisdom of men is a poor substitute for the rich promise found in the following verses: “For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10). Believers are complete in Him! But when they add the wisdom of men they are dwelling less in the fullness of Christ and more in the flesh.
We need to remember who He is in us. Thus, we continue to emphasize the word “daily.” Daily in the Word. Daily in prayer and worship. Daily:
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As the New Year is upon us, we want to remind all of us to give ourselves to Christ daily, for He has purchased us. We are not our own.
Being daily in the Word reminds us of the depth of relationship for which God has designed us. He invites us to enjoy a oneness of abiding in Him. Jesus said:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing
Jesus does the fruit bearing in our lives as we abide in Him. Abiding is simply being in Him, living in Him, and being available for Him to act in and through us. Jesus is faithful to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5), but He does not force us to abide. We must choose to abide daily and even moment by moment.
Remember that we are a new race, born of God (John 1:12-13). “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). May we all live by His life today by grace through faith and look forward to that day when we will see Him face to face:
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3).
How glorious! However, because the flesh is ever with us, we all need reminders of God’s precious promises and practical provisions. After describing how we have all things necessary to live the Christian life by grace through faith, Peter says:
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance” (2 Peter 1:12-13).
Such reminders are especially important as each new year brings new challenges. When the children of Israel were finally ready to enter the promised land, they were given specific instructions as to how to cross the Jordan:
When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore (Joshua 3:3-4).
Not only did the children of Israel have the challenge of crossing over the Jordan; they faced a land filled with much opposition and fierce enemies. They had to keep their eyes on the ark, which represented the very presence of God.
What a picture of the Christian life! While there may be certain familiarity about our surroundings and activities, we nevertheless “have not passed this way heretofore.” We do not know what may be on the horizon of our circumstances, but Jesus knows. He will lead us as we keep “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). We are called to a walk of faith that has both opportunities and challenges. While we “have not passed this way heretofore,” may we anticipate Christ to work His will in and through us, since we are His earthly vessels.
May we all remember the truth of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) and walk according to the Spirit throughout the days to come, daily keeping our spiritual eyes on Him until that day when faith shall become sight and we shall see Him face to face.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, January-February 2015, Vol. 23, No. 1)