Psychologizing

Why does God allow men, even His chosen flock, to endure a life of flesh with all its travails and deceits, pitfalls and futilities when He has already and enduringly saved them from the flesh and resurrected their members to new life in the Spirit?

Though my spirit has been quickened to life by His Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, my flesh is still dead and indeed perishing. {Rom 8:10} I can, however, “choose” to live in my flesh and have my thoughts arrayed against the Lord’s, or I can “choose” to set my mind on the things of the spirit and walk accordingly so that it may please God who ransomed me from the snare of sin and death.

Why does God allow men, even His chosen flock, to endure the life of flesh with all its travails and deceits, pitfalls and futilities when He has already and enduringly saved them from the flesh and resurrected their members to a new life in the Spirit? “Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, ‘Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to Me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.’ The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; He did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.” {Judges 2:20-23} Further, “These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.” {Judges 3:1-4} In much the same way does God leave His flock in the flesh of sin, not perpetually or as an everlasting punishment or some divine though arbitrary whim from a sovereign God who delights in seeing His children suffer but so that they might also experience the parenthetical in the verse (2) above: “He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had no previous battle experience.” So it is with us who have metaphorically crossed over the Jordan and have conquered many of the enemies that formerly beset us in our prior life, but yet not all have been conquered nor in all likelihood ever persistently will – why? So that we as His chosen might be taught how to war in the spirit by the Spirit upon whom we must in all things rely and not upon ourselves who will eventually give way and fail, disappoint, anger, and betray if not for the “Spirit who helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” {Rom 8:26} “Therefore He (Christ) is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them.” {Heb 7:25}

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ {Psalm 44:22}

… In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Rom 8:31-39}

Perhaps one of the most troubling if not the most troubling trend within the body of Christ today is the “psychologizing” of nearly every arena of the life of the Spirit that can be expressed in and by a single individual. Indeed, it seems that nearly every pulpit preaches not the free, blessed news of the Gospel of Christ but the clever psychologicalization of nearly every sin and mental aberration that might be had in the modern human soul. Indeed, virtually every spiritual or emotional malady can be attributed to the shortcomings of one’s upbringing or the failures of parents to provide for their children the most “ideal” life of love, support, encouragement, and affection that could at all be conceived, and that such shortcomings need some sort of “spiritual” healing or resuscitation. Yet, I have not heard a single, clear definition of this idyllic upbringing that might be applied to all children everywhere. I haven’t heard it nor have you, because there isn’t one. Truly, in our headlong lust to pass the blame of God’s oft-treacherous will for our lives onto some other source, which, as stated, is usually our parents who were not “perfect” nor should have expected to be, we miss the plain fact that those were the parents and the family and the upbringing that God had chosen for us, no matter how difficult or damaging the familial situation might have been or presently be. If anyone should be psychologized in these myriad instances it should be God who did the ultimate willing and ordaining, not necessarily the parents, siblings, extended family, what have you. In demonizing our parents and in damning each one of our upbringings – even those which were comparably horrendous – we, in addition to breaking the fifth commandment to “honor thy father and mother” despite and even because of their shortcomings, create an unnecessary and destructive division between the familial generations whose recompense will surely be visited on the man who does the dishonoring and also upon his offspring. The commandment did not allow for the retreat of a condition “honor they father and mother, {only if they provided you a safe and secure home} or what-have-you.” Again, the fact remains, the ideal parental tutelage has not been defined once and for all, not even various archetypes of what an ideal upbringing should be given the host of factors that a child inherently needs (or thinks they need, in hindsight). If the Spirit foresaw all this silly modern insistence on “inner healing” and “spiritual counseling” then it stands to reason that He would have been more explicit through the crafting of His Word to man on how one should “train up a child in the way he should go: {so that} when he is old, he will not depart from it.” {Prov. 22:6} But explicit and unambiguous help for parents is scant given. From this scantness comes all manner of “inner healing” proscriptions from pseudo-shrinks who have no business diagnosing the spiritual sufferings that ail us, much less proscribing certain courses of action one should take to mitigate the ongoing consequences of the supposed failures of one’s parents and inner family.