Friday, October 1, 2010
Winning the War of the Mind
Recently we've mentioned that God has been revealing to us the power of the mind and attitude. These affect every aspect of our lives, especially including our interpersonal relationships. Today we ran across this article which explains this theory very well with the underlying biblical truths. Please take the time to read it in full. Our thanks to Heather Hodges-Harris of Meier Clinics in Richardson, Texas (featured above).
"It's often difficult to reconcile the worlds of psychology and Christian theology. Much of psychology is filled with humanistic ideas that exclude the need we have as broken humans for a savior. I struggled as a young grad student with these concepts until I began to study Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). A light went on and all of a sudden, I could see that many biblical views could be easily assimilated into this therapy. Not only has REBT been a tool I have used with success for years to help others with depression, anxiety, compulsive behaviors, and much more, it has also been a tool I have used in my own life to continue my personal growth with God and others.
The idea that our minds are a battlefield, on which good and evil wage war, has long been a truth that Christians for many generations have understood. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "...we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus." Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Our mind gives birth to ideas on which we may choose to act, and our emotions tend to follow our thoughts. This principle in REBT is the foundation of the therapy. Our attitudes, our beliefs, our thoughts, the way we think about events and the meanings we give them, directly affect how we feel and behave.
In REBT, self examination is critical in the process of stopping negative thoughts which precipitate negative beliefs which may then turn into negative behaviors. The idea is that if we can stop the negativity going on in our heads, we can also stop our negative behaviors; therefore, we are not helpless nor are we captive to our genetics or predispositions over which we have no power. Instead, we have the power to change and stop the cycle of destructive behaviors and attitudes. This is exactly what Paul was talking about when he wrote in Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." It is noteworthy that he wrote this while in prison under conditions that would make any normal person depressed!
Although it often feels like we are helpless, we are not. We have been given the power of the Holy Spirit and therefore the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). It is our responsibility as Christians to "choose this day whom we will serve" (Joshua 24:15), to actively pursue our sinful behaviors and examine ourselves to determine if we are striving toward the finish line in a manner that would be pleasing to our Lord (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). It is such a comfort to know that his power is made perfect in our weakness and that his grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).
May the Lord continue to remind us of the reality that our thoughts are more than passing personal cognitions. Our thoughts are the fertile soil in which our behaviors grow. May we seek Him in our weakness and find that he is more than enough to overcome every addiction, every negative behavior, every broken heart and relationship."
Have a great weekend!