A personal message to our fellow believers . . .
Are you a frustrated Christian . . .
. . . struggling with the disconnect between what you know Scripture says about your problem — but not seeing it work in your own life?
It can be frustrating as a Christian to know what the Bible says about a given matter and yet not be able to get it to work for you.
It’s not because you don’t believe what Scripture teaches. You do. And it’s not because you don’t pray for God’s help. You do that too.
But something has you stuck. And it’s eating away at your quality of life.
Maybe it’s a traumatic memory from childhood. Maybe it’s an addiction to worry. Or maybe your self-image is shattered, or there’s someone you just can’t forgive.
On top of it all, you secretly feel like a failure as a believer. As one Christian client recently put it, “I just can’t seem to pull off what I know the Bible says about this. What am I doing wrong?”
What’s worse, we’ve found that if a believer struggles with this long enough, they usually end up in one of two camps:
1. “There must be something wrong with me or my faith because I can’t overcome my biggest problems — even though Scripture speaks directly to them.”
2. “I’ve tried and tried but it just doesn’t work for me . . . and I’m beginning to secretly fear whether it really works at all.”
For 20 years I searched for an answer to a question that was causing me a great deal of intellectual curiosity and more than a little spiritual frustration. Simply put, my question was this: Why is it that Scripture tells us what to do, but rarely includes how to do it?
And I’m being honest when I tell you that I wrestled with this on and off for 20 years before (finally!) getting clarity.
Let me save you 20 years and give you my observation right here. The reason Scripture usually gives us the what but not the how is this:
The Bible is a book of precept, not process.
That is to say, it often tells us what to do, but seldom how to do it.
A precept is a general principle intended to regulate thought and behavior.
The Bible is full of precepts for living — principles intended to guide us toward getting the best out of life. Let me give you just three examples:
There are probably a number of reasons why we are given the what and not the how, but I think two are primary:
1. If the Bible gave us the process for each precept, it would be about the size of an old-school set of encyclopedias!
2. This absence of process encourages us to pursue wisdom, seek insight, and discover application.
So . . . what about the HOW?
This is where psychology enters the picture. Psychology is a tool — a very useful tool — that helps with the how. Psychology gives insight about Process.
It appears to be part of the divine plan that PROCESS be left for science to discover. (The validity of this statement is supported at the end of this page.)
The following illustration shows what I mean:
Let’s look at this from a different angle. Let’s think briefly about the world of medical science. Scripture speaks of medicinal intervention (Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses*) and even physicians (the Apostle Luke was a doctor). But the Bible does not purport to be a medical manual. Again, imagine how many volumes it would fill if that were the case!
Rather, medical advancement and interventions are left for medical science to discover . . . just as the psychological dimensions of life are left — in terms of process — for the science of psychology to discover.
*1 Tim 5:23
The problem is that most spiritual leaders (pastors and teachers) are only equipped to deal with our spiritual needs. And most psychologists, counselors, and therapists are only equipped to address our psychological needs.
As a result, they each tend to view the human condition from their arena alone.
But any successful and lasting response to psychospiritual challenges like anxiety, hurt, and anger — must address both our spiritual and our psychological needs.
Each member of our team holds degrees in both theology and psychological counseling. This equips us to seamlessly integrate biblical precepts with psychological processes to help our clients navigate life’s challenges and provide insight and direction for their psychospiritual growth.
By combining the precepts of Scripture with the best evidence-based methodologies of psychology, we flesh out the path that takes you from precept through process to that all-important lasting change.
You see, it’s just as Proverbs 25:2 says,
God delights in concealing things; [precepts]
scientists delight in discovering things. [process]
Precepts and Process — This is our spiritual focus at GRO
The Message translation
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