- Chapter 25
- Chapter 26
- Chapter 27
- Chapter 28
- Chapter 29
- Chapter 30
- Chapter 31
- Chapter 32
From Slavery of Life Dominating Problems
Those problems which have occurred for a lengthy period of time and which have come to define one's character, may be viewed as life dominating problem. These may include such problems as pornography, anger/rage, fearfulness/timidity, alcohol/drug abuse, deceitfulness, dishonesty, selfishness/self-centeredness, lust, chronic depression, profanity, overspending, boastfulness/arrogance, stealing, gossip/slander, violent behavior, overeating...etc... and many other similar problems, which within our culture are typically viewed as addictions.
The Bible does not reference addictions or dependencies, but refers to such life dominating problem as sinful habits. Whatever we are immersed ourselves in or give ourselves over to, determines our thoughts, which determines our emotions, which determines our behaviors, which determines our behavioral patterns or habits, which determines our character, and determines where we end up in life. Most psychological theories suggest that if we deal with only an external or superficial change, that we may shift our symptoms or develop an alternative behavioral problem or symptom which may be worse than the first. In Biblical therapy, we need to take the approach of first changing our heart, through remorse for putting our ways above God's ways and for violating our relationship with God, confessing our sinful habits, and repentance or turning 180° from our sin life, and adopting a new behavioral pattern which is pleasing to God. If we merely take off old habits without replacing them with positive ones, we may end up worse than we were before. See section on Throw Offs/Put Ons.
I have the following life dominating problem(s) that keeps me enslaved, and that interferes with my relationship with God and with others:
From a Biblical perspective we are responsible for all sinful actions, even those that appear to be addictions. We become slaves to whatever values, beliefs, behaviors, impulses, people, indulgences, or habits that we give ourselves over to. I may not be responsible for being an alcoholic, but I am responsible for my recovery. I may not be responsible for my depression, but I am responsible for shutting down and not functioning. If I give in to my temptations, I strengthen my problem by rehearsing it over and over again, I feed it, and it grows, consuming a larger portion of my life.
From a Biblical perspective, no matter how serious or long-standing our sin habit has been, it can be overcome. We are to flee, turn 180° and go in the opposite direction, and maintain total abstinence from the sin habit.
We have the ability to change. We can Throw Off giving into sinful behaviors and we can Put On being obedient to Biblical precepts, the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit in every area of our life. The results will be a changed life. What seems overwhelming or impossible to do alone, if we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can do with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Practice is essential to any change in habit. This requires making a thorough and detailed log of our sin life, our triggers, and listing when, where, and how we commit our life dominating sin. We need to develop a specific cognitive behavioral recovery plan for Throw Offs and Put Ons in each situation. We need to be intentional and deliberate about our change. Like learning to play an instrument or perfecting any skill, practice, practice, practice is essential.
Biblical Passages Related to Overcoming Life Dominating Problems and Obtaining Freedom
Romans 6:16 Don't you know that when you offer yourself to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death (literal or spiritual), or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bare. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Romans 8:12-13 So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. Romans 2:6-9 God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil... 1
Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanders, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were, but you were washed, you were sanctified, and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Matthew 3:8 Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with the godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourselves for spiritual fitness. For physical training is of some value, but spiritual exercise has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course you fail the test?
Galatians 5:22-23 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Ephesians 4:21-24 Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him and in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regards to your former way of life, to Put Off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be Made New in the attitude of your minds, and to Put On the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.
Colossians 3:5-10 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God's terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when you're life was still part of this world. But now it is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language from your lips. Don't lie to each other, for you have Stripped Off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourself with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.
I commit to Throwing Off, not practicing, starving, and maintaining total abstinence from the following life dominating problem(s):
I will commit to the following spiritual exercises, Put On the mind of Christ, and practice the following spiritual disciplines in order to obtain freedom from my life dominating problem(s):
I will select and commit to memory the following Biblical life verse to aid me in my victory over slavery to my life dominating problem:
Overcoming Childhood Traumas
Many Types and Sizes of Traumas
Many adults that I see in therapy, and many adults that are activate in self-help recovery groups, have experienced childhood traumas. Traumas can differ significantly in severity and longevity. Some children experience the breakup of the family through parental separation or divorce. Others grew up in families where there was anger, rage, and/or violence. Many experience emotional, verbal, physical, and/or sexual abuse from inside or outside of their family, feeling unprotected by their parents. Some children grow up with alcohol and/or drug dependent parents or older siblings, experiencing chaos, conflict, and drama. Some children grow up in families where a parent has severe mental illness with psychosis, bipolar disorder, major depression, or even suicide. Other children experience the premature loss or death of a parent or sibling. Some have been abandoned and/or taken from their parents to be placed in foster care or adoption. Even children being adopted into good families have a higher incidence of mental health problems. Children may also experience being teased, harassed, or bullied.
There are many forms of trauma. It is not the size of the trauma, but the impact of the trauma, that is significant in shaping the emotional, mental, behavioral, and relational character of traumatized individual. (See Biblical Therapy case example, Damage Self-Esteem/the Impact of Harsh Words). Joe grew up in a stable family with good parents. His father was busy working providing for the family. Whenever Joe wanted to spend time with his father, father would say “shoo you're in my way and under my feet”. Most of us would admit that this was not a major trauma. However for Joe, as an adolescent and as a young adult, he experienced feelings of damaged self-esteem, feeling that he was in people's way and under their feet. He would withdraw from interacting with others. To interact with others was perceived by Joe as being intrusive and that he would be unwanted. Moderately harsh words, significantly impacted Joe's emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and relational character.
Normal Feeling Responses to Abnormal Traumatic Situation
One normal or typical response to growing up with childhood trauma is to become fearful and develop anxiety, panic attacks, or in severe situations even agoraphobia. Others become depressed, blame themselves for their role in the trauma, shut down, or in severe situations have suicidal urges or suicide attempts. Some who experienced prolonged stress, developed chronic stress with psychological and physical health problems such as pounding or racing heart, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, stomach distress with severe constipation or diarrhea, high blood pressure, chronic migraine headaches, lowered immune system, and other chronic health problems. Chronic stress can also worsen health care problems such as multiple sclerosis or cancer and other chronic health conditions.
Another typical response to childhood trauma is to develop mental status problems such as inability to focus or lack of concentration. Children, while at school, maybe more focused on or worrying about what's happening at home or in their family. By normal responses I do not necessarily mean healthy responses, only typical or expected outcomes from childhood trauma. Dysfunctional Adaptive Patterns and Avoidance/Escape Patterns Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to (spiritual or physical) death. Children, adolescents, and adults who have gone through traumas, commonly develop dysfunctional patterns to cope, adapt, or avoid being re-traumatized. Many turn to alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications and abuse or become dependent in order to change the way they feel. Some seek love, affection, and attention by coming sexually active at an early age, developing a pattern of sexual promiscuity and seeking love in all the wrong places. Others engage in overspending, or what I refer to as retail therapy, in order to feel better. Some may alter their mood by becoming involved in high risk behaviors such as gambling to seek an adrenaline rush and to feel high. Many will overeact and use comfort food to self soothe when they are feeling unwanted emotions. Others may develop sociopathic tendencies with anger, rage, rebelliousness, disrespect, defiance, and/or violence, becoming part of the criminal justice system. Some become chronically depressed, shut down, and do not function. Others become chronically anxious, frozen, fearful, avoidant, and develop a timid character. Others pursue pornography and extramarital affairs. Others act out their emotions and become emotionally labile with behavioral and relational problem. Some may become codependent, becoming hyper-vigilant at reading and managing the emotions of others in order to feel safe. Although it is important not to blame the victim, because they may have been adversely impacted or damaged by the bad choices of others, as older adolescents and adults we become responsible for what we do, the choices we make, and how we react to past traumas. We may not be responsible for what we went through, but we are responsible for our reactions to traumatic events and for our own recovery.
My dysfunctional adaptive or avoidant pattern for coping with unwanted feelings that I need to Throw Off:
Choosing Functional Adaptive Patterns and Making Positive Choices
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.
Isaiah 55:8-9 My thoughts are completely different from your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
If you have made the choice to become a Christian, and have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and thereby receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, you can have victory over trauma and its consequences. You can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish together what you could not accomplish on your own. There are several powerful spiritual approaches to overcoming childhood traumas: You can use your traumatic experience as a way of developing strength, perseverance, and a godly character. God created you in His image. He gave you your physical appearance, your intellect, your emotions, your capacity for relationship, and allowed you to go through your life experiences, both good and bad. He did this all for His purpose.
Knowing that you are God's unique creation, and that you have a specific purpose and mission to accomplish for Him, is the antidote for damaged self-esteem, anxiety, anger, and depression. You are useful to God, just as you are, without being perfect. You are important to God. Accepting this reality, not only in our head but also in our heart, cannot help but promote positive self-esteem. God is sovereign, he allows us to go through trials and tribulations, and if we manage these correctly, we will develop strength, character, perseverance, and draw closer in our relationship to him. Give some thought as to how you have grown as a result of your trauma and how God might use you in a capacity that is specifically unique to you.
I believe that God can use me as a unique tool, different than anyone else, to accomplish the following purpose:
Psychological research on past versus recent traumas suggests that recent traumas respond well to critical incident stress debriefing, whereas past traumas respond better by looking in the windshield rather than looking in the rearview mirror. If we keep looking in the past, dwelling on our past traumas, it is like rehearsing, practicing, and strengthening the impact of the trauma in our life. It is important to develop a windshield/strategic life plan, using all of our attributes in the service of God.
We should be prayerful and allow for God to direct and redirect us and for the Holy Spirit to both empower and equip us. I have had many therapy patients who were alcoholic or drug addicts who became alcoholic and drug counselors. Children who were severely teased, harassed, and bullied have become teachers, guidance counselors, and advocates for the protection of children. I have had sexually abused boys and girls who became very engaged and protective parents. We cannot only overcome, but we can have victory by utilizing the traumatic experience, to develop our character in a positive direction in the service of God. We do not have to be perfect tools to be used by Jesus.
A second way to respond to past traumas is to go through a process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus, but at the same time not expecting to be perfect like Jesus. Most good psychology comes from the Bible. Stop thought is not enough and must be coupled with thought substitution. Stopping a behavior is not enough and must be coupled with substituting a positive behavioral change. In Biblical terms with must Throw Off our negative sinful thoughts and behaviors and Put On positive holy thoughts and behaviors. If we are self-centered we must Put On thinking of others. If we are selfish we must Put On generosity. If we are angry we must Put On patience. If we are depressed we must Put On joy. If we are anxious we must Put On peace. If we struggle with life dominating problems we can Put On freedom. We can learn to Take Off automatic cognitive distortions and Take Off automatic negative responses. We can also learn to Put On the mind of Christ, and Put On a daily gratitude list or a blessings inventory.
See section on Biblical Therapy Case Examples: Anger/Foul Language. In that chapter I shared my own anger and foul language as a result of my automatic negative cognitive distortions that I should never be inconvenienced or deterred from accomplishing my goals. I develop tunnel vision and a loss of perspective on how awful things are in the moment. Once I start going down that path, I need to Throw Off my automatic negative cognitive distortions, which are sinful, and Put On the mind of Christ, looking where God's hand is in my life and focus on his many blessings. My automatic negative response is a violation of my relationship with God which involves complaining, anger, and profanity. It is putting my way and what I want above what God wants. My behavior at that time constitutes a sinful childhood tantrum. At the time I am not even aware that I am sinning. Imagine Apostle Paul when he was imprisoned. He did not mumble and complain and ask God why he was imprisoned after all he had done in the service of the Lord. But rather he chose to preach to the temple guard, write letters to the churches, and to preach to visitors. Not exactly what I would have done. I more than likely would have complained to the Lord about His unfairness and His failure to reward me for my service. We have a choice: to continue in our sinful patterns or to Throw Off sin and seek a process of sanctification and Put On holiness.
I will commit to the following choices in the process of sanctification:
A third way to have victory over childhood traumas is to seek where God's hand is in our life, past, present, and future, and join Him in his work. When we look over our past life, we can review our history from a spiritual perspective, thinking about where God intervened and perhaps what He was up to at that time.
With prayer and thoughtfulness, we can develop a present spiritual perspective on where God's hand is and where he is currently operating within our life. What we personally may experience as a derailment or misfortune in our life, frequently results in a positive change in the course of our life or in our character. See section on Biblical Therapy Case Examples. Remember the case of Mark, whose identity was inextricably connected to his job and his vocation. After being let go from several jobs, he came to redefine his identity and his value by who he was rather than by what he produced. He also learned to slow down and smell the roses. Remember the case of Judy who grew up with a verbally abusive father, teased and harassed at school, and betrayed by her boyfriend. After being mistreated for years as if she were nothing, she came to accept God's yardstick for measuring human beings, that she was in fact enough, and that she could be used in His service, becoming a teacher and protector of children.
With prayer and spiritual eyes, we can look for where God is currently working and how we might shape our future lives to join him in his work. That is precisely why I am writing this book. Now, put on your spiritual eyes, be prayerful, and look for the future direction for your life to join God in his work. This should be a mission that you have been prepared for throughout your life and that you are uniquely created and equipped to perform as a result of your life experiences, including any traumas.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
I believe that God wants to use me in the next chapter of my life, to join him in the following project:
A Hopeful Message about Salvation
Individuals who suffer from severe anxiety, guilt, shame, and depression, not uncommonly contemplate suicide, their future on this earth, and afterlife. Many individuals in therapy believe that they have been so terrible, that they have lived their lives in such a sinful way, that there is no way possible for them to be forgiven or to get into heaven. They may have committed a horrific act in their past and believe that salvation is now unobtainable.
I sometimes have feelings that I am, or have been, too bad to get into heaven because:
Biblically, Let Us Examine the Position of, Too Bad to Be Saved or to Get into Heaven:
1 John 1:7 But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.
1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
Romans 5:16 And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of one man's sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins.
Acts 10:42-43 And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is ordained of God to be the judge of all - the living and the dead. He is the one who all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through his name.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve Him, even though I used to scoff at the name of Christ. I hunted down his people, harming them in every way I could. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord! He filled me completely with the faith and love of Christ Jesus. This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - and I was the worst of them all. But this is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life.
108 Luke 15:7 In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and have not strayed away
Matthew 9:12-13 When he heard this, Jesus replied, Healthy people do not need a doctor - sick people do. Then He added, Now go and learn the meaning of the Scripture: I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices, for I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.
Romans 10:13 For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved
Romans 3:22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are or what we have done.
On the other hand, many individuals believe that they may be saved, and have eternal life in heaven, because they have been a good person. They believe that they have done nothing terribly wrong, and that they have not been very bad in comparison to other people. Some have a generic spiritual life with a vague belief system that a "higher power" exists. Some believe that everyone goes to heaven. They may also believe that they will go to heaven because they treat others relatively well. This is the belief that one can earn their way to heaven through good works or good deeds.
I feel that I am, or have been, good enough to go to heaven because:
Biblically Let Us Examine the Position of Salvation by Good Works or Everyone Goes to Heaven:
Romans 3:20 For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what His law commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it becomes that we are not obeying it.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Romans 3:21-22 But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight - not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in the same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
Isaiah 64:4-64 Since the world began, no ear has heard, no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for Him! You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways. But we are not godly. We are constant sinners, so your anger is heavy on us. How can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweeps us away.
Philippians 3:8-11 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it at all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with Him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
Titus 3:4-7 But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.
Romans 5:20-21 God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful kindness became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:6-11 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ who died for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God - all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:3 Jesus replied, I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the kingdom of God.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me...
John 1:12-13 But to all who believe in Him (Jesus) and accept Him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they need to do is to trust Him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn. This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan - this rebirth comes from the will of God.
Galatians 2:20-21 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, for even why we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, so we were seated with him in the heavenly realms- all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as an example of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness towards us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus. God save you by his special favor when you believed. And you cannot take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Of course there is a place for good works in the Bible. Good works should be abundant and in appreciation for being saved by faith, not performed in the hope of being good enough to be saved. The whole New Testament reveals that good works or good deeds without faith, is dead. Dead in the Bible refers to both literal death, or in this instance, spiritual death, meaning eternal separation from God. Our good works, however, will never be sufficient to earn our way into heaven. After all, how good is good enough? A proper reading of the Old Testament also shows that God's chosen people, such as Noah, Moses, Abraham, Joseph,... etc. were saved by trusting God and acting obediently on their faith.
James 2:20 Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is dead?
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
The New American Standard Bible (NASB)Lays out a
Clear Process for Salvation:
In his mercy, God has determined that salvation is a free gift. To receive it, you need only do the following:
- Acknowledge your problem of separation from God because of your sin.
- Admit to being a sinner, and that you are in need of salvation from outside of yourself.
- Confess that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin; that He willingly made the sacrifice.
- Commit yourself to Jesus Christ so that he may save you (Savior) and guide you (Lord).
- Receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, right now.
Romans 10:9 ... and that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:13 For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
A Prayer to Receive Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior: You can say this prayer right here, right now.
Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned against you and that I have not lived according to your plan. Therefore, I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died for me, and in doing so, you paid the debt for my sins. I repent of my sins and now I want to live the kind of life that you want me to live. I ask you to come into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Help me to follow you and to obey you as Lord. Allow me to discover your good and perfect will for my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Your personal decision: On this date _________________, I __________________________
accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. You have now received eternal life!
When you prayed to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord of your life, He heard you, and several things took place:
1) Your sins were forgiven.
Colossians 2:13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all your sins.
2) You became a child of God.
John 1:12 But to all who believe Him and accept Him, He gave the right to become children of God.
3) You received eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
You may have many strong feelings because of your decision to become a Christ follower, but do not let yourself be carried away by your emotions because your feelings can change from day-to-day. Accepting Christ is not meant to be your destination. It is the beginning of a new life, of being born again. Becoming more like Christ, through obedience to his Word, the Bible, is a lifelong process. It is a process of sanctification.
Talk and have fellowship with God daily through prayer and through reading the Bible. It is also helpful to join a Bible based church and attempt to have fellowship with other Christians, so that you can receive support and spiritual guidance from mature believers. The church is not a building, but believers who are the body of Christ. This is the beginning of an abundant life on earth that Jesus Christ came to offer. It is also helpful to serve others. You do not have to be perfect to serve.
Once having assurance of salvation, all earthly things pale in significance. Things that we used to worry about and feel anxious about, and situations and circumstances that we became depressed about or angry about, seem to no longer hold much importance. We look for God's sovereignty in all situations. Through obedience to the Lord, we can overcome anxiety, depression, anger, and life dominating problems that consume us. We can also learn to have healthy relationships. Through the Holy Spirit we have the resources and are fully equipped to overcome our former way of life.
You are now free to discover your God-given purpose. Many Blessings
Self-Help Therapeutic Exercises or Counseling Homework Assignments
Begin each day with prayer, in order to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and to obtain direction, support, reduce anxiety, and overcome reliance solely on yourself
Have active church attendance at a Bible based church, in order to study the Bible, gain insight into God's word, and gain support and guidance from mature believers
List and confess your sins, in order to establish personal responsibility, repentance, and accountability
Read the Bible daily, in order to seek Biblical wisdom, to renew your mind, to take your thoughts captive, and to overcoming anxiety, depression, anger, relational and life dominating problems
Schedule and follow through on your responsibilities, in order to overcome the loss of motivation associated with depression, and to avoid giving into or acting only on your emotions
Serve others, in order to overcome depression and self-centeredness and to gain a perspective beyond yourself
Use your spiritual gifts to minister to and serve others, in order to overcome low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and an internal focus on self
Join a small Bible study or prayer group in order to make application of God's word into your daily life, and to support, correct, mentor, and encourage each othe
Establish an accountability partner, in order to overcome your sin life and to stay on or get back on the right path
Do daily devotionals and pray together as a couple and as a family, in order to strengthen your relationships and integrate
Biblical principles into your everyday life Keep a blessings inventory and a gratitude journal, in order to overcome automatic negative cognitive distortions, negativity, pessimism, anxiety, anger, resentment, and depression
Practice putting others before yourself, in order to overcome self-centeredness
Memorize key Biblical passages, in order to renew your mind and have spiritual direction when encountering difficult situations
Make a list of your sin life, in order to establish an attitude of humility, take personal responsibility, and establish your need for change
Develop a specific plan of Throw Offs and Put Ons, in order to overcome your negative dysfunctional patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting and to develop positive functional Biblical ways of thinking, feeling, and acting
Forgive others in order to overcome bitterness and resentment Practice peacemaking and reconciliation with others where possible
Practice daily obedience to God's word, rather than living according to your feelings, in order to overcome anxiety, depression, and anger
Transfer trust from yourself to God, in order to overcome anxiety of self-reliance and to overcome human ways which may appear to be right but which lead to destruction
Live surrendered to God, in order to develop dependence on God rather than dependence on self and to overcome anxiety
Pray without ceasing, communicating or chitchatting with the Lord throughout the day, in order to develop your personal relationship, trust, and reliance on Jesus Christ
Focus on the concerns of others, in order to overcome an internal focus on one's self and self-absorption
Use the Bible for reference when facing any type of problem, in order to seek godly wisdom
Reestablish priorities, according to what is important to God rather than self, in order to please God
Develop a budget based on tithing 10% of one's income to the church, saving 10%, and living on 80%, in order to establish sound finances, to develop trust in God's provision, and to overcome financial distress
Become generous by giving time and money to those in need, in order to overcome self-centeredness
Practice taking your thoughts captive, by use of stop thought and thought substitution, putting on the mind of Christ (WWJD, what would Jesus do)
Practice separating your feelings from your circumstances, recognizing that your circumstances do not have to dictate or dominating your mood
Put On spiritual lenses and seek to understand where God is currently working within your life circumstances
Work at fulfilling God's purpose and direction for your life
If you have successfully gone through trauma, determine how you might utilize your experience, your strength, and your changed character to define your godly purpose and future mission
Therapeutic Outcomes, Peace and Joy
The Biblical principle of peace and joy specifies that we can be at peace and that we can have joy apart from our personal circumstances, our finances, our job satisfaction, our popularity, our acceptance by others, our health, our relationships, or any other earthly concern. We are able to be at peace with God and our peace should come from God, rather than be at peace with the world or expect our peace to come from the world. We can learn to be happy with little or with much.
Our circumstance does not have to dictate or even dominate our mood. Peace and joy comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, rather than the comforts of our circumstances. God in his sovereignty may choose not to remove our burdens. In this world expect trials and tribulations. Our primary goal should be to be holy, rather than to be happy. Happiness often follows from holiness.
Biblical Verses Related to Peace and Joy
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 16:33 I had told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bare. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal rock.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.
Colossians 3:23-24 Work hard and carefully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the master you are serving is Christ.
Reasons for Therapeutic Failures
- Faith only at a head level, rather than faith at a heart leve
- Lack of Biblical knowledge
- Lack of trust in God
- Lack of obedience, failure to commit to what the Word of God requires
- Maintaining a feeling orientation with feeling driven behaviors
- Hopelessness and giving up
- Following secular, cultural, ungodly counsel
- Minimizing, rationalizing, or taking a lite attitude towards sin
- Blame shifting with lack of confession and lack of repentance
- Cultural immersion, blending the current culture into the Word of God
- Self-reliance and self-control with fear of transferring trust from self to God
- Having a broken relationship with God through a pattern of unrepentant sin
- Praying outside the Word of God
- Lack of a prayer life
- Lack of a personal relationship with God
- Failure to recognize or utilize the Holy Spirit
- Lack of accountability, lack of an accountability partner
- Going solo, failure to establish relationships with mature believers
- Failure to integrate Biblical knowledge into the fabric of everyday living
Life Application Study Bible
New Living Translation
Holy Bible, New International Version
Ryrie Study Bible
New International Version Holy Bible,
New American Standard Bible
Comparative Study Bible NIV, KJV, NASB, AMP
Holy Bible, New King James Version
Basics of Biblical Counseling I-IV, Rev. Joseph E. Propri
Quick Scripture References for Counseling, John G. Kruis
Help for Counselors, a Manual for Christian Counseling, Jay E. Adams
A Study of Interpersonal Forgiveness, Peter Bliss
Sermon Series by Dr. James Mindling, Senior Pastor, Church of the Open Door, Elyria Ohio
Sermon Series by Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer, Senior Pastor, Grace Church, Middleburg Heights, Ohio
Bible Verses through Biblical Internet Sites
About the Author and the Author’s Mission
I had not originally planned on doing a segment about myself, so as not to detract from this message. I was urged by a valued Christian consultant to include a preface which some readers will find important in order to establish a personal relationship with this writer. It is my preference however, that people establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This message is not my own but that contained in the Bible, only reorganized in a format to help individuals obtain a positive resolution with their life problems of depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, damaged self-esteem; marital, family, and relational conflicts; sex, alcohol/drug abuse, overeating, pathological gambling, and other life dominating problems usually referred to as addictions. It Is my prayer to lead Christians who are unfamiliar with the Bible, or who have not been obedient to the Word of God, to get on the right path. It is my prayer that this writing helps you to establish hope, direction, and victory in your recovery. My mission is to assist individuals suffering from emotional and behavioral problems to seek Biblical wisdom, to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and to raise money through donations for homeless children, homeless families, and the working poor in Lorain County Ohio.
I would like to hear from you regarding the impact of this writing on your personal journey. Please send any comments to Nieding Therapy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations to Biblical Therapy would be greatly appreciated and can be made by credit card through PayPal at email@example.com or by check or money order made out to Biblical Therapy 8936 Riverwood Drive, North Ridgeville, OH 44039-6313
Bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
Master’s degree in clinical social work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio
Three-year postgraduate certificate in gestalt therapy from the Gestalt Institute in Cleveland, Ohio
Biblical studies certificate from Moody Bible Institute, extension program of Northeast Ohio
Licensed Independent Social Worker, LISW, State of Ohio License
Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor, LICDC, Ohio
Case Western Reserve University, School of Applied Social Sciences, Adjunct Professor/Field Instructor
Case Western Reserve University, Department of Family Medicine, Field instructo
Professional Career Past Therapist/Supervisor, Family Service Association of Lorain County, Ohio
Past Director of Chemical Dependency Services, Lakeland Institute, Lorain Community Hospital, Lorain, Ohio
Past Director of Inpatient Mental Health Services, Lakeland Therapeutic Community, Lorain Community Hospital, Lorain, Ohio
Past Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services, Lakeland Guidance Center, Community Health Partners Hospital, Lorain, Ohio
Past Therapist and Partner, Haidar-Almhana-Nieding LLC, Private Outpatient Mental Health Services in Avon Lake, Ohio
Christian Therapist, Nieding Therapy, Private Practice Outpatient Mental Health Services, North Ridgeville, Ohio
Author, Biblical Therapy
Seth F Nieding L ISW, LICDC