Attitudes of a Transformed Heart
by, Martha Peace
Ch. 3: Psychologized Man “Most High”
- Psychologized man elevates himself. his focus is inward as he seeks to feel good about himself and have his needs met. p.40
- “Self” is at the center of our lusts – our supposed needs for significance, worth, security, identity, or esteem. A psychologized, man-centered view of God and of man appeals to our natural sense of loving ourselves and thus deceives us. p. 41
- [This view] affects a proper view of sanctification (how people grow and mature as Christians) by turning man’s focus on his “needs” and his “identity” instead of his obligation to God. p. 43
- Sigmund Freud
- Freud’s beliefs vs. God’s Word p.31-32:
- There is an unconscious part of man that stores painful or threatening memories. – There is no unconscious part of man controlling him. Instead, “as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7
- Hypnosis is a way to uncover the hidden traumas that are causing emotional problems. – A Christian should only let their mind dwell on “whatever is true.” Philippians 4:8 There are God-honoring ways to deal with reality even if it is or was traumatic.
- Using free association and slips of speech, the patient is prompted by the doctor or allowed to say whatever comes to mind however seemingly unconnected or bizarre it is. Then the doctor interprets it. – The Scripture tells us we are to have control over what we think and say. “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 14:15
- Repression occurs in your mind making the memory of painful or threatening events inaccessible to the conscious mind. – You cannot delve any deeper inside a person than the “thoughts and intents of their heart” by way of the Word of God. “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
- Resistance is a defense against painful, repressed memories coming forward into your conscious mind. – Christians are to face reality and biblically deal with traumatic events. Whether you remember the event or not your responsibility is to forgive and biblically respond. “Pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44; “Overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21; “Do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:28
- Dream analysis is thought to be one way to help a patient discover the driving forces behind their adult emotional problems. – “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
- Freud looked into his own sinful heart for answers rather than turning to Scripture. “The heart is more deceitful than all else…” Jeremiah 17:9-10 p.30
2. Abraham Maslow
- According to Maslow, a self-actualized person is confident in himself, feels good about himself, and in turn reaches out to help others… if his [underlying] needs are not met, he may experience debilitating emotional pain and problems for an entire lifetime. p. 33
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 1)Physiological; 2)Security and Safety; 3) Love and Feelings of Belonging; 4)Competence, Prestige, and Esteem; 5) Self-Fulfillment (Actualization) p. 34
- A Christianized psychological version of a self-actualized man would be described as a mature Christian who is confident of his worth in Christ or who loves himself so that he can, in turn, love others… Believing, however, that your underlying needs must be met before you can mature or overcome emotional problems is not true. p. 35
- Look at Paul and Jesus’s life in Scripture… many times they were not fed, harassed by those around them, extremely fatigued, often healing from torture or imprisonment yet that did not stop them from being mature and reaching out to others. Instead they knew all power and strength and grace comes from God who can work through every and all circumstances for good (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and Romans 8:28).
- We can (by God’s grace) become a mature person who honors and glorifies God even if no one (now or in the past) esteems, accepts, or loves us. p.35
- Identitiy in Christ: We do have our identity in Christ but the wrong way psychologized man looks at it is with a self-centered focus being the power behind believing our identity is in Christ is to make you feel better about yourself and to feel you have worth and value now. The truth is we will never be deserving of God’s gift of salvation on this earth and for eternity. Because we are saved does not give us worth, we continue to be unworthy of God’s grace and forgiveness and that will never change. This keeps us always in a humble and reverant position to the power and love of God. So what does it mean to have our identity in Christ? It means that we now live to serve and bring glory to God and God alone. When you adopt a child it does not mean they now have value and worth. We all have value and worth as created beings but that does not belong to us, it belongs to God as the Creator.
- Our sin was, and still is, far worse than we realize. God is the one who is special and worthy. We should not even think in terms of how wonderful, special, or worthy we are. Certainly all of God’s creation, including mankind, is magnificently wonderful because God, the Creator, is wonderful. The focus, however, must be on God. Christ died to vindicate “the worth and glory of His Father,” not the worth of sinful man. p.36
3. Erik Erickson
- Erik Erickson believes man must evolve through stages in order to become a mature person… as the human approaches a new stage in development, he experiences inner conflicts which culminate in a crisis experience. If he responds well to the crisis, he will mature to the next level
- Pray for: God to show us any way we are living as psychologized man most high and focusing on our needs being met and not on glorifying God.
- Application Questions:
- What do you think it means to have your identity in Christ? How has this chapter changed or enhanced your view?
- Are you seeking to use God so you can feel better, be happy, and be somebody special or of worth, or are you seeking to glorify Daniel’s “great God Most High”?
- Think about times when your underlying needs are not being met (you are hungry or tired; a relationship is not meeting your “needs” leaving you desiring something different; you are not at a comfortable place financially leaving you feeling insecure). Are you prone to give up on moving forward in your spiritual growth until you feel a little more “fulfilled” or “comfortable”? What needs to change in your focus so you can rely on God’s strength to keep you moving forward in spite of your feelings or circumstances?