Friday, July 28, 2017

God's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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In Valley Forge, PA

Meditation on truth transforms the human heart. It breaks lies, and heals.

I have discovered that, when I carry my 3X5 cards with me, on which I have written what God thinks of me, the truths of God slowly descend from my mind into my heart. They become my heart.

This is a Henri Nouwen idea, a James K. A. Smith idea, a Dallas Willard idea, and a Pauline idea. Philippians 4:8-9 reads:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

For example, I have carried this list of identity truths with me for years.

I view this as a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit.
"Cognitive" - how we think; what we set our mind on.

"Behavioral" - what we do; how we live and experience life.

"Therapy" - from the Greek word
therapeuo, which means "to heal."

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

"Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common type of talk therapy (psychotherapy). You work with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist) in a structured way, attending a limited number of sessions. CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way.

CBT can be a very helpful tool in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder. But not everyone who benefits from CBT has a mental health condition. It can be an effective tool to help anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations." (From the Mayo Clinic.)

When we add the Holy Spirit to this, we have an effective therapy that transforms and heals. I'm calling this God's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This involves two biblical concepts:

1) Intentionally think on (meditate on) whatever is true, right, noble, lovely, and admirable.

2) Take captive whatever is false, wrong, ignoble, unlovely, and unworthy of praise.

Paul writes:

We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Defeat falsehoods by intentionally meditating on God's truths.

The Holy Spirit champions and empowers this. We are promised that "the God of peace" will be with us. This means an invasion of peace into our hearts.

God's truths, which you mentally acknowledge, become your heart, your way of being, your way of seeing things, and even seeing yourself. Our thoughts become "obedient to Christ."

All this is healing, transforming, and liberating.

My third book, which I have begun, will be about this. I'm now calling it How God Changes the Human Heart.)

My first book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

My second book (Today I'm re-editing ch. 8 out of 9 chapters) is Leading the Presence-Driven Church (Sept. 2017).