Don't Count on a Sick Mind to Solve Problems
- Steve Arterburn Author and Chairman of New Life Clinics
- 2005 12 Dec
I’m all for feeling good about ourselves and being grateful for the gifts God has given us. And I’m all for building ourselves up with positive talk about how great a creation we are and how marvelously talented we are. Those are really nice things to do, but in the midst of our happy talk, we need to accept the glaring reality that each of us, to some degree or another, has a sick mind.
Its wiring and chemistry might be functioning perfectly, but it’s functioning in the human state of perpetual sickness that takes us down paths we neither need nor want to travel. Of course, these paths never fail to appear pleasant and pleasurable as we begin down them. But if they’re not God’s path, they’re not the path of truth or wisdom, but rather a path leading to death and destruction.
People can watch their lives fall into complete disarray and confusion for years, and yet still believe they’ll find a way to help themselves. Perhaps they’ve heard the term “self-help” and without exploring what that really means, think that there are a lot of people succeeding because they’ve figured out how to help themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The self-help that really helps is God help, it’s group help, it’s expert help. It’s anything but a person’s sick mind finally finding the path to a great and wonderful life. The sick mind that leads us down the wrong path isn’t going to somehow find the right path one day. In order to find that path, we must seek help beyond ourselves. We must reach out and find the treatment we need.
Reaching out to get the help you need doesn’t come only in the form of a recovery group or a counselor’s office. Many times the help you need could be found at the local church.
But for it to be effective you need to be part of that church and involved in it. If you’ve gone to work on your connections and have become part of the church community, you’re in a place to allow those in charge to influence your life. Wise pastors are alert to the condition of your life. They can see and perceive things you may not. But your life has to be open and available to them. They have to know you through your involvement in community with them. Hebrews 13:17 says: “Be responsive to your pastoral leaders.
Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God” (The Message). Responsive and listen are extremely important words in this passage and to your future. Are you listening to a pastor? Are you responsive to what the pastor says? Or are you still running your own recovery and healing show?
We all need someone to help us, to urge us along, and to guide us in giving up our rebellious ways and being obedient to God’s direction. Wise counsel from a pastor can ensure that we know the truth and that we live by it.
The Big Lie
The big lie you may be telling yourself is that you can figure this out on your own. I don’t think so. I think if you could, you’d have done so by now. With all the pain and struggle you’ve endured, I believe you would’ve figured it out by now and put the fix in place. But you haven’t because you can’t. Although you might see that as a weakness, the greatest act of strength you can exhibit is to admit you don’t have the answer within you and to turn to someone who does.
There are some really good things about you. You’ve been fearfully and wonderfully created in the image of God. And you probably see the rut you’ve dug for yourself and desire something much better, that’s good. But don’t be fooled: the sick mind that led you down the path of sickness won’t lead you to a place of health and wholeness. You’re not going to figure this out. You’ll have to reach beyond what’s in your head and reach out for the help you need.
Jeremiah 6:14 says: “They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wounds” (New Living Translation). Take this Scripture as an admonition to treat your wounds appropriately rather than superficially. Get the help you need before the wound further infects you or those around you. Treat deeply what needs treating rather than just giving it the minimal amount of attention needed—hoping it will eventually go away. You’re worth the effort, and God will honor your efforts to get the help you need to heal what is broken in your soul.
The above piece is an adaptation from Healing Is A Choice: Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them, by Steve Arterburn. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2005.
Stephen Arterburn is the founder of New Life Clinics, the largest provider of Christian counseling and treatment in North America. As host of the daily New Life Live! radio program, he is heard nationally on over one hundred and eighty stations and at www.newlife.com. Steve is the creator of the Women of Faith® Conferences and is the author/coauthor of over thirty books, including Healing is a Choice, Lose it For Life, The God of Second Chances, Every Man’s Battle, and Avoiding Mr. Wrong.