Words reveal beliefs. We can say that we love God, that we believe the Bible, even that we believe that the Bible is without error. Yet if we talk about our problems as if the solutions to them are more psychological than spiritual, our words show our confidence in Biblical solutions is weak. I would agree, for instance, that when someone struggles with depression, it is wrong to imply that that is only a spiritual issue. Depression involves emotional, physical, and medical issues as well as spiritual dynamics and so it can and should be addressed from all those angles. However, when we attack a problem and ignore that there could be a spiritual component, that may reveal that we don't really think God has much to do with our real lives. When there is a conflict between people usually we talk of issues that need to be worked through rather than sin from which we need to repent. As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If we treat most of our issues as if what they need is therapy, we have a more to learn about using God's word, about faith in God, and about confession of sin to address problems that we face in our hearts and minds and in relating to other people.
Jesus came to this world; not some imaginary one. His coming is grounded in reality, in history, at a real place. He came to help us in our real lives. We are dangerously close to thinking of Jesus as if he was part of a fairy tale if we don't look to him for any real help. The reality that Jesus needed to be crucified reveals the kind of help we ultimately needed. We didn't just need a positive influence, we needed a Savior. We were dead and needed to be made alive. We were sick and needed a doctor. We were not just misguided and needing a mentor, we were not just off track and needing direction. We were not just confused and needing instruction. We were not just just uneducated and needing to go to school. As Paul says we were without hope and without God in the world. Jesus is our only hope to address that problem. And we must look to him early and often for help in all our other issues as well.
Sunday at Bethany Place I'm preaching a message called Are You Calling God a Liar? It's my prayer that it will be a clear and compassionate word about our need for a Savior. Audio will post here on the blog when it becomes available.