Category Archives: mind

Depression

depression

What depression is………………

Depression can be called a disease of the emotions. It’s classification as a mental illness does not make it any less real or painful. It is a common disease and at any time, around one in twenty people will be suffering from it.

Depression is a disturbance in mood characterized by varying degrees of sadness, disappointment, loneliness, hopelessness, self-doubt, and guilt. These feelings can be quite intense and last for a long period of time. Daily activities may become more difficult… but the individual may still be able to cope with them. It is at this level, however, that feelings of hopelessness can become so intense that suicide may seem the only solution.

A person experiencing severe depression may experience extreme fluctuations in moods or even a desire for complete withdrawal from daily routine and/or the outside world. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and is not a sign of weakness. It is treatable, whether by medication, by therapy and counseling, or both. God answers prayer, and persistent prayer facilitates the process of emotional healing.

For the depressed Christian whose world has fallen apart, prayer may not seem like an option. In this case, the persistent prayer of close friends or relatives will help.

depression_test What depression is not?

Depression is not "Just in your mind." It isn’t a made-up illness; it isn’t laziness, or a couple of days of feeling sad or blue. It is not rejection by God, or abandonment. If it is from God, as a result of a specific you will know it. You will not be left wondering.

Eight major causes of depression

(1) Biological factors

(2) Learned helplessness (sense of being trapped and unable to remedy an intolerable situation)

(3) Parental rejection

(4) Abuse

(5) Negative thinking

(6) Life stress

(7) Anger

(8) Guilt.

[Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, Josh McDowell’s Handbook on Counseling Youth (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996), chapter 5; Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide, revised edition (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1988).]

Physical Causes:

· Pre-menstrual and postnatal hormone changes

· Some types of manic depression have been shown to have a genetic basis

· Hormone deficiencies (such as thyroid disturbances)

· Generalized illnesses such as kidney or liver disease

· Lack of natural light during winter in some susceptible people

· Alcoholism

· Drug dependency

· Food allergies and strange reactions to medicines, chemicals or food additives.

Mental Causes:
  • Unconscious impulses (from Freudian and Jungian psychology)
  • Learning the wrong way to cope with difficulties
  • Self induced conditioned helplessness (from behaviorist psychology)
  • Overload or stress
Spiritual Causes:
  • Sense of despair/futility of life; death of a loved one.
Symptoms
  • Lethargy (everything seems just too much trouble to do)
  • disturbed sleep (early waking, difficulty getting to sleep)
  • waking up tired after a "normal" night of sleep)
  • lack of concentration
  • irritability
  • exhaustion
  • lack of sexual drive
  • sensation of utter despair
  • sense of hopelessness or uselessness of everything
  • fear of death
  • phobias
  • Obsessive behavior
  • permanent sense of anxiety
  • feelings of wanting to cry, but inability to do so
  • thoughts of suicide, or fear of committing suicide
  • change in appetite and weight
  • other symptoms, this is not a definitive list

depression

Likely effects of depression in Christians

In Christians, spiritual effects follow from the depression, and seldom the other way round. Nearly always the depression comes first, followed by a sense of remoteness from God, rather than depression being the result of "falling away.

Being a Christian does not offer immunity from trials, troubles or illness.

God is making us holy and perfect, and this may involve dealing with your past. It is not an overnight process, and it may be painful. We may have leftover baggage of hurts suffered, wrong attitudes, incorrect information and so on. This can slow us down, and can be a source of depression.

You do not have to feel guilty about being depressed. It is not a sin to doubt what you have been told (this is what everyone does before they become a Christian, and God loved them then too), and the doubting process of can build a strong foundation for you to re-build on later.

We can counsel those depressed with these recommendations:

  1. Avoid being alone. Force yourself to be with people.
  2. Seek help from others.
  3. Sing. Music can uplift your spirit as it did for King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14-23).
  4. Praise and give thanks. "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  5. Lean heavily on the powe

    r of God’s Word.

  6. Rest confidently in the presence of God’s Spirit. "Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance" (Psalm 42:5).

Depression has been called the "common cold" of mental disorders.

Depression is too complicated to solve with a single pat answer. Gary Collins, in Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (Dallas: Word, 1988), lists seven major categories of causes for depression, and six major approaches to treating it. Each one has multiple options within each category. In addition, people use the word "depression" to cover everything from disappointment over losing a baseball game to the terrifying gloom that drives people to suicide.

The Bible does not use the word "depression," although it describes people whom we might call depressed. It certainly doesn’t mention antidepressant drugs. However, there are a few general principles I would recommend when trying to deal with depression:

  • Aim to work on the causes of your depression, not just the symptoms.

Scripture points to many issues of sin or conflict that can affect your emotions; most counselors would agree that depression can result from other underlying issues. Don’t just worry about the depression itself; check to see what other problems need attention.

  •  Realize that you can’t base life on your emotions. They just do not think!

Christians base life on truth, not feelings. Philippians 4:1 commands us to rejoice (whether we feel like it or not!). And James 1:2 asks us to "Consider it all joy when we fall into various trials." Notice that James doesn’t tell us to feel joyful; he tells us to reckon, to choose to think about your situation as a spot where you can have joy.

  • Faith

Choosing to trust truth rather than your feelings may require a lot of faith. And if that is what we mean by asking if faith can solve depression, then faith may be enough in some cases. Trusting what God says rather than your feelings is certainly a more realistic approach to life!

  •  Heed God’s Advice

However, many people talk about "faith" and only mean a vague hope that God will somehow pull them through. That’s too nebulous a concept to be reliable. Many of the same people who claim to have faith keep plunging through life ignoring God’s principles for healthy living. If we spurn the good advice that the Bible contains, we won’t escape the consequences – even if we have faith.

 depressionmedication

Is it right to use antidepressant drugs? Or is faith enough to solve the problem?

Chemical Imbalances

Some cases of depression may be caused by chemical imbalances. If that is the cause, then antidepressant drugs may be the answer. God has allowed mankind to learn about many medical tools, and He sometimes uses medicine to heal. There may also be some cases of depression so severe that medications are necessary to bring the sufferer to the place where they can tackle some of the other issues; such cases might require medication, at least temporarily. I know of no Scripture that forbids such use.

 

Unresolved Issues, Root Causes.

However, any medications should be used with caution. Virtually any medicine has some side effects. Drugs can mask the symptoms, allowing you to ignore root causes. Some people may use antidepressants to avoid approaches that require you to deal with other unresolved issues. It seems easier to pop a pill. A general rule of thumb is to try other strategies first, unless the depression is so severe that the person endangers themselves or finds themselves unable to participate in other therapies.

Depression is a complex area, and severe problems of depression deserve the attention of a pastor or other counselor. There are numerous biblical references to depression, one of the human race’s most common and distressing afflictions. It is likely that the first humans to experience depression were Adam and Eve, after they sinned against God.

Examples of people in the Bible who suffered bouts of depression

  • Abraham (Genesis 15)
  • Jonah (Jonah 4)
  • Job (Book of Job)
  • Elijah (1 Kings 19)
  • King Saul (I Samuel 16:14-23, etc.)
  • Jeremiah (Book of Jeremiah)

§ David (Psalms 6, 13, 18, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32, 34, 37-40, 42-43, 46, 51, 55, 62-63, 69, 71, 73, 77, 84, 86, 90-91, 94-95, 103-104, 107, 110, 116, 118, 121, 123-124, 130, 138, 139, 141-143, 146-147) 

Depression due to guilt

CAIN, son of Adam (having disobeyed God)
"Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast (depressed)? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’"     -Genesis 4:6-7

DAVID, King of Israel (having committed adultery was depressed until he confessed his sin)"When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah.-Psalm 32:3-4

Release from depression caused by guilt came from confession and seeking God’s forgiveness…

"For I said in my haste, ‘I am cut off from before Your eyes’; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You. Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. …I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
     -Psalm 31:22 – 32:2, 32:5 (NKJV)

David’s humble prayer for forgiveness (an example for us all)

"Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving-kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight; That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was broug

ht forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. …For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise."     -Psalm 51:1-13, 16-17 (NKJV)

When you’re depressed, place your hope in God.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. …For You are the God of my strength…"     -Psalm 42:5, 43:2 (NKJV)

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."     -Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things.
     -Philippians 4:4-8 (NKJV)

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
     -1 Peter 5:6-7

Although things may be difficult, Christians can avoid deep depression.

"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

-2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18 (NIV)

Remember what Jesus Christ went through for us. Remember what the apostle Paul experienced, yet remained focused on the eternal rather than the temporary. When we maintain faith and keep our focus on God’s love and the hope He has given us for eternity, Christians can weather the storms of life. It can be done.

Paul — "…I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, and I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."
     -2 Corinthians 11:23b-28 (NIV)

When the Israelites were depressed, God called them to put their faith into action.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

References:

[Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, Josh McDowell’s Handbook on Counseling Youth (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996), chapter 5; Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide, revised edition (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1988).]

In His Grace Forever,

Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP

Young Adult Crisis Hotline and

Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD

                                                     (2463)

theodoreawadjr@comcast.net

http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/

http://youngadultcrisishotline.blogspot.com

youngadultcrisishotline@comcast.net

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Counseling with the Mind of Christ

                 The_Mind_of_Christ

I Corinthians 2:16 "For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

In order to have the mind of Christ, we are going to have to present ourselves to God for a transforming of our very carnal minds. What is the ‘Christ Mind’ … surely it must be the consciousness (the mind) in which Jesus functioned … in which he ‘walked’. ‘He that hath seen me … hath seen the Father’ … ‘I and my father are one’, he said. He knew that He and God … ‘His source’, were One … One and the same. So … HE ‘WALKED’ AS GOD … in God consciousness. He dwelt in the ‘Kingdom’ of God… in the consciousness of being God!


In Phillipians 2:5, the apostle Paul said, ‘let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. In Mathew 6:33 Jesus said, ‘seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’. He was not talking about a place … he was talking about a State of Mind! The ‘kingdom of God’ … IS A STATE OF MIND … the CHRIST MIND! We have been told that it is within us (the Kingdom of God), but we have never been told that it is a state of mind When we realize that we are One with our Source … that each of us is the Source manifesting … we begin to take upon ourselves the likeness of our Source. That likeness, is the CHRIST. To function in that consciousness… AS THE SOURCE… is to function in the Mind of Christ  !

Biblical counseling seeks to lead the believer to the end of his strength – regardless of how productive (or nonproductive) such "strength" may have proven to be – and into the certainty of Christ’s strength through him! The Holy Spirit, often through the school of adversity, always works against the believer’s dependency upon the flesh. Ultimately his flesh becomes nonproductive by Supernatural design at which time many seek counseling.

The counselor who uses techniques generated by unregenerate minds to help such a believer cut his losses is actually interrupting God’s process of bringing that Christian to the end of his personal resources. The more "skilled" and "effective" the counselor, the more he sets God back to square one, having to begin the breaking process all over again.

But what is biblical counseling and what distinguishes it from other counseling approaches?

What is the goal of counseling?
The goal of counseling will often vary, and experienced counselors will tailor their approaches to their clients’ needs.

What is the goal of secular counseling?
Secular counseling is grounded in humanism, and most often seeks to help a person adjust to difficult circumstances. The processes may include client education, behavioral techniques, and cognitive restructuring (changing one’s thoughts), just to name a few. But the end goal will most likely be some type of adaptation that provides surface problem or symptom relief.

What is the goal of Christian counseling?
Christian counseling is grounded in the Bible, and most often seeks to help a person embrace the pain of his experience through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The motivation will be different than secular counseling. For example, a Christian counselor’s goal is to use the Word of God to being healing and deliverance (Psalm 107:20. The Word of God is the Rational Expression of God which itself has creative power and is God’s medium of communication with the human race. John1:1–14, the creative word of God, which is itself God and incarnate in Jesus.

Theos: Which transcribes to "God" in Greek

Logos: Which transcribes "The Word: Rational Process of Thought" in Greek

Counseling with God’s Rational Process of Thought which is Mind of God causes a "rational change of mind" and a process of internal change.  The Logos renewing the mind will be a greater knowledge and enjoyment of God not based on circumstances.

First, what is

NOT necessarily biblical counseling?

1. Simply attaching the word Christian to the counseling approach does not make it biblical. Much counseling that draws on psychological and therapeutic concepts is presented as Christian when in fact it is Christian in name only.

2. A Bible perched on the counselor’s desk corner or on an end table doesn’t mean the counsel being given conforms to the Scriptures.

3. Just because the counselor is a born-again Christian or even a Pastor does not mean his counsel is biblical. He may have been trained in any of a myriad of popular counseling systems that are not derived from Scripture, but rather from secular sources.

4. Using Bible verses to support the coun

sel being given does not mean the counsel is biblical. A Bible passage can be taken out of context and misused to support something the Bible simply does not say.

5. A simplistic dispensing of Bible verses and prescribing prayer is not biblical counseling.

6. A kind, loving, accepting stance on the part of the counselor should not be interpreted as necessarily biblical counseling. It may be reflecting a non-directive counseling methodology that helps the counselee feel better but doesn’t solve the problem God’s way.

THEN WHAT IS BIBLICAL COUNSELING?

How do you spot the real thing? The following will help you identify counseling that is truly biblical.

1. The counselor functions on the presupposition that Scripture is God’s inspired, inerrant, and sufficient Word. He views the Bible as the textbook for everything pertaining to life and godliness (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:3-4).

2. The counselor knows there is always hope for change based on God’s promises and power in Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 3:20).

3. Appropriate portions of Scripture are investigated and discussed to shed God’s light on the problem. (E.g. – marriage problems: see Genesis 2; Ephesians 5; I Peter 3).

4. Biblical directives derived from these passages are applied to the problem. Practical ways of implementing those directives are assigned to help put off sinful thinking and behavior and put on godly thinking and behavior (Ephesians 4:22-24).

5. The counseling process includes the need for regeneration (John 3:3), the recognition of the sinful propensities of the heart (Jeremiah 17:9), the human capacity of habit (I Timothy 4:7), the importance of motivation and thought as well as behavior (Romans 12:2; I Corinthians 4:5), the individual’s responsibility before God to obedience (I John 5:3), and the sufficiency of God’s grace for every life problem (I Corinthians 10:13; II Corinthians 12:9).

6. Biblical counseling emphasizes a God-centered approach to solving problems. The goal is first to be concerned about pleasing God. Deliverance from the problem is secondary to seeing God in the problem and at work in the person’s life (Romans 8:28-29).

7. Biblical counseling is a ministry of the local church. The local church is God’s ordained agency to help His people grow and change into the likeness of Christ. In fact, while church leaders are especially responsible (Hebrews 13:17), God has called ALL believers to counsel one another to some degree (Romans 15:4).

Proverbs 14:12 says there is a way that seems right to men, but it ends in death.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free:

1-877-702-2GOD

                      (2463)

theodoreawadjr@comcast.net
http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/
http://youngadultcrisishotline.blogspot.com
youngadultcrisishotline@comcast.net

How Is Your Conscience?

How Is Your Conscience?

Everybody has a conscience, the reflective part of the mind it largely has to do with the past, but it can deal with the future in that we may project how we would feel if we do this or that. Mainly the conscience deals with the past. Our conscience is responsible for our joy or lack of joy.

The conscience was designed to be the human’s moral compass that detects the presence of evil. The conscience is as valuable as its training. It must correctly differentiate between good and evil to be of significant value to the person. Becoming a Christian commonly involves retraining a poorly trained conscience. The objective of this training is to make a Christian’s conscience aware of and sensitive to God’s standards and values. The Christian desires to yield to God’s perspectives rather than his/her own.

When a person acts consistently with his/her understanding of right or wrong, the conscience reacts positively. When a person violates his/her understanding of right and wrong, the conscience reacts negatively. Consciences react with no feeling if they are neglected or dead.

In one way the statement, “Let your conscience be your guide,” is correct. In another way, that statement is incorrect. The statement is correct if a person means, “I should be true in my actions to my standards and values.” The statement is incorrect if a person means, “My conscience defines my standards and values.”

The correctness or incorrectness of the statement is determined by one’s understanding of the role of conscience. If the person understands the conscience is reacting to his/her standards and values, the statement is correct. If the person thinks the conscience defines/produces standards and values, he/she is incorrect.

When a person violates his/her understanding of right and wrong, he/she has a “guilty conscience.” The conscience convicts that person of being wrong because he/she violated his/her standards or values. The conscience did not declare the person’s standards and values. The conscience declared a violation of the person’s standards or values.

The American culture has produced an increasingly “feeling” oriented society. A significant standard in determining if an attitude or act is right or wrong, good or bad is how that attitude or act “feels” to the person. Good “feelings” commonly confirms something is right.

Every Christian should be maturing in his/her understanding of God and His purposes. Each Christian is growing in his/her understanding that surrender to God involves much more than “blind obedience” to a religious system or a personal theological perspective. As a result of that understanding, his/her conscience is continually growing and maturing. That growth and understanding often involves growing beyond past positions of conscience. This is not a matter of searing the conscience but of maturing the conscience.

First, right and wrong or good and bad are strictly individual determinations. If it “feels” good then it is good–even if it “feels” bad to others. Thus the cry becomes, “Do not judge me!” which often means do not evaluate my “feelings” by your “feelings.” Many firmly believe there is no absolute right and wrong or absolute good and bad. Everything is both good and bad or right and wrong depending on the circumstances of the individual.

Note the use of “my feelings” to determine right and wrong or good and bad is often a justification of a personal behavior/position. Appealing only to feeling allows the person to focus on personal justification to the exclusion of person evaluation.

Second, if an attitude or action does not violate “my” conscience, it cannot be wrong or bad. Stated in another way, if the attitude or action “feels” good or right then it has to be good or right. In many instances, “feeling” is the ultimate consideration. The “certain proof” something is wrong is a “bad feeling.”

To many American individuals (as frequently is true in other modern societies), the ultimate criteria for determining right or wrong and good and bad is personal feelings. It is rapidly reaching the point that something does not have to “feel good” for it to be right; it just does not have to feel bad. Thus, if “my” conscience does not react against something, it has to be right. This situation creates numerous ironies. One of many illustrations: A person can be so opposed to abortion that he/she classifies it as murder because it takes a life. Yet, he/she can take the life of someone who makes abortion possible, and without “feeling” it is wrong. Thus, by appealing to a powerful feeling, one is justified in his/her own opinion in preventing “murder by abortion” by intentionally “murdering.”

Good choices and decisions come from good standards and values. Godly consciences come from good choices and decisions based on good standards and values. A good choice and a good decision is determined by the results of the choice and decision years later, not by one’s feelings at the moment of the choice or decision. Often choices and decisions of great value do not feel good at the moment of choice. Often choices and decisions of horrible consequence feel wonderful at the moment of choice or decision. The issue often is NOT “how do I feel at the moment of choice,” but what is the continuing result of the choice.

Lesson one: because something “feels” right and good does not make it right and good.

Lesson two: if one’s standards and values are incorrect, his/her conscience will be misguided.

Lesson three: one’s conscience is no more reliable than the standards and values that train his/her conscience.

Lesson four: a conscience is a good conscience only if it is reliably trained by good standards and values.

Lesson five: it is possible to have right motives and wrong understanding at the same moment.

Lesson six: culture’s standards frequently serve as poor standards for training a conscience.

Training a conscience is only to be entrusted to God, the Father of Jesus whom He made Christ. God’s standards and values must become the person’s standards and values. Thus, developing a good and godly conscience is a lifetime journey, not an earthly destiny. As the person spiritually matures in Christ, standards and values constantly undergo development. The conscience constantly changes through development as one’s standards and values mature in Jesus Christ. Developing a godly conscience is a lifetime undertaking.

The feelings of a conscience can be trusted to be right only when a person is certain his/her standards and values are God’s standards and values. As a person matures in God’s ways and priorities, his/her standards and values mature. As standards and values mature, the conscience changes.

The cultural swings in this society in less than one life span are dramatic. We have gone from a society that inhibited emotion to a society that feeds on emotion. In the mid-twentieth century, a woman endured significant social consequences if she had a child outside of marriage. Today there are unmarried men and women who deliberately have a child outside of marriage. In the mid-twentieth century it was not unusual for sexual activity and expression to be repressed even in marriage. Now sexual activity and expression are at least sanctioned and at most encouraged prior to marriage. Alienation in marriages, divorce, single parent homes, blended families, and life styles are much too frequently the result of an individual’s “feelings.”

Within the Bible it is easy to pick out 4 types of conscience. They are:

1. A Seared Conscience

2. An Untrained Conscience

3. A Weak Conscience
4. A Biblical Trained Conscience

1. The Seared Conscience-

The seared conscience is a conscience that has been activated by biblical truth but, is no longer activated by biblical criteria. The conscience has no guilty feelings, see nor see any need for excusing what they do. It is this conscience that blasphemes the Holy Spirit. 1 Tim 4:2
2. The Untrained Conscience-

The untrained conscience has never been activated by biblical truth. Therefore those with untrained consciences do not have or have very few guilt feelings, they don’t make excuses for what they do since they don’t know the biblical way in doing things. The conscience is these folks can be remedied by being taught and trained in biblical truth. This conscience can be easily led to depression by reacting improperly to life’s issues.
Rom 1-3
3. The Weak Conscience-

The weak conscience is activated by non biblical criteria. A weak conscience produces guilt feelings for the wrong reasons. These folks could have good standards they live by but have idols in their heart. They may do things for acceptance by God, to be accepted by the Church, to be loved by mom or dad, or in order to get something from God since that “bargained with Him. This conscience can and often is easily led to depression by reacting improperly to life’s issues.
Rom 14:1,2,23
4. A Biblical Conscience-

These folks have a conscience activated by biblical truth. They have proper guilt feelings for the right reasons when they do wrong and sin. They are in the proper position to handle guilt and problems God’s way. These are the people inthe Church that have grown and are called “spiritual” by the Apostle Paul. (Gal 6:1)
2 Tim 3:16-17, 1 Tim. 1:5

May God grant us to have a biblically functional conscience by then grace, illumination and dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center
410-808-6483
theodoreawadjr@comcast.net
http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/
http://youngadultcrisishotline.blogspot.com/
youngadultcrisishotline@comcast.net