Complete Answer

Is my problem spiritual or is it psychological? Asking that question exposes a false dichotomy that plagues the western world. There is always a spiritual dimension to our struggles. God is always present, and “He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3). God is the ultimate reality, and mental health begins by being in touch with reality. The whole world struggles as a result of the fall. The basic problem is that we are spiritually dead, i.e. separated from God. When we come to Christ, we are new creations in Christ. We can’t fix our past, but we can be free from it through genuine repentance and faith in God. Even if that is accomplished, our journey toward Christ-likeness requires us to be dependent upon God, for apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jn. 15:5).

Our struggle is also spiritual because, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Besides, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 Jn. 5:19), who has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). There is no time when it is safe to take off the armor of God. The possibility of being tempted, accused, and deceived is just part of living in this fallen world.

On the other hand, our problems are always psychological. Our soul is always a participant in the struggle to overcome. If we believe that, we will stop polarizing into psychotherapeutic ministries that ignore the reality of the spiritual world, or a one-dimensional deliverance ministry that overlooks the personal responsibility of the inquirer. We have a whole God, who relates to a whole person, who takes into account all reality, all the time.

So how do we help people resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts? Do they just need to be discipled? Do they need counseling? Do they need inner healing? How about deliverance? Many evangelical pastors have never heard of inner healing. Most counselors have never been exposed to any kind of deliverance ministry, and some totally reject its validity. Those who specialize in only one of those four perspectives have one thing in common, they have left God out of the process. Jesus came to set captives free and heal the wounds of the broken-hearted, and only He can do that. He is the Wonderful Counselor and genuine repentance and faith in God brings inner healing.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog