Psychology has many inherent problems. Regular readers know quite well that I strongly oppose incorporating it into evangelicalism because of its roots in evolution and the occult as well as the way it encourages narcissism. Since churches began embracing psychological counseling in the late 1970s, Christians have learned to view their propensities for besetting sins (alcoholism and homosexuality mostly, but not exclusively) as addictions.
Suddenly, Christians dealt with individual sin patterns through lengthy counseling programs, frequently looking at their childhood hurts to identify root causes of those sins. My pastor in California, for example, believed that my uncontrolled anger stemmed from a traumatic event when I was very young. Perish the thought that it was merely an evidence of my selfish sin nature! It troubles me that Christians nowadays feel compelled to use psychology, rather than the Word of God, as the means of dealing with sin.
The Bible, in contrast, knows nothing about analyzing sin in order to break free from it. In the first place, it teaches that Christ liberates us from sin through His death and resurrection.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ~~Romans 6:5-11 (ESV)
The Lord has already freed us from the dominating grip of sin. Rummaging around in our pasts adds nothing to His power. It may, in fact, compound our sin by tempting us to blame our parents instead of accepting responsibility for our willful rebellion against God. And certainly, it shifts attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ and onto our supposed victimization.
Christ defeated your sin on the cross, sister! You may continue feeling the temptation to commit that favorite sin of yours, and you may even give in to that temptation. Actually, it probably happens with depressing regularity. The apostle Paul struggled with his sin with just as much frustration as you feel now (see Romans 7:7-24). But even then, we must focus, not on our sin, but on Christ’s power over that sin.
Going over to Colossians, we find straightforward counsel for dealing with sin. We kill it.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. ~~Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV)
Yes, it sounds too simple. But that’s most likely because we confuse simplicity with ease. And dying, whether physical or spiritual, is rarely easy because it involves pain. Killing a pet sin hurts!
Yet the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to instruct us to put sin to death, regardless of any pain our obedience to this command might cost us. He didn’t tell us to figure out why we love that sin so much, nor does he counsel us to analyze our childhood relationships with our parents to see how their blunders plunged us into our sin. Instead, He told us through Paul’s writing to put it to death.
Not easy. But remarkably simple.