Psychological Health and Development
December 2001 by Asher Intrater
I am surprised to think that Yeshua was not immersed in water and anointed for ministry until the age of thirty. Even for the most perfect person whoever lived, who had ideal parents, a process was needed for thirty years of psychological growth and development before he was ready to enter the supernatural power of his ministry.
I am also surprised at how many people who are extremely spiritual, end up ship wrecking their lives, not because of lack of spirituality or sin, but because of psychological problems and dysfunctions. We as spiritual people often under estimate the importance of psychological health as part of our overall spiritual well being.
God made us as three-part people: spirit, soul, and body. While the spirit is more important than the soul, and the soul more important than the body, the three are interconnected and dependent upon one another. The soul is a kind of container for the spirit. If the soul is cracked, we have a spiritual problem. You have hewn for yourselves cisterns that will not hold water (Jeremiah 2:13).
When we look at the childhood of Yeshua, we can note several areas of development in the area of the soul that are important for all of us.
I. Body: Health and Hygiene
Before Jesus cast the legion of demons out of this man, he wondered sleepless nights in the tombs, naked and cutting himself with stones. Today we have legions of people who have been torn apart physically, psychologically and spiritually by legions of demons. The power of the Holy Spirit can bring wholeness to body and soul.
II. School: Listening and Learning
Sometimes when a psychologically fractured person receives a spiritual revelation, he knows how to talk, but he does not know how to listen. Listening is a psychological skill that brings spiritual fruit.
Some of our young people who have been touched by the spirit of revival think that it is not important for them to do well in school. But school training is part of the intellectual development that God gave to man. Even Yeshua as a child listened and learned from his teachers.
III. Parents: Submitting to Authority
Yeshua obeyed the Ten Commandments that He was to honor, obey, and submit to His parents. Even though He was the perfectly obedient Son of the living God, He developed as a human child by submitting to His parents.
God's kingdom is made up of many spheres of authority: in the family, in the congregation, in the government, in the workplace, etc. Part of our psychological development is to learn to obey human authority. That human psychological submission leads to the greater spiritual submission to God Himself.
A dysfunctional person may not know how to relate to his parents. Later on he may struggle with a rebellious and independent spirit even if he loves the Lord with all his heart. A psychologically whole person knows how to balance submission to human authority with the faith to follow God in the spirit.
IV. Friends: Relating to People
As Yeshua grew, He learned how to have favor with other people. While His message was bold and often quite offensive, He was not dysfunctional in His relationships with other people. Some people try to cover up that their psychological inability to relate with other people by calling it boldness and zeal for God. But knowing how to relate with people, converse with them, develop friendships and treat people with favor is part of the groundwork that leads to spiritual ministry in the future.
V. Work: Patience and Perseverance
Yeshua saw certain qualities in James and John in their psychological development that formed the basis for their spiritual calling. They were friends and brothers who knew how to cooperate. They were working steadily in a successful business, and even had servants. They were submitted and obedient to their father not only in the home, but also in their business. The same was true for Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. Yeshua called them from being natural fishermen to be supernatural fishermen. Through work, we develop the psychological characteristics of patience and perseverance. Those psychological traits then develop into the fruit of the spirit.
When we come to God, we are "re-parented" by Him. The Bible tells us that where our parents have failed us, God will show us special compassion (Psalm 27:10).
We need to see psychological development as part of the creative process of God. Psychological health is part of the fruit of the spirit. Our souls and our spirits are bound together. Psychological healing is part of the redemptive process of God. Let us believe for the miracle power of God to restore every psychological dysfunction and make us whole people as well as holy.
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