In this episode, Craig Marshall sat down with dynamic writer and teacher Elyse Fitzpatrick. Spend some time learning more about Elyse’s unique history and passion for Biblical Counseling. She will also share her thoughts on ‘Screen Addiction,’ a topic she will be tackling at the upcoming Summer Institute 2017.
What is your paradise? What are your conceptions of heaven? Do you long for a place that is not this world? In this episode Elyse Fitzpatrick talks with Craig Marshall about her newest book Home, in which she wrestles with these questions and addresses how a healthy desire to be with Christ can give us hope during our trials right now.
Jim Newheiser and the Goudzwaard’s sit down with Elyse Fitzpatrick to get a sense of the history of the biblical counseling movement. How did all this get started and where are we headed?
There are some people who would have stopped this talk after the first half and just said, “Great, just look to Christ, believe in him, and don’t do anything else.” And that is not a biblical perspective either. And there’s some who seem to break out in hives if someone uses the imperative and uses a command even though the Bible is full of these commands as well, including commands to believers. And they’re so fearful of what they call molism that they, I think, shy away from the biblical imperatives. They will even say, both in preaching and in counseling, just tell people what Christ has done for them, not what they should do for Christ. Well, it’s not either or, it’s both and. Tell them what Christ has done for them. Don’t neglect that. Even if they’re already Christians, keep telling them. But then because of what Christ has done for them, they need to respond. An example of I think the wrong kind of counseling. This is an actual case that happened to me. A couple came in and the husband was enslaved to pornography of a very perverse type. He was neglecting his wife sexually and they went to their pastor and the pastor who had this mentality said, “All I can tell you is look to Christ.” And the wife said, “Well, do we need to like, “cut off the Internet, or put a filter on, “does my husband need some accountability?” “Just look to Christ.” Now, I think we should tell the guy to look to Christ but I think the Bible says a lot more than that as well, like flee youthful lust, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. In the same way… I heard one time, again, someone of this mentality preaching through the Book of Ephesians. And as he came to the section, very practical section in four and five, he took a really big chunk. Immorality, impurity or greed should not be named among you, no filthiness or silly talk, let no one deceive you, don’t be a partaker of darkness, don’t participate unfruitful deeds of darkness. And he’s going through all of these commands that Paul is making, and he said, “All you need to know is that Christ has fulfilled this for you.” Now I would agree with the guy that it’s important for us to know when we proclaim the law that Christ has fulfilled the law for us or we’d be in despair because we fall short. But I don’t think Paul would have agreed that’s all we need to say about that passage.
See, one of the things we begin to discover as we wait into this world of prodigality is that the worst lies aren’t the ones that our prodigals tell us. The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. This is why rugged love starts with strong enough to face evil. This is why I ask you to turn to Romans 12:9 where the word of God says, let love be genuine. Then, it pulls this second idea right up alongside of it, abhor what is evil. Then, we’re going to talk about the third idea in just a second. Let love be genuine.
The implication there is, the real cause of worry, ultimately, is unbelief. They were not trusting in God. Oftentimes, the person who worries is desiring something in God’s place. They’re wanting their health. I had a person who was terrified of getting cancer, she doesn’t even have cancer, but she’s terrified of getting cancer. There are different issues going on. You could argue with her, well, statistically, it’s unlikely, you don’t have a lot of cancer in your family, you’re still fairly young. But can I tell her from the Bible, she’s not gonna get cancer? No, I can’t. Can I tell her she’s gonna live to see her children grown and married and grandchildren? No, I can’t make those promises. What can I tell her? I can tell her that God, Who is sovereign, has His plan, which is perfect for your life, and no matter what happens, whether He gives you cancer or not, that you can trust Him to do what is best, including taking care of your family. Some people, it’s financial security. They’re worried they’re gonna lose their house, they’re worried they can’t pay the bills.
And worry can become very life-dominating. That’s where all these things are together. A person who’s worried can get angry, when they’re threatened, they can become depressed. Worry can affect you physically. Laura talks about this, how when someone is really stressed on the inside, and they’re worried about a relationship, they’re worried about circumstances in their life, it’s going to affect you somehow, organically. Lack of sleep, tension in your stomach, digestive problems. Stress, worry, fear, all are related. And there are ways that we deal with worry sinfully when something concerns us.
Psalm 23 is a good verse for fearing people, I’ve got an outline on that in your notes, I’ve got audios on that, to learn to trust God. That He cares for you as a shepherd. He’s the one who protects you. You can’t ultimately protect yourself. Those who are trusting God are characterized by boldness. Proverbs 28, the wicked flee when no one coming, pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. And when facing fears, especially OCD type fears, the critical question is what would God have me to do? I can’t, quite frankly, if God wants you out working, it’s safer to get out of the house than to be in defiance of God, watching TV all day. That safety is found in doing God’s will. There’s famous quotes by Stonewall Jackson, who said I feel as safe on the battlefield as I felt on my own bed. Now, there may have been a bit of unbiblical fatalism in some of what Stonewall Jackson said, but there’s also some truth in the sense that he had this trust in God that, for him, he was doing his duty. And if he’s doing his duty, he’s as safe as a man could be. Not to mention the fact that when the bullet finds me I’ll be with the Lord anyway. So safety is in doing the will of God.
Some people are fearful because of fear of imperfection. I may mess up, so I won’t even try. Yeah, you’re gonna mess up. Only God is perfect. You have to trust Him. Only God possesses certainty. Only God has absolute control. He is to be trusted. And that means you need to stop trusting in yourself. The Scripture says as we look to Him, then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. That’s Proverbs, chapter three, verses 23 to 26.
For so many of us, the strange stories and bloody rituals of the Old Testament seem completely unrelated to our Christian faith…and yet, Jesus said that all the Old Testament was actually about him. In addition, frequently women feel like the Bible is biased against them and they wonder whether God is still a little irritated about that whole Garden of Eden thing. In this session, Elyse will explain what Jesus taught his disciples about the meaning of the OT and we’ll look at examples that will testify about God’s ongoing love for women.
There are so many ways for us to define ourselves: From our politics, to our family size, our denomination, to our recycling habits, our spiritual disciplines…On and on it goes as we try to discover which fig leaf fits best. In addition, we look to the law to make us happy only to find ourselves filled with despair when we fail (again!) or pride, which is even worse when we succeed. Who are we? How does the Bible define us? And why is that the only identity that will satisfy us?