Saturday, July 24, 2010

David Powlison

This is great stuff from David Powlison. He is a Christian counselor (I'm tempted to say, "the" christian counselor :) ) that keeps the gospel central and takes pretty aggressive postures toward most modern Psychology. Over at JT's blog, he's doing a series on David Powlison's article, "Seeing with New Eyes" .

I've been pretty hard on the "empty love tank" philosophy in the past. Here is my much needed :) confirmation/affirmation from an authority on the matter. In this short excerpt, David answers the question; Can you change what you want (desire)?"


Can you change what you want? Yes. Does the answer to this question surprise you? It counters influential contemporary views of human motivation. Most Christian counseling books follow on the heels of secular psychologists and take your desires, your “felt needs,” as givens. Many leading Christian psychologists make the unchangeability of what we long for the foundation of their systems. For example, many teach that we have an “empty love tank” inside, and our craving for love must be met, or we are doomed to a life of sin and misery. Desires to feel good about ourselves (“self-esteem”) or to accomplish something meaningful are similarly baptized. This creates the psychological equivalent of the “Health and Wealth” theology, which similarly selects certain common desires and accepts them as givens that God is obligated to fulfill. The psychological versions of health and wealth miss that God is about the business of changing what people really long for. If felt needs are unchangeable, then it is impossible for us to learn to pray the way Solomon did. This reinforces our tendency to pray for our cravings. It reinforces a sense of victimization in those who were mistreated. It reinforces the tendency to press God into the service of our lusts.

The deepest longings of the human heart can and must be changed if mankind is to become all that God designed us to be. Our deviant longings are illegitimate masters; even where the object of desire is a good thing, the status of the desire usurps God. Our cravings should be recognized in order that we may more richly know God as the Savior, Lover, and Converter of the human soul. God would have us long for him more than we long for his gifts. To make us truly human, God must change what we want; we must learn to want the things Jesus wanted. It is no surprise that the psychologists can’t find any biblical proof texts for their view of human motivation. The Bible teaches a different view.

The Christian life is a great paradox. Those who die to self, find self. Those who die to their cravings will receive many times as much in this age, and, in the age to come, eternal life (Luke 18:29). They will find new passions worth living for and dying for. If I crave happiness, I will receive misery. If I crave to be loved, I will receive rejection. If I crave significance, I will receive futility. If I crave control, I will receive chaos. If I crave reputation, I will receive humiliation. But if I long for God and his wisdom and mercy, I will receive God and wisdom and mercy. Along the way, sooner or later, I will also receive happiness, love, meaning, order, and glory.

No comments: