Stay Away from Indoctrination and Dogma

"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;" (Ephesians 4:14 NASB).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Life: Identity, Relationships, Ego, Love and Purpose

Dear Friends:

I was once married for 13 years, but my marriage ended in divorce on September 3, 2009. I had been sober and going to 12-Step meetings weekly from 1990 up until the time that I got married in 1995. By December 1996, I realized how depressed I was, and had not been to too many meetings my fifth-through-six year clean and sober. I chose to turn back to drinking and other substances to try and cope with reality---what a prodigal son mistake!

When I separated from my wife in October 2008, I realized that I needed to go back to working on myself and immediately started therapy with a psychologist. I also started attending Al-Anon 12-Step meetings, because alcoholism had plagued our family. I was self righteous and pointed the finger at my wife's drinking while married the last few years...Little did I realize that on March 1, 2011, that I would walk back into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and get sober again myself. Today, I live clean and sober and off all mind and mood altering substances for over two years by the Grace of God and vigilantly working the program of AA.

In April 2012, I met a wonderful, Godly woman on Christian and we dated for almost seven months, until I moved 3 hours away to focus more on my relationship with my three teenage daughters. Even though my priorities today are Christ, Sobriety, Health and my daughters, I still sometimes get lonely and yearn for celibate female companionship.

Recently, I was on Christian Mingle again and came upon a profile of a woman who caught my eye. After reading her profile and the fact that she stated that she has created her own concept about God, I felt compelled to talk with her. The woman's profile stated that she was "looking for a Christian man who is down with Carl Jung and the Buddha."

Even though adherents say that it is a lifestyle and not a religion, Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha, meaning "the awakened one." The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BC.

Beginning with Hinduism in India, about every 500 years, except the year 1000 B.C., a new world religion appeared on the world scene. Hinduism began around the same time of Abraham’s birth and is referred to as the oldest religion because archeologists can trace it back to 2000 B.C. Second, Judaism appeared about 1500 B.C. with the giving of the 10 Commandment Law to Abraham’s descendants. Three monotheistic religions (i.e., belief in one God)—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—all trace their roots back to Abraham. Judaism emerged through Abraham’s promised son Isaac (Gal. 4:22-28) who was grandfather to the 12 sons that headed the tribes of Israel. Judaism takes its name from the kingship tribe of Judah.

About 500 years before the Messiah, a resurrection of new religious and philosophical ideas sprang forth. Many historians consider the 6th and 5th century B.C. the most spectacular ages in the history of mankind. This period was marked by an exploration into the soul and the mysteries of the universe.

The Persian Empire was at its zenith and around the same time Buddhism arose in India, Confucianism and Taoism developed in China, and the various Greek writers and philosophers, such as Socrates (c. 470 - 399 B.C.), Anaxagoras (c. 500 - c. 428 B.C.), and Pythagoras (c. 580–500 B.C., Greek philosopher and mathematician) flourished. Around this same time King Cyrus, a Persian, freed Israel from Babylonian bondage.

I have studied every major world religion, so it is very easy for me to backslide and get caught up with the wrong type of women, and the devil knows that and tries to use it against me. But, if I am to be married again, I would prefer to be equally yoked!

1 Corinthians 6:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”[a] 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:16 Genesis 2:24 

Men of God have fallen from grace numerous times by falling for the wrong woman and giving into the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and pride of life.

2 Timothy 3:6-7 (NLT)
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of[a] vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)

a. 3:6 Greek and take captive.

Although King David was a man after God's own heart, he fell with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), and his son, King Solomon, had over 700 wives and he burnt incense to the gods of his wives and worshipped these gods, who represented the devil and his various names (1 Kings 11).

Proverbs 24:16 (NLT)
16 "The Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.
    But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked."

The problem I find today in desiring to date a woman in her 40s, who is a Christian, is that some woman seem to be going through an identity crisis of what it means to imitate Christ. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was ONLY about His father's business and taught the Holy Scriptures on living right, worshipping ONLY God, social relations, marriage, etc., etc.

Carl Gustav Jung (26 July 1875 – 6 June 1961) proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personality, archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, literature, and related fields.

I sent an E-mail to the woman on Christian Mingle, and wrote that I was more down with the psychological teachings of Erik Erikson, and that I had a problem with Buddhism as a Christian, because of the concept of Chakras and Serpent Power—obviously, she did not respond to my message (LOL).

Kundalini experiences is the feeling of a bioelectric current running along the spine. In yoga, Kundalini, is envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as "Serpent Power." Be careful what you practice and what spirits you invite!

If you are going to practice meditation, I strongly suggest that you pray and meditate on God's grace and Word, the Holy Bible, and Jesus' teachings.

Erik Erikson (15 June 1902 – 12 May 1994) was a German-born American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychosocial development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis.

Although I told the woman on Christian Mingle that I am more down with the teachings of Erik Erikson, I have found throughout my life experience that psychology often leaves out the Christ Factor and the Truth of God's Word---as well as His plan for our lives.

I will compare the teachings of Erikson's Stages of Psychological Development to God's Word.

Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development

Erikson's Fidelity - Identity vs. Role Confusion Stage
Adolescence (12 to 18 years)

Social Relationships:
Teens need to develop a sense of self and personal identity. Success leads to an ability to stay true to yourself, while failure leads to role confusion and a weak sense of self.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
19 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

Erikson's Intimacy vs. Isolation Stage
Young Adulthood (19 to 40 years)

Young adults need to form intimate, loving relationships with other people. Success leads to strong relationships, while failure results in loneliness and isolation.

1 Corinthians 7:7-9 (NIV)
7 "I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."

a. 1 Corinthians 7:8 Or widowers

Erikson's Generativity vs. Stagnation Stage
Middle Adulthood (40 to 65 years)

Work and Parenthood:
Adults need to create or nurture things that will outlast them, often by having children or creating a positive change that benefits other people. Success leads to feelings of usefulness and accomplishment, while failure results in shallow involvement in the world.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 NKJV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one![a] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

a. Deuteronomy 6:4 Or The Lord is our God, the Lord alone (that is, the only one)

Mark 12:28-31 (NIV)

The Greatest Commandment

28 "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”

a. Mark 12:29 Or The Lord our God is one Lord
b. Mark 12:30 Deut. 6:4,5

c. Mark 12:31 Lev. 19:18

Creating a positive change that benefits other people can be as simple as leading them to personal relationship with Jesus Christ as opposed to the rituals and Tradition(s) of men.

Erikson's Ego integrity vs. Despair Stage
Maturity (65 to death).

Reflection on Life:
Older adults need to look back on life and feel a sense of fulfillment. Success at this stage leads to feelings of wisdom, while failure results in regret, bitterness, and despair.

On ego identity versus role confusion, ego identity enables each person to have a sense of individuality, or as Erikson would say, "Ego identity, then, in its subjective aspect, is the awareness of the fact that there is a self-sameness and continuity to the ego's synthesizing methods and a continuity of one's meaning for others" (1963). Role confusion, however, is, according to Barbara Engler in her book Personality Theories (2006), "the inability to conceive of oneself as a productive member of one's own society" (158).

I often share with people an acronym for E.G.O. (Edging God Out), and I have found that if following the example of Jesus Christ and God's Word is not the priority of my life, then I suffer with role confusion and despair.

If you are feeling lonely and are looking for someone to share your life with trust that God knows what He is doing. Seek to love and serve the Lord first with all your heart before you seek to share your life with someone else. 

I too must take my own advice!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

My father always told me, "David, you cannot know where you are going, unless you know where you come from." Today, I know that whether or not God has plans for me to remarry, I am creating a positive change that benefits other people. My creativity comes from the Holy Spirit to compile the Truth of God's Word in a way that simplifies God's Story and plan for humanity.

1 Corinthians 7:33-35 (NIV)
33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."

I truly believe that God used my self will run riot in my marriage and turned it around, after I repented for living on E.G.O. Today, I deny my carnal desire to jump into another relationship, so that I can stay devoted to the Lord and focused on evangelizing to my children and others. If God has plans for me to remarry, it will happen in His time and not on my agenda.

Before you seek a romantic relationship, hopefully you will identify that you are not your own, you belong to God. Therefore seek to glorify God with your body, heart, mind, soul and actions.

Let go of E.G.O., self will, over intellectualizing and seeking out strange religions and teachers to tell you what your itching ears want to hear about God and what it means to be a Christian.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV)
3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

Christianity is not a religion, it is a lifestyle. If you want to know what romantic love is, you have to first learn what agape love is. If you cannot practice agape love in your social relationships, how will you be able to love your spouse?
Whether you meet your soul mate on Christian Mingle, or at church, there is no guarantee that you will remain together.

Matthew 19:7-8 (NIV)
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning."

Therefore if your marriage fails, do not turn your back on God, instead seek to grow closer to the Lord and realize that He is working all things to His glory and for your good purpose. Moreover, seek to practice agape love at the most difficult times in your life and with the most difficult people...
Matthew 5:44 (KJV)
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
I you want to live a life of purpose, read The Purpose Driven Life, What On Earth Am I Here For by Rick Warren.

Godspeed, love and Truth,
Brother David Johnson, XU

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