Here’s a crazy question: Is personal development dangerous? I’m a believer in Jesus and this question comes up more frequently from my Christian friends. Is it a slippery slope? And they’ll say things like… that’s not Bible stuff, that’s personal development and worldly philosophies.
As a Christian, the Bible is the authority of life and the authority over my life. It is the supreme source of truth in my life and this is a very valid question. It is like someone asking if this would violate their core belief system. Is it possible that self-development would take my life’s foundation away?
I’ll share a little bit of my story; grown up in the church all my life (my dad’s a pastor). He’s one of the good ones and retired after 48 years of service in the church and half of my family continues to work in ministry. I love the church. I love the local church. I love the Bible. I love Jesus.
However, about five and a half years ago, I started connecting with some people and I got into a mastermind. Then, I got a coach and started to attend personal development events. The effects of these changes in my life have been a deep lasting transformation. There were things that I had never learned in the church. It did not contradict my Biblical framework and belief system, but it was brought to me in ways I had not heard it before. It did bring in some psychology that brought greater understanding to what was going on inside of me.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…
There’s two sides of that equation; everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. The church did a good job of helping me deal with the sin in my life. The other side are the things that hinder us; it could be things that they’re not necessarily a sin but could lead to sin. Things that hinder, I was abandoned as a child. I lack security. I question my identity. I’ve suffered a lot of loss in my life. These are things that can hinder us: fear, abandonment, rejection, all these things. They can hinder us, but they’re not necessarily sin category.
So when I tapped into personal development, I started to learn some things about what was going on inside of me. And recently I had a mentor share this statement with me that really culminated, that brought a lot of my understanding together and just a succinct statement:
Theology is the truth, psychology is only the meaningful application of the truth.
Theology for me, as a Christian, with the framework of my beliefs in Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, the Bible is TRUTH. Psychology is only the meaningful application of that truth. Now I don’t believe that all truth is God’s truth. So theology trumps psychology. They’re not on the same level. And that means that I can learn from psychology, but it is my understanding Biblically that trumps that. Here’s what I discovered when I started learning from some other sources outside of the church: the church has not historically always done a great job of helping us understand what’s going on on the inside of us.
That’s the study of psychology, understanding what’s going on here in your heart and in here in your mind. And so what helped me on my journey and I’ve been able to help countless others is to get a better understanding of what’s going on inside of us so that we could bring more meaningful application of the truth of God’s Word into their lives.
We have to overcome the fear to look deep and see what is going on inside of us so that we can be all that God designed us to be. He created us to be a masterpiece, but there’s some of those things that hinder that many of you watching this today, you haven’t been able to sort through. You’ve been to Bible studies and church camps, and you’ve attended church every day, but there’s some things that still and hold you back.
And that is when you have to be honest with yourself, if these resources don’t align with the Bible, throw it out. I don’t have any issues with that. No one is going to lead me better than Jesus and the Word of God. That’s 100% what I believe, but I am grateful for some people that have helped me on my journey to see more of what was going on inside of me and then to lead me in ways to practically apply the truth of God’s Word in my life.
And so I just want to encourage you with that; is personal development, dangerous? I say, Hmm. You know, I can’t say unequivocally. No, definitely not. It could be, if you don’t have a firm base again, I’m talking to my Christian audience today. Right. But if you don’t have a firm base, then you could go down a path that would take you in tangents and take you in a lot of different directions.
That’s why I’d never recommend an event or a book or resource to a new believer that’s not firmly founded in their faith, because I want to make sure that that theology is the truth. And then psychology is just a meaningful application of the truth?
Hopefully some of you reading this could realize that there might be some tools that can help you get the freedom for which God created you. When you know the Son, the Son sets us free indeed; when you know the truth, the truth will set you free. The truth and the truth will set you free, but that truth might need some meaningful application in your life that can bring a greater degree of freedom.
I heard somebody say this recently as well. They were talking about the parable of the sower; some seeds fell on good ground, some on rocky ground and some on weedy ground. And most of the time when we hear this parable; we focus on two things. The good ground, we want to be the good ground. And we focus on the sower sowing the seeds; good things. And those are good.
What if we could take the rocky ground and turn it into the good ground? What if what makes rocky ground is the unresolved things going on inside of us?
We don’t just need people to succeed, we need people who can remove the rocks to make the rocky ground fruitful. And by the grace of God, that’s what I’ve got to do with a lot of people that they’ve found a freedom because they didn’t, they didn’t have to learn something new. They just had to remove the rocks out of their life that was keeping God’s Word from bearing the fruit that it wanted to.
I just got real. I got honest. And if you want to have more of a conversation; email me, facebook me. It is opportunities like these where if you are open to dialogue, we can both learn from one another. We’re always getting better. We’re always learning. We’re always growing.
And of course, I have a recommended book for you called Unhindered: Aligning the Story of Your Heart. It is written by Charity Byers and John Walker. This book is basically a biblical breakdown of everything I just shared with you but it will go deeper. There are also tools that I use on a regular basis that are a complete biblical framework of everything that I do.
Hopefully this helped you. Go out there and give your greatness to the world because somebody needs what’s on the inside of you. Go out there and give it away. Love you and have a great day!