Summary: Part 1 in the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality series, this message looks at signs of emotionally unhealthy spirituality, and examines these characteristics in the life of Saul in 1 Samuel 15.
The Problem of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, prt. 1
Wildwind Community Church
October 10, 2010
We all know that some things look great on the surface, but they're a disaster underneath. For example, in Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, the radar was picking up a large formation of planes heading towards Hawaii, and it was, of course, the first wave of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The officer on duty said, "Don't worry about it. It's nothing." President William McKinley in August 1901, a few days before he was assassinated, said to reporters, "I have no enemies. Why should I fear?" And the CEO of a company called Digital Equipments, in 1977 said, "There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home." I'm not sure the company exists anymore.
And, of course, sometimes things don't look very good on the surface, but underneath they are really very good. In 1954, a manager of a club told Elvis Presley at one of his first performances in Nashville, Tennessee, "You ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck." In Germany, a teacher told a 10-year-old Albert Einstein, "You will not amount to much." And then in 1958, the CBS producer said to Barbara Walters. "With your voice, no one's going to let you broadcast."
So, things are not always as they appear to be and it can be very confusing. During the next 8 weeks we're doing a series called "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality." It's from the book of the same name, which I trust many of you will be reading. The thesis of the book is
"Emotional Health And Contemplative Spirituality Must be Brought Together to have Emotionally Healthy Spirituality." When our spirituality is not emotionally healthy, we are not who we appear to be – there are broken places in us deep beneath the surface of our lives. When our spirituality is emotionally healthy, God has been allowed to transform not just the surface parts of us, but all of us.
So today, we're going to talk about the problem of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. And we’re going to use an iceberg as an illustration, which probably some of you have seen before. It shows how ten percent is visible above the surface of the water. That's what everybody can see in our lives- that's behavioral change. But it also reveals the ninety percent that is below the surface. It is the things deep beneath the surface in our lives, those things that we can't see and that come out when we are under great stress, that’s the 90% that Jesus is out to transform.
Now the stuff we’re going to look at, intellectually, you can understand it quite easily. But it's another thing entirely to actually begin to implement it into your life, where it actually changes the way that you live, the way that you see God, the way that you follow Jesus Christ, and the way that you make decisions on an everyday basis. And so what we're after as a church is to integrate this more deeply into us. It's God's time for us, my friends. I know it. This has been forming in my heart and mind for about three years. I have chosen not to bring it to you until it was right in my heart and in my life and now is the time. And this is not just an eight-week thing. This is really where I’ll be laying out for you my vision for the kind of people, and the kind of church, I believe we need to be. Important changes will be made in our lives and in our church in the coming years that will point back to this season. Count on it. But you just can't read through this and say "Oh yeah, I get it!" It really does require talking about it. It requires working out the kinks. It requires small groups. And that's why a workbook was created for your small groups. It's not just throwing something into your Christian lives like a little icing on the cake. We're talking about a real revolution in the way that you look at God and the way that you follow Christ. And it's so different from the way the world functions. It's even very different from the way the church-at-large functions. I'm well aware of what we are up against because we’re talking about changing habits - unhealthy habits that go back your whole life. And I really believe it's where God's calling us. So today, we are going to talk about emotionally unhealthy spirituality.
Pete Scazzero, the author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, says this about emotionally unhealthy spirituality. He says, "I've lived it full force for the first 19 years of my life. I became a Christian at 19, but for the next 17 years, as a Christian, the truth was, the gospel didn't extend very far beneath my own iceberg. I continued to live on the surface. A lot of things were changing, but I was unhealthy. I embraced it. I lived it. And I experienced its destructive effects. And I think it's part of what God used in my own life to begin to show me some things. It's been a very slow process for me to come out of that into some health. And I'm still working on it. By