[Papercut Press] 2001-09-11 - Dr. Phil

2 Thessalonians 2:14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My wife enjoys watching a life strategist who frequently appears on Oprah. His name is Dr. Phil and she and I now, when we are able, watch together the shows he is on. He is very practical and has a way of cutting through the walls that people put up and getting quickly to the root of the problem. His methods are very straightforward and his applications are very practical. He has a gift for making the individual with the question or problem listen to themselves and draw the necessary conclusions. As I said, we now both watch together and in almost every way we find him helpful.

Oprah has kicked off her new 2001 season with a Dr. Phil special where he goes one on one with 42 people who volunteered to have their lives picked apart by him over a five day span. His goal is to take these people from where they are currently, which seems to be unhappiness for all of them, and to bring them to where they want to be. He wants to help these people learn how to make their lives better. As I said above he is excellent at getting to the heart of the matter and offering practical solutions to problems. His goal, it seems, is that after five days, these 42 people will walk away changed.

I have no doubt that many or all of the 42 will have life changing experiences during these five days. But I submit that a flaw in the methods of Dr. Phil is the failure to understand that the only one who can change a life is Jesus Christ. Only Christ can take a heart of stone and turn it into a fleshy heart again, Matthew 12:35, Luke 6:45. Only Christ can take a life which has searched for meaning in every corner, finding nothing but despair, and accomplish real, lasting change. Any changes that originate from us, without a prior change of our hearts through Christ, will only be temporary, Matthew 15:19. It is like putting a Band-Aid on a sliced artery. It may look like a start, but it hardly solves the problem.

The problems for those who are outside of Christ stem from the fact that they have yet to pass from death to life, John 5:24. They are still living as the old self in Ephesians 4:20-24. Until there is a transformation through the Gospel, the starting point of fixing things in our lives is not in sight. Romans 6:13 also represents the change that the Gospel accomplishes as bringing one alive from the dead. So, if Scripture represents us as dead before the Gospel, it is hard to believe that without the transformation of the Gospel in our lives we can manifest any lasting or meaningful change.

As I said above, I enjoy watching Dr. Phil. But as Christians we must not be fooled into thinking that if we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and resolve to make changes, that all will be well. As Christians we look to Christ first and seek to find all our sufficiency in Him and His Word. It is in placing our focus on Christ that we can then begin to take things like Dr. Phil offers and find usefulness for them. But we must first look to Christ as we seek to restructure or overhaul our lives. It is Christ alone with whom we have to do in this life and the life to come. "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." 1 John 4:14

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com