As Christians, most of us are interested in a Christ focused approach to all of the dimensions of our lives. This 20Twenty discussion is about wholeness, not on a secularised level, but wholeness in spirit, heart, body, mind, and social dimensions. As Christians we’re mindful that so many dimensions of our lives appear to be getting darker. The foundations of our lives become all the more important. We can liken it to Jesus’ illustration that a wise person builds their house on the rock and not on shifting sand.
Dr. John Warlow is an adult child and family psychiatrist, and joined us to share his thoughts on how to build our lives on a Biblical foundation. He developed the ‘Christian Wholeness Framework’, and his latest book is called ‘The Cure for Life’. In it, John gives us a pictorial commentary on every book of the Bible. From a counselor’s perspective, he skillfully unfolds universal picture language to apply to any situation that might move people in the direction of Christian wholeness.
John believes that the Christian wholeness framework has been developing over the last 32 years, and he focuses on the Biblical foundation we have in scripture, particularly in Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly tell us that the wise person builds their house on the rock; the foolish one builds their house on the sand. These are words that come from Jesus himself. It’s good for us to reflect on the power of those words, because if you get the foundations wrong, your whole life will suffer.
“In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, prior to which Jesus was saying that it’s actually not just the foundations, but the tree in which you’ve been grafted into will that will bring forth that fruit. It’s the foundations and the root stock from which we come and are responsive to Jesus, doing and obeying what He wants us to do.”
John has developed two diagrams that illustrate what he’s talking about. Firstly, is the shape of the cross, which helps us to look at whether being born again is really our foundation of the building of our lives on Jesus. Secondly, there is another diagram which can map out where we are at any particular time, whether we’re being Christ-centered or self-centered.
“This is a unique expression of mental health, psychiatry and theological truths,” continues John. “What my latest book does is take the essential truths of holistic God centered transformation and put it in the hands and the hearts of people to use in a very easy way.”
Being a Christian psychiatrist adds a powerful dimension to John’s work. “The reason it’s so powerful is because it includes every part of us. It absolutely and centrally includes a theology of change. It includes Jesus, and it includes the Holy Spirit, along with sin and repentance. But it also includes the capacity to look at a psychological view of people, a biological view of people and a sociological view of people as we relate with each other.”
John says there’s a lot of merit when a GP refers someone with a mental health care plan to a psychologist. But the added advantage of this approach is that it brings the Christ focused aspects to holistic change.
“One of my passions and prayers is that psychologists and psychiatrists will become more spiritually minded and include the spiritual within the work they do,” says John. “Secondly, it’s that the church needs to actually be more holistically minded and include the physical, the social and the psychological.”
John believes that while we are in very difficult, frightening times right now, that is all the more reason for us to have a very strong foundation. Even though there may be storms around us, we actually are based on the rock of Jesus.
While psychology and medicine can help, it’s just so central and undergirding and foundational to have a theology of change. “But even more than that, we need a person of change. And that is Jesus Christ.”
Listen below to hear the rest of this fascinating conversation between John and Neil about building our foundation on Jesus.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.
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