Spiritual Lessons From a Psychology Class

lessons from a psychology class

Although psychology is a relatively new study, it is very important in our world today. But throughout the study of the human mind and behavior, something is missing. That “something” is the presence of a soul, a deeper meaning, a purpose. It is impossible to exclude God from psychology. He provides explanations to psychologist’s deepest perplexities. This course has taught me not only how complex people are but also how hopeless they are. Eight weeks ago, when I read the definition of psychology for the first time, I had no idea how much I would grow and learn. The study of psychology taught me lessons about myself, others, and God that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Studying psychology provided me with some applications to my personal life. Mostly, I was reminded week after week where my focus should be. Nearly every part of psychology involves a balance between nature and nurture. Both biology and the environment play a crucial role in our development, emotions, and responses to stress. A main determinant in how I live my life is my perspective and how deeply I allow things to affect me. Neither emotions nor stress are negative things. They only become negative when I choose to respond sinfully. If my focus is on Christ, however, I learn to live by the Spirit and be guided by Him rather than my environment. This is a lesson that I learn over and over again. Another lesson I learned is that my way is not always the best way. God wired me with very specific abilities and tendencies, designed to be used for His purpose. Sin has twisted these gifts. Therefore, like I was reminded while reading through Proverbs, I must remember to seek counsel from others and from God rather than assuming my way is the best. My focus and my pride are just two of the areas that I was challenged by in this class.

Psychology also provided some fascinating insights about God. Everything that He designed was so perfect, from the breathtaking functions of the brain and nervous system, to the each and every person’s personality. Unfortunately, this manifestation of God’s creativity and perfection was tainted by sin. Now, people vainly attempt to explain these things without God. In every godless psychological theory, there is a gaping hole that psychologists desperately try to ignore. The missing piece in many theories is the presence of a soul. For example, Sigmund Freud, who made revolutionary discoveries in psychology, proposed a bizarre and distorted view of personality involving unconscious sexual and aggressive urges (Feldman 385). Interestingly, some of Freud’s basic premises were borrowed from Christian psychologist Johan Christian August Heinroth, who based his theory of personality off of Romans 7. Freud, an atheist, left God out of his theories, therefore producing unscientific explanations of the “unconscious.” Clearly, since God designed everything flawlessly, it is impossible to explain psychology without Him. This class taught me that no complex theory or explanation can ever compare to God’s truth. Studying psychology also solidified my belief in God’s Word. Each week of study, I found a Bible verse that aligned with the topic that we were studying. This proves that the Bible is unerring and timeless, just like the Creator who wrote it. Studying God’s creation of the brain and soul deepened my faith in Him.

Finally, I learned a great deal about others from this class. In the chapter on social psychology, I learned that we tend to think of people as the same as us. In reality, we are all very different. By nature, people are selfish. Like most people, I have struggled all my life with focusing on others instead of myself. As I began to learn about how differently each person sees the world, I realized even more that God wants me to disregard the “my way or the highway” concept that I tend to follow. In week 3, I learned about all of my different senses and that, just like everyone, I have my own unique way of perceiving the world. This taught me to be more aware of and empathetic toward the perspectives of other people. Another lesson that I learned about people is that they are hopeless. Without God, we have no purpose. Despite this, people desperately try to explain away the need for a God. As someone who has been exposed to Christianity my entire life, I cannot wrap my mind around how a person can look at the world and say there is no God. In week 2, while thinking about this concept, I came across 1 Corinthians 4:4, which provides the only explanation to this blindness: “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (The Holy Bible).” These people are hopeless. Rebellion against God provides explanation for so many psychological questions, such as the increase in disorders and the mystery of aggression. As we near the end of time, Christians must share our hope with these hopeless people, whether or not they choose to accept it. Jesus is the only cure for sin and the only way to psychological and spiritual peace. I am grateful for these lessons I learned about other people because now I understand them better, which allows me to witness to them better.

Before this class, I thought psychology was basically the study and treatment of mental disorders. Now I understand that it is so much more than that. Studying psychology provided insights into my own mind and the minds of others, as well as deepening my faith in God. From the study of the brain to the complexities of psychological disorders, His fingerprints are throughout all of psychology, if we only choose to see them.

Works Cited
Feldman, Robert S. Essentials of Understanding Psychology, 11th edition. New York: McGraw-   Hill Education, 2015. Print.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2011. Print.

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