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Psychological Health and Development

written by Asher Intrater
December 01, 2001

I am surprised to think that Yeshua was not immersed in water and anointed for ministry until the age of thirty. Even for the most perfect person whoever lived, who had ideal parents, a process was needed for thirty years of psychological growth and development before he was ready to enter the supernatural power of his ministry.

I am also surprised at how many people who are extremely spiritual end up shipwrecking their lives, not because of lack of spirituality or sin, but because of psychological problems and dysfunctions. We as spiritual people often under estimate the importance of psychological health as part of our overall spiritual well being.

God made us as three-part people: spirit, soul, and body. While the spirit is more important than the soul, and the soul more important than the body, the three are interconnected and dependent upon one another. The soul is a kind of container for the spirit. If the soul is cracked, we have a spiritual problem. You have hewn for yourselves cisterns that will not hold water (Jeremiah 2:13).

When we look at the childhood of Yeshua, we can note several areas of development in the area of the soul that are important for all of us.

  1. Body: Health and Hygiene

Luke 2:40: And the Child grew.

When a child grows with decent parenting, he learns basic things such as how and what to eat, how to brush his teeth, how to comb his hair, how to sit up straight, and how to put on his clothes. Sometimes such simple functions are missing in adults. With the breakdown of the family, it’s easy to find teens and young adults whose nutrition does not go beyond a coke and a candy bar. Often there is an inability to sit straight in a chair. Many smoke cigarettes or take drugs at a young age. Many have experienced physical or sexual abuse. Often basic principles of personal cleanliness and hygiene are missing. These physical problems are accompanied by psychological damage as well.

Mark 5:15

Then they came to Jesus and saw the one who had been demon possessed…sitting and clothed and in his right mind.

Before Jesus cast the legion of demons out of this man, he wandered sleepless nights in the tombs, naked and cutting himself with stones. Today we have many people who have been torn apart physically, psychologically and spiritually by legions of demons. The power of the Holy Spirit can bring wholeness to body and soul.

  1. School: Listening and Learning

When the demon-possessed man was healed, he sat listening and learning from Yeshua. The ability to study and think is part of the pre-development of a spiritual man. Daniel and his three friends in Babylon were disciplined in their program of studies, and then went on to the supernatural power of miracles.

Sometimes when a psychologically fractured person receives a spiritual revelation, he knows how to talk, but he does not know how to listen. Listening is a psychological skill that brings spiritual fruit.

Luke 2:46
They found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

Some of our young people who have been touched by the spirit of revival think that it is not important for them to do well in school. But school training is part of the intellectual development that God gave to man. Even Yeshua as a child listened and learned from his teachers.

  1. Parents: Submitting to Authority

Although Yeshua was the Son of God, He also submitted to His parents while He was growing up.

Luke 2:51
Then He went down with them [Mary and Joseph] and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.

Yeshua obeyed the Ten Commandments that He was to honor, obey, and submit to His parents. Even though He was the perfectly obedient Son of the living God, He developed as a human child by submitting to His parents.

God’s kingdom is made up of many spheres of authority: in the family, in the congregation, in the government, in the workplace, etc. Part of our psychological development is to learn to obey human authority. That human psychological submission leads to the greater spiritual submission to God Himself.

A dysfunctional person may not know how to relate to his parents. Later on he may struggle with a rebellious and independent spirit even if he loves the Lord with all his heart. A psychologically whole person knows how to balance submission to human authority with the faith to follow God in the spirit.

  1. Friends: Relating to People

As a child grows in the social environment of family, school, and congregation, he learns how to relate with people, cooperate with them, and to work together as a team.

Luke 2:52

Yeshua increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

As Yeshua grew, He learned how to have favor with other people. While His message was bold and often quite offensive, He was not dysfunctional in His relationships with other people. Some people try to cover up that their psychological inability to relate with other people by calling it boldness and zeal for God. But knowing how to relate with people, converse with them, develop friendships and treat people with favor is part of the groundwork that leads to spiritual ministry in the future.

  1. Work: Patience and Perseverance

Some people also make spiritual excuses for failing at their jobs or avoiding work. Yet, Yeshua worked as a carpenter until He was 30. The great rabbi Paul worked as a tent maker. When Yeshua called James and John to be His disciples, they were working together in a fishing business with their father.

Mark 1:19-20

He saw James and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.

Yeshua saw certain qualities in James and John in their psychological development that formed the basis for their spiritual calling. They were friends and brothers who knew how to cooperate. They were working steadily in a successful business, and even had servants. They were submitted and obedient to their father not only in the home, but also in their business. The same was true for Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. Yeshua called them from being natural fishermen to being supernatural fishermen. Through work, we develop the psychological characteristics of patience and perseverance. Those psychological traits then develop into the fruit of the spirit.

  1. Inner Healing

None of us had perfect parents. None of us was psychologically whole when we came to the Lord. All of us need psychological healing to some degree or another. Yeshua said that the spirit of the Lord was on Him not only to preach the gospel, but also to “heal the broken hearted (Luke 4:18).” Inner healing is part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He heals our psychological hurts. He makes up for what was lost in our psychological development.

When we come to God, we are “re-parented” by Him. The Bible tells us that where our parents have failed us, God will show us special compassion (Psalm 27:10).

We need to see psychological development as part of the creative process of God. Psychological health is part of the fruit of the spirit. Our souls and our spirits are bound together. Psychological healing is part of the redemptive process of God. Let us believe for the miracle power of God to restore every psychological dysfunction and make us whole people as well as holy.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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