by Joseph Monte
The word of the Lord from Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. This fundamental verse constructs the foundation of one of the most important, yet arguably one of the most overlooked, aspects of scripture. Today’s topic will focus on psychology. When you think of the word psychology, perhaps what comes to mind is a man looking old and frail, long white beard, glasses resting ever so gently on the tip of his nose, explaining in whimsical constructs the nature of our dreams, our urges, our desires, and our lusts, as he sits in an old leather chair, wearing a drab suit puffing away on his pipe. Or, perhaps we think of psychology today as science too vast for the average person to truly understand its mechanisms, particularly on an institutional level. Certainly, modern science, as in most cases, has offered to protect people from the burden of knowledge. Simply by explaining things in a reductionist, materialist view, one can find comfort in being told that they are nothing but a collection of atoms randomly floating in space, where consciousness is still a problem that has yet to be explained, but don’t worry, to alleviate this problem, we will simply place consciousness in hierarchal subservience to the uncontrollable primal instincts of our nature; stemming from an earlier phase of our Darwinian evolution. Therefore, it is these human urges which are to be lifted up and worshiped above all else, no matter how heinous, immoral, or at least, insipid they may be. Is it any wonder why many people say that science and the bible consistently contradict each other? Modern studies of psychology, not unsimilar to the various branches of other physical sciences, remain in a schism with religious studies, which makes this topic especially difficult to address because of all the confusion around it. But if we want to continue allowing these misconceptions to breed, we the faithful might as well serve the egos of every atheist healthy portion of prime rib with glasses of fine cabernet until they are so full they can’t even walk away from the table. That is what we do when we ignore fundamental truths, universal to all of life no matter what you believe. Generally speaking, psychology offers a glimpse into how a man works and what makes his gears turn. Seems like an incredibly important discipline. So why doesn’t the bible focus on psychology? Actually, the bible not only focuses on psychology, but it also places a high premium on the subject. So high, in fact, that it will surprise you just how important it is. Let’s start by looking at the actual definition of the study. The term “psychology” derives from the Greek root, the psyche. The word psyche literally means “soul”. Psychology pertains, therefore, to a study of the soul (or spirit) of man. The etymology of the word psyche stems from the Greek word ψῡχᾱ́ (psūkhā́), which means “Breath of Life”. Interesting… Keep that in mind as we revisit Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God… breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Fascinating. Right there we see clear evidence that, at its core essence, psychology is the study of the breath of life that God gave you. The living soul that animates you.
According to Genesis 1:26-27, we are made in the image of God, and we have been given dominion over His creation. What is it that separates us from the beasts of the wild? It is our heightened state of consciousness, or more specifically, our sentience; the breath of life we hold
that stands out from the rest of living beings and makes us as we are, in the likeness of God. Humans are complex creatures, that’s certainly an obvious fact. It is easily understood that we are very different from the rest of the animal kingdom. We stand out as pack leaders in any situation, but not because we can run faster or shoot poison. We are not the biggest, strongest, most muscular beasts on this earth. No, instead, we have an intellectual muscle that gives us reign over our environment both in a predatory and protectionist sense. It’s our intellect which makes us stronger and far superior in almost every situation that calls for our survival in nature. This is a gift from God, and only those who use their creative intellect to its maximum potential are afforded the best lives within humanity. The psyche is our strongest muscle. It is the brawn that makes us a force to not reconcile with. Therefore, it is best that we study how this muscle works, and how to exercise it so that it performs in the most optimal ways. It is both an opportunity and a duty because the gift that was given to us by God; the gift of life that makes us in His likeness, thus gives us domain over the earth, is a responsibility of the highest order to maintain and it must be taken very, very seriously. We, therefore, must be the ambassadors of God’s will to the earth. The bible gives us a plethora of teachings and examples in various forms on how to do exactly that. Let’s take the example of the Hebrew people wandering the desert for decades. They had a purpose, for they were told what that purpose was, but it took a long time and much hardship before the purpose manifested into results. How true is life? Anything you seek that is worth something of great value will take time and effort to achieve, and at a high cost. It’s the old adage; “you get what you pay for.” But was their voyage to the promised land without direction, and done in vain? Of course not. In fact, they had some of the most disciplined set of directions ever handed down by any leader in recorded history. So regimented was their endeavor that it has lasted for thousands of years. Still, to this day, not just Jews but people of all faiths recognize the precepts handed down as perhaps the most genuine structure to guide all those who adhere to it to success. A guide which originated in the Breath of Life, given to us by our creator. A guide which taught those struggling through great trial how to overcome mentally and physically. A guide which was, and is today, called “Law”; a mutual and equitable contract between mankind and the Divine. You see, one of the most principle aspects of psychology is finding a strategy to overcome adversity. The bible is loaded with examples of that. Whether it was David who knew in his heart of hearts that he had to conquer the last of the giants, or Daniel who had to find his way out of a den of lions, or Yeshua who overcame 40 days of fasting in isolation, we are given story after story of heroes who, to this day, serve as primary examples of psychological fortitude. The bible is filled with great men and women who conquered land and sea, kingdom, and nation; people great and small from all walks of life who sought through their heart of hearts the Breath of Life, their channel to God, and received purpose. To accomplish that purpose, they had to master their minds and overcome adversity to achieve the ultimate breakthrough. Once again, psychology is the study of the soul. I will go as far as to say that it is the study of perfecting one’s soul by developing the mental skills needed to overcome adversity; a trait which all great people who leave a lasting mark on this earth unanimously share. In a prior occupation of mine, we had a saying: it’s 10% what happens to you, 90% what you make of it. Meaning, you are given a situation. Your environment dealt you a hand which is largely out of your control. How you handle that situation will determine your next steps forward and whether you succeed through overcoming or fail because you choose to view it incorrectly. Either way, it is a choice that originated in your psyche or your soul.
Several years ago, Lord RayEl educated us on the nature of the soul. He explained that there are varying degrees of experience that souls undergo through many trials and tribulations which have been encountered not just in this life but through many lifetimes. Then there are those who have a more advanced soul. This is what we call a spirit. The analogy given is that a soul is like an empty page, whereas a spirit is like a well-written book. The spirit has undergone many psychological trials and has an advanced psyche by gaining more experience and overcoming more tests. Improving the mind can be equitably related to improving the body, for the psyche itself grows over time as we exercise it. It begins with a commitment to grow. Like exercising a muscle, in order to build it, there is a golden range of time that it must be spent under tension and duress so that optimal results may be achieved. Too easy of a test, i.e. too light of weight or not enough reps, and the muscle never grows. Too difficult a test and the muscle becomes catabolic, which means it begins to break down and undergoes the opposite effect of growth. It becomes injured and is then required for outside assistance to resuscitate it. The human psyche works the same way. Too much comfort and stimulation to the mind without enduring hardship to earn it defeats the principle of work-reward, and as a result, the mind doesn’t properly grow. However, too much stress and trauma, and the mind breaks down. Today’s society serves us with highly transparent examples of both of these dilemmas. Systematically and technologically speaking, we are highly advanced. Overall, the people who occupy our more advanced areas of civilization are no longer forced to enter into the same struggle for basic needs that our ancestors once had to endure. Comforts and material possessions come with greater ease and frivolous means of seeking entertainment abound. The results are a weakened society in every way spiritually. You have children who never grow up, men who no longer act like men, and women who no longer act like women. You have some people who feel undignified over the slightest injustice, meanwhile, others who never lift a finger in the face of real unruliness, and overall, many people avoid doing anything outside of their comfort zones. It exemplifies the meaning of “great societies breed weak people.” Today, we are weak. There is another form of weakness abounding, which stems from the overexertion of the psyche. We are hyper-stimulated by fear and stress. The increasing pressures at work, the constant maintenance that parents undergo to keep their house afloat. War and conflict are no longer reserved for the toughest of soldiers on the battlefield. Anyone, no matter their fortitude, is encouraged to sign up to fight. Neither is war any longer reserved for times of ultimate desperation. Despite the modern comforts we’ve achieved, we’ve not reduced war. Instead, our world today in a constant state of military engagement. Neither is the battlefield kept separate from civilian life. The battle has been brought to the cities and suburbs where gangs operate in a militant fashion. Furthermore, the news and media expose us to the horrors of war on a constant basis. As a result of these psychosis-inducing stimuli, drugs and alcohol, and vices of all sorts, run rampant, and so do cycles of abuse. The home is no longer a safe space; it is a dungeon that many youths cannot wait to escape. The overstimulation coupled with abuse provides a highly catabolic effect to the psyche, and as the individual breaks down, so too does the collective. We are not just weak, we are injured. A time that was prophesied about in all of the ancient scriptures referring to the end of days. Yes, we as God’s faithful are more adept at this great predicament. But we are also not immune to it. We, who serve Lord RayEl, make up the body of Christ; the muscles which move weight and become stronger as we explore ways to improve, exert controlled force, and obtain results through balanced cycles of repetition and rest. It is through your environment that the tests are administered, and it is through your breath of life that you are given the tools to
overcome. The health of this muscle is vital to the spiritual growth and development, not just of yourself, but of all of humanity. It is said in scripture, according to the words of Yeshua, that unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Wow! Here we have it; psychology, aka the study of the spirit, is the MOST important discipline identified in scripture. Here, all this time, people thought scientific processes and religious morality were in conflict. There is a conflict, but not within any true branch of science or religion. The conflict lies within and between two distinct areas. First, the realms of dogmatic, fundamentalist churches who convince naïve individuals that they can bypass the work-reward balance that exists in all of nature by believing that they’ve been “born again” because they simply recited a prayer. Second, the modern, materialistic, reductionist science that gives individuals the idea that they can also bypass the work-reward balance through different means; by providing individuals with no sense of obligation to the Creator through studying the real capabilities of their breath of life beyond basic material constructs. Either way, you have two divergent paths offered by mainstream society, both heavily traveled, each offering the same indemnification in their own respective ways. No. The truth to obtaining an enlightened psyche exists only in real spirituality; the growth and development of the soul or spirit through healthy cycles of agitation and rest. This is the psychology described in the scriptures. Whether it’s the in the lessons taught by those who conquered foreign lands and the perspective they found so that they could fulfill their purpose. Whether it was the Songs of Solomon or the Psalms of King David, who provided the ultimate “positive psychology” that gave their tenures on the throne a meaningful existence and kept them strong through temptation. Whether it was the prophets who taught how to endure struggles as they preached a message that no one wanted to hear. Or whether it was the apostles of Christ, who carried the teachings of our Lord to distant lands in hopes that it will one day have a lasting impact on society. ALL of these great warriors, within their struggles, taught us how to strengthen our Breath of Life so that we may find true consultation from the Almighty God. That is real psychology. I implore all to see how to strengthen oneself to overcome and achieve great rewards. For in the Book of James 1:12, the most basic fundamental element of true psychology is given: “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”