29 Dec

I don’t think I have ever posted an entire sermon on my blog, but as I was putting this together I thought it would be good to share. I am starting a series called “self HEALTH,” which will focus on emotional health and spirtual transformation. With all of this talk about exercise, losing weight and getting into shape, I wanted to through into getting our emotional/spiritual life in shape. Much of the material was inspired by Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. (See my current reading list below for a link to the book.) He has written the book that I wish I would have written. His premise is right on…there is no spiritual health without emotional health.

May God bless your 2007. May he continue to transform you by the Spirit into the image of the Son for the Joy of God the Father.

A Sermon by Derek Vreeland

Who are you?

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” [20] He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” [21] And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” [22] So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” [23] He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:19-23 ESV

We are called to offer our selves to God, but how can we do that if we don’t even know who we are?

“I shall therefore confess both what I know of myself and what I do not know. For even what I know about myself I only know because your light shines upon me.”
Augustine, Confessions (400 AD)

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26-27 ESV

Our self has worth and dignity,because our self is a reflection of who God is.

In pursuit of a more healthy self, we want to avoid two very distinct ruts:

Rut #1: Exaltation of self
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment…
Romans 12:3 ESV

Rut #2: Annihilation of self
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
Luke 9:25 ESV

Subordination of self
Who I am is important, but who I am is a creation of God.
I am created BY him and FOR him.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16 ESV

The way of self health in the image of God includes:

1) A healthy thought life
Everything in our self is held together by our thinking.

The only thing you can do with unhealthy thoughts is to replace them with good thoughts.
Good thoughts are God’s thoughts.
God’s thoughts are in God’s book.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2 ESV

2) Healthy choices
As you look back at your life, where you are today and who you are today, is mostly a matter of your choices.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live…
Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV

3) A healthy emotional life
God feels.
You were created in the image of God.
You were created to feel.

Your emotional life is a part of who you are. You cannot get yourself healthy, without emotional health.

Emotions fall into eight major categories:
1. Anger (fury, hostility, irritability, annoyance)
2. Sadness (grief, self-pity, despair, dejection, loneliness)
3. Fear (anxiety, edginess, nervousness, fright, terror)
4. Enjoyment (joy, relief, contentment, delight, thrill euphoria, ecstasy)
5. Love (acceptance, trust, devotion, adoration)
6. Surprise (shock, amazement, wonder)
7. Disgust (contempt, scorn, aversion, distaste, revulsion)
8. Shame (guilt, remorse, humiliation, embarrassment)

To ignore your emotional life is a path towards self-destruction.

There is no need to fear or ignore your emotions, because in and of themselves emotions are morally neutral.

Jesus felt all eight emotions:
1. He felt anger over the moneychangers in the temple. (Matt 21:12)
2. He felt sadness and wept over Jerusalem knowing the city would reject him. (Luke 19:41)
3. He felt fear in the garden of Gethsemane, knowing his death was imminent (Luke 22:42)
4. He felt joy when the seventy-two returned with a good report. (Luke 10:21)
5. He felt love for the rich young ruler who came to him asking about eternal life. (Mark 10:21)
6. He felt surprise that a father questioned his willingness to heal his son. (Mark 9:23)
7. He felt disgust for the Pharisees who did not practice what they preached. (Matt 23:13 ff.)
8. He felt shame during his arrest and as he hung bloody, beaten and exposed on the cross. (Luke 18:32)

To get yourself healthy you need to:
1) Know what you feel
2) Understand why you feel
3) Allow God to transform you

…all of which can happen in Christian community.


Posted by on December 29, 2006 in Ministry, Theology



2 responses to “self HEALTH

  1. Santosh

    December 29, 2006 at 7:10 am

    Very good sermon. Continuing the discussion on translations – I had tried preaching from the NLT last year and couldn’t do it. I do a lot of research in both Hebrew and Greek. There was way too much paraphrasing and liberties taken with the NLT. I was blow away at how care-free they seemed tobe in translating.

    I think you’ll like the ESV. I remember Packer talking about it when it first came out – he likes it. Eugene Peterson still uses the RSV.

  2. derek vreeland

    December 30, 2006 at 6:40 am

    I know what you mean about the NLT. I had a NLT Bible, which I loss. I think I left it in Mississippi after doing a wedding there. It was much too lose of a translation for me.

    I have been an NIV guy for the last 10 years. My OT prof. at ORU was on the NIV translation team. I have no problems with the NIV, even though it used a thought for thought translation approach. We will see what treasures await in the ESV.

    I did hear that Peterson is a RSV guy. I read an interview with him where he was asked if he uses the Message Bible for devotional purposes. He said no. He uses the Greek and hebrew texts. HE IS THE MAN! I study from the Greek text when looking at the NT. I am pretty weak in Hebrew.

    tou pistou tou theou…



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