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Chapter 8 - Aversion therapy
Paul received a commission from God that involved bringing the light of Jesus to the Gentiles.
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Acts 26:18
There is a clarity that comes when one embraces truth. It can be seen with the Jews who came to realize that they contributed to putting to death their Messiah 50 days earlier.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? - Acts 2:26-37
The Christian who is awakening and having his eyes opened to truth frequently begins to see the way he lives his life as falling short of what he would like. Even worse, he recognizes his repeated failures to live the life he now sees as desirable.
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. - Romans 7:14-15
There is a type of therapy where an electric shock is given to a person when he wants a cigarette such that he comes to associate the desire for a cigarette with a painful experience. This is called negative reinforcement or aversion therapy. While this can be somewhat useful in training animals, the Christian should be encouraged to avoid this sort of correction for himself. For example, the Christian who berates himself for each failure may think he can summon enough will power to be more successful in the future. He does not understand that dying to self and selfishness is not accomplished by self-mastery.
There are some useful elements that can be extracted from failure analysis. Like the alcoholic who learns to avoid situations that might trigger indulgence, we can identify some of our individual vulnerabilities and minimize the frequency and degree of failure. While we can learn to minimize some of the worst aspects of our selfish nature, we are not going to be able to escape it on our own.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. - Romans 7:18
For a person to make changes in his life, he first needs to see that something is wrong, desire to correct it, and then learn how to. The Christian who begins to recognize the destructive nature of selfishness and even come to see that self on its own is harmful may begin to have a desire for change. It is when that desire reaches the level of taking action, that the Christian may find he is uncertain of what to do.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? - Romans 7:24
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