The Idolatry of Pyschiatric Drug Use.
If mood and self-control are areas specifically addressed in the Bible as areas where God will provide solutions through His Word, Spirit and church, then to look to the Psychiatric community to meet these needs through their drugs is idolatry. Lets begin by refreshing our memories about the topic of idolatry in general. In the Bible mankind is commanded to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind. (Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5)” God deserves and rightfully demands complete and exclusive adoration and devotion. The first of the Ten Commandments is to “have no other Gods before Me”. This is clearly repeated in the New Testament in many places like 1 John 5:21 where John says, “little children, guard yourself from idols”. The Bible is full of instruction not to worship anything in the place of Almighty God (Isaiah 40; Romans 1).
Hopefully you are already aware of the fact that you do not have to bow down before a statue or image of some creature or god in order to commit idolatry. We commit idolatry when we set our affections on, or are in awe of anything more than the living God. This can be obvious in situations like our fanatical devotion to a sports team, or infatuation with a member of the opposite sex, however it may also be more subtle. It may involve things like our expections for our children, or our desire to please superiors or co-workers which grows to an unhealthy and idolatrous level. Whenever we are more concerned about what others think, than we are about the opinion of God, even that is a form of idolatry. This should remind us of the fact that we all struggle with idolatry on a daily basis. John Calvin stated it this way, “The human mind is, so to speak, a perpetual forge of idols.” Institutes Book I.XI.8-9 A forge is the old furnace where metal would be heated and shaped into various objects. Calvin is saying that our hearts are like that furnace where idols are produced. Idols are created and born there and ‘pumped out’ with regularity. Idolatry does not only come in the form of things that we desire in the place of God, or things that we fear more than God, but also in the form of things to which we look to meet our needs.
This form of idolatry recognizes that whatever it is to which we look to meet our needs is that which we worship. Let me explain. Part of God’s role as God in our lives is fulfilled when He meets our needs. There are many things which we need which can only be provided by God. Things like forgiveness, power over sin, peace of mind and etc. It may be somewhat difficult to recognize God’s providing for our needs as having a direct connection to our worship of Him. I think we more readily think of words like sovereign, almighty, lordship, and ruler when we think about God as being the One true God who deserves exclusive worship. While these concepts are fully Biblical and should be emphasized more, there is also another way in which God establishes His place as the one true God in our lives. He does this through meeting our needs. God is glorified, and honored as God when we look to Him to supply what we need. That is why He says things like, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” The One who does the rescuing gets the honor and glory.
God is the source of all blessing, power and goodness in our lives. When we look to Him to provide these things for us, He is glorified as our Provider. God’s role as the supplier of what we need causes us to look directly to Him like a small child looks dependently to his parents. Or as the Bible says, as a servant-girl looks to the lady of the home to meet all of her needs. “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us. (Psalm 123:2)” He is thus magnified in our hearts and minds as the One on whom we depend, and as the One to whom we turn both for direction and for provision.
If we were to look to someone else for forgiveness that would clearly be idolatry. If we were to look to someone else to provide us with the power to love others, we would quickly recognize that as idolatry. For some reason, many of us do not recognize that looking to other sources for other fruits of the Spirit, such as peace, joy and self-control, is also idolatry.
God delights to meet our needs, and is glorified in the process. This is what John Piper is talking about when he says that, “God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him”. God, in His role as the all-sufficient Provider, is glorified through our satisfaction and delight in the marvelous way in which He gives us what we need. The more we find our needs met in Him, the greater He is glorified. We unknowingly resist this truth when we overemphasize a man-centered idea of sanctification which centers on what we do for God rather than what He does for us.
In Isaiah 45:22, God instructed Israel and all of mankind to look to Him alone for salvation. He says, “Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). Notice that “salvation” is tied to His exclusivity as God. There is no one else who can save us. He is telling us that it would be futile to look elsewhere because He is the only One who can provide salvation. Our primary need is for salvation from our sins through the death and resurrection of Christ. However, we also need salvation in our daily lives. God demonstrates His ability to save us, and receives glory, when He rescues us from difficult circumstances. This includes rescuing us from negative emotions and behavior. In fact, it especially refers to our inner lives, as God has not promised us with immunity from persecution and suffering in this life. God is glorified through providing us with this practical salvation as well as with His eternal salvation. This practical salvation includes things like strength for overcoming sin, the power to love and forgive others, and the courage to speak the truth. God keeps us constantly looking to Him to meet our needs so He will be continually glorified as God in our lives. He also deserves to be worshiped for supplying us with joy and self-control because He is in fact the only One who can give us these aspects of victory in our daily lives. Thankfully, Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:11