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Carnal Methods Of Ministry 



All ministry which does not come out of the mind of Christ is not acceptable to God. Ministry which does not come out of the mind of Christ, must be motivated by something. We are going to explore that.


Basically, I see two categories right now as motivation for ministry that does not come out of Christ. One motive is that there are several things lumped together in it. I think the root is pride. We want to do it. It is the pride of man. It is all over the church. We have power and we can do it.


This kind of ministry comes forth whether the person is asking for it or not. That means there is an element of witchcraft in it also. Counsel to anybody who does not ask for your counsel is witchcraft.


Do not counsel people who do not want you to counsel them unless you are 100% sure God has told you to do it. If you convince yourself that it is God, and it is not God, then you are the only one who is deceived. 


This form of ministry can be destructive to the person to whom you are ministering. If they have not asked for your counsel and you are giving it to them, it is propelled by witchcraft. It has got to be doing damage to them.


If you are counseling a person who is hurting at the moment, you are hurting somebody who is down. The purpose of this book is to help whoever is reading this to understand that this is not a light thing. Ministry out of the carnal mind indicates there are deep spiritual realities raging behind it. God wants us to understand.


Hopefully, it will help us to put a leash on our carnal mind and to stop doing this because the hour is coming where the Lord is not going to tolerate it. Judgment is about to fall with a great intensity.


I do not believe the Lord is going to allow his little ones, who are severely suffering from the tribulation that is bringing them into the image of Christ, to be hurt by someone's carnal mind who wants to minister.


I do not believe He is going to allow it to happen. I do not have any details of how He is going to deal with it. We know He loves everybody, but the Church has got to come into order.


Stop The Pain!


The second motivation He has shown me for ministering out of the carnal mind is in trying to stop the expression of someone else’s pain.


For example, Believer A is expressing their pain. It could be emotional pain, physical pain, or pain acted out through socially unacceptable behavior.


Believer B recognizes this pain, consciously or unconsciously, and try to stop the expression of it. Why? Because the other person's pain is causing them distress.


Believer B is being touched by this pain, but she does not want to feel it. Her reaction, conscious or unconscious, most likely unconscious to Believer A's pain, is: I want you to stop expressing that pain.


Believer A is expressing pain in a godly manner and Believer B is being touched by the pain. She does not want to feel it, and the way she deals with the pain is to shut Believer A up. God is not going to tolerate this behavior in the Kingdom. He will not have this done to His little ones.


In Amos 6, there is a verse in that chapter where the Lord pronounced a judgment on those who did not have compassion and mercy upon the Joseph Company; those who were in jail, the prisoners.


Amos 6:6-7


6That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.


7Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.


Is that not part of Jesus' ministry to set the captives free? It is not likely we are going to set the captives free if we do not first have mercy on them.


It is very common for someone to be in pain, because they are in the Joseph Company. It is not that they are without sin, because everybody has sin, but there is a reality to suffering because God is doing a work in you.


There is a reality to suffering because God is changing you into His image. We said in the last message on Amos 6 that even compassionate people in the world are very likely to not have mercy on people who are suffering for Christ's sake.


In Amos 6, one of the ways we can determine if it is the Christ mind or the carnal mind manifesting in somebody is whether or not they are having mercy and compassion on the person who is in jail. We find the carnal mind of man not wanting to hear about this pain.


The Lord has been preaching here for a while now that a large percentage of the church is denying the judgment. The carnal church, for lack of a better word, deny the judgment for the church. They think judgment is for the world, and they are going to get raptured.


Then we have the Kingdom church denying the judgment saying, Believe full stature and you will be in full stature.


We find that fallen man does not want to hear about the judgment. I guess it must frighten him.


I do not know about anybody else, I just know myself. Going all the way back, I knew I needed help. If this is the way you have to get it, so be it, but I am a realist.


I know God has other realists in the church, but I believe we are few in number. We have a church full of believers, unconsciously and consciously, rejecting the judgment. Some who consciously accept the judgment are really rejecting part of it unconsciously.


Then we have some who accept the reality of the judgment, but are involved in certain kinds of behavior they are not aware that is really rejecting the judgment. Somebody could say, I believe in the judgment and I accept the judgment, but they are caught up in behavior patterns they have inherited from their family.


They are still practicing that behavior in reality, which happens to be working against the person who is submitting to the judgment. What God wants to do is talk about a few ways in which we can unconsciously be working against the person who is submitting to the judgment, or making their judgment harder for them without realizing it.


We just want to expose it. We want to shed some light on it so people can examine themselves and then try to understand their motive. That is what we are into. We are into motives. Why? Because our motives will determine whether or not we are Christ or the carnal mind.


Dealing With Pain


Flesh and blood is not going to inherit the Kingdom of God. We are shortly going to cross over a spiritual line where we will not be able to bring these carnal methods of ministry into the Kingdom.


What is going to happen is, if we have not developed Christ-like ways of ministry, we will not have anything to offer people. However, God is going to do it. He is not going to let us minister carnally and be left without an ability to minister.


Everything we are doing is in preparation for the Kingdom, which is destruction to the carnal mind. If you are feeling pain or discomfort, so am I. You can believe it or not.  I am in agony frequently, and the reason I am in agony is because my carnal mind is being squeezed into the image of Christ.


All of the emotions and emotional reactions associated with my carnal mind are being forced to line up with Christ, which it is causing me great pain. My saying this to you is a healthy way of dealing with pain. There is nothing wrong with talking about it. It is called sublimation.


In other words, you have this pain, so what are you going to do with it? We have a series of choices of what we are going to do with it. We can deny it, say it is not there, or we can do many things.


We are going to find that there are three categories of ungodly ways to deal with pain as well as a variety of godly ways to properly deal with it. The truth is going to set us free. 


Judge yourself this day and grow. Check out your emotions. If you find that hearing someone stand up here and say, I am in a lot of pain, causes you distress, put it before God. Find out why it is causing you distress. Is it making you afraid? Why is it causing you distress?


Whatever the reason is for causing you distress, ask God to give you understanding; an ability of how to deal with that distress or that pain in a way that is going to help you and possibly help the other person. To hurt the person, who is speaking in order to stop your pain, is not acceptable to God. 




We talk from time to time about psychology in these meetings, and we are going to use a few psychiatric terms today. Any Pharisees who are reading this, please know that not all the knowledge and wisdom in the world is bad.


The knowledge and wisdom of the world can be very valuable to us when it is under the control of Christ. We all know that psychiatry and psychology have done a lot of damage to the human race. One of the factors operating when our nation began to fall back in the 50's was the exaltation of these two sciences.


They made it so important. The counsel they gave to a lot of troubled married people was: If you are really not that happy, then get divorced. Psychiatrists and psychologists all over the country were counseling people, against God's law, to get divorced.


We had a disaster in this country. That was a very real factor in the fall of our country, because we have definitely fallen. Although, bear in mind, psychiatry/psychology is not all ignorance.


First of all, they definitely made changes. I cannot compare the psychology today to the psychology of the 50's. I do not know if it is a change or if it existed in the 50's, but I know today you will hear psychologists telling you to have boundaries.


They are really preaching the Scripture.  Whether they were saying this in the 50's or not, I do not know. What is happening today, children are in schools with no moral teaching, no Scripture, and no direction. Psychology says, Do not make a value judgment. You cannot say this is wrong or that is right.


If you see a young couple fornicating, it is not for you to make a value judgment that it is wrong. Mind your own business. We have a whole generation of young people, a couple of generations of young people, that have been taught that there is no right or wrong.


At least publicly, this is what they have been taught. A lot of them have been taught by their parents that there is no right or wrong and do not make a value judgment, and as a result, the country is perishing.


When the sexual barrier was broken down in the 50’s, a lot of people started saying, We are adults. We are in our 20's, we love each other, and it is alright to have sex outside of marriage. Who are we hurting? If you interviewed those people in back then, they still had a lot of morals.


They were moral within their immoral relationships. They had exclusive relationships. It was one man and one woman. God knew this the entire time. Ignorant man did not know this. As the generations continued, every generation came down another peg.


Now we have 9-year-old children sexually involved with many partners, and doing things that would have shocked the first sexual revolutionist back in the 50's. We are seeing a generation of children who have no boundaries.




Boundary is the term that psychologists are using. On TV this morning I saw a young married couple and the wife was in great pain. She recently gave birth, and her husband was having an affair with her sister.


Eventually, when the baby was six weeks old, she ran away and abandoned her. The man was on TV between the two women. The sister left her own husband for this man who went back to his wife. What a mess.


So they brought the psychologist on the program. What does the god of the humanist say about this? Even the humanist who was telling everyone to get divorced and that it was alright to have a sexual revolution, knows that a society without rules cannot stand. They are now saying, You have to have boundaries.


Don’t you know you are not supposed to do that with your wife's sister? No, they don’t know that. Every generation breaks another law and you cannot teach your children to keep the law if you are not keeping it yourself. They will not listen to you.


If the Lord does not intervene, what is coming 20 years from now? We have nine-year-old girls sexually active with many partners, 13-year-old girls having babies, women leaving home abandoning their husband and children. Everybody is breaking every rule there is.


The psychologists are telling us we need boundaries. What this means is you have to have morals. However, the world does not want the morals as set out in the Bible. It is too strict for them. If nobody is obeying the laws of the Bible, why would they obey other laws? Who is going to set the standard?


Who is going to say it is alright for two consenting adults to have a monogamous, exclusive sexual relationship outside of marriage, but it is not alright for a 17-year-old to have it?


Who is going to say it is alright for married women to have an abortion, but it is not alright for single women to have an abortion? Who is going to make these rules? If you have rejected God as the absolute lawgiver, who is going to make the rules? How are you going to get people to obey them?


They have opened a Pandora's Box, and even the most liberal people in this hour are saying this is out of hand. The children are running wild because they are not going to obey laws their parents do not obey. They have torn down God's plans.


God has certain rules and if those rules are broken, no matter how ignorant you are, you are hurting somebody. God is challenging us to face these things. I do not believe anybody here wants to hurt anybody.


I do not believe that, so God is giving us all this information. He is challenging us to examine ourselves and look inside ourselves, and make the necessary changes. 


I am using psychiatric terms. There is nothing wrong with using any information out there if it is under the authority of Christ. What God has been pouring out here at Living Epistles, whether you can recognize it or not, is deep understanding of the mind of fallen man.


It is amazing in the way that if you would pick up a book of psychiatry, what you would read in it is similar to what He has been teaching us here. Going all the way back to the time we preached The Seduction of Eve, God began to show it to me at that point.


We have seen, in particular in our series in Daniel 8, that righteous Adam was given lordship over a creation which had more than one part.


According to Daniel, it had two parts. It had two horns, and righteous Adam was told to integrate the creation. What does that mean? It means he was told to rule his thoughts. It is just like the Bible teaches us. We must lay hold of every imagination, examine it, and if it is not of God, then cast it down.


That was what God told Adam to do. Why would He tell him to do that? Because some thoughts were from God while some thoughts were from Satan. God said to righteous Adam, Rule and make a judgment on every thought that comes into your mind. If it is a thought that is not of God, do something with it that is going to stop it from destroying you.


We, as human beings, have the same situation whether we know it or not. Every human being has a conscience. The job of our conscience is to integrate all of the thoughts that come through our mind by deciding which ones are acceptable to God and which ones are not acceptable to God. Then, we have to make a decision as to what to do with the thoughts which are not acceptable.


Sin Is In The Mind


Most Christians know that certain things are not acceptable to God. We all know you are not supposed to fornicate, steal, lie, and commit adultery. As Jesus told us in the New Covenant, Sin is in the mind. I see God bringing forth all of this mind teaching. We are learning about the subtleties of the mind.


What happens to a believer when Christ comes into his life is that Christ is once again righteous Adam who is integrating all of the thoughts. He is taking the thoughts of the Father, which are coming through Him, and integrating them with the thoughts of Satan and the carnal mind coming from our fallen nature.


Some of them He is killing completely. Other thoughts, if they are under the authority of Christ, are acceptable. If they are not under the authority of Christ, they are not acceptable, and the psychiatry manuals will tell you this is the job of the conscience. That is what Christ is doing. He is our new conscience.


Every thought must be subject to Him, controlled by Him, and directed by Him. He is challenging us to give up our old ways before He takes them forcefully. One problem with very well-meaning believers is they frequently cannot recognize carnal ways of dealing with problems. There are two sides to that.


The first side is we have been dealing with problems that way all of our lives. Our mother, father, and grandparents dealt with it this way, and we do not comprehend it is carnal. It is the only way we know how to deal with it.


The other side of the problem is that we really have not laid hold of, or grasped Christ's way of dealing with the problem. I've been talking a lot about what you should not do, but I really have not talked enough about what you should do.


Ministry In Christ


The Lord gave me psychiatric terms to help us, so let me give you the alternative. We are going to use those terms as an outline. Hopefully, it will give you some thoughts that will make you stronger in Christ. 


The statement, carnal ministry hurts the person, is an overriding rule over the whole thing. Ministry in Christ alleviates them of their pain. If it is the will of the Lord at that time to bring forth deliverance, praise God for it, but it may not be the will of the Lord to bring forth deliverance at that moment. The question is: What do we do when someone is in pain and we pray for them, but there is no deliverance that comes forth?


The carnal mind wants to shut them up which does not glorify God. We have two problems here. You pray for somebody, and God does not bring forth a powerful deliverance. They are still in pain, and we have two situations here. The person who is ministering has to deal with the hurting person's pain.


It comes down to a question. What are we more concerned with; their pain or ours? What are we doing here? Are we rushing to protect ourselves from being hurt? Why can we not listen to them express their pain? What is our primary intention? Protect ourselves or help them?


Fear is the problem with people in the church. It makes them flee from very troubled people because they are scared it will happen to them. We have people in the church who come to the Lord who are really not in such bad shape.


I know people like that. Their lives are in order. Maybe they were drinking, so they stopped drinking, but they have marriages, homes, and businesses. They are healthy.


Then, we have people who have little problems. They usually come into the church and God heals them almost immediately. Everybody who has been around knows there are others who are not healed immediately, whether they have physical infirmities or mental illness.


Some people in the church did not stop drinking or committing adultery right away. Some had serious family problems. Those people who have their lives in order in the church tend to condemn those who have a problem. We see this on many levels.


It is possible for Christians to go into mental institutions. One pastor did not believe Christians could have a demon. He went into a mental institution and had a breakdown. The church condemns them. They say it is the individual’s fault because they have no faith.


I am going to suggest to you another level this operates on. It is when someone is expressing their pain in a meeting and the old order deliverance does not work. They do not come out of the prayer and say, the pain is gone, and need to talk about it. They could talk about it for any reason, but maybe God is telling them to talk about it.


Mercy & Compassion


The minister has to deal with their own pain as well as another’s. Trying to shut up a person who is expressing pain is really killing them. We are called to have mercy and compassion. A lot of people might think the old order deliverance of standing over somebody and rebuking the spirit is merciful and compassionate.


It is a measure of mercy and compassion. However, the ultimate opportunity to show whether or not you are capable of mercy or compassion is when you have a hurting person with no sign of help. When they are in pain, what are you going to do when all of the known methods do not work?


Are you going to do what the preachers do to the people who are not healed? Are you going to condemn them and tell them it is their fault they are still in pain when the old order deliverance doesn’t work?


Will you condemn Joseph or are you going to have the true mercy of Christ? It is very nice praying for people when they are sick or have a demon, but I do not think it is the ultimate test. The ultimate test is when you have a person in agony.


What will you do: condemn or support them? And if you support them, how do you do it? People in pain do not want counsel. That is the worst thing you can do. They do not want you to tell them what they need to do.


If you rush somebody who is dying into an emergency room because they just slit their wrists, they do not need to hear that they should not have done that. This is another manifestation of what is common in the church. It is condemnation of the hurting person. It will not come into the Kingdom.


Have you given the hurting person peace? Have you put the balm of Gilead on their spiritual wounds or have you agitated them more? And if you have, why?


One possible reason you have agitated them more is that you cannot bear feeling their pain. You then have two choices. Will you condemn to shut them up taking care of your own pain, or will you ignore your pain and comfort them?


One of the mature ways of dealing with this situation is to ignore your pain, put them first, comfort them, love them and show them mercy. It is possible for you to get relief from your pain by dealing with theirs. It is called altruism; concern for others.


The average person goes on what they have been doing all their life, but there is another way. If you are feeling someone else's pain which is causing you unbearable grief, you can stop your pain by condemning or comforting them. It can be done. You have a choice. You may not know it but you have a choice.


The godly methods we use to deal with pain we are going to call mature defenses. We also have three categories of immature defenses. Two of those three categories I will label unhealthy; unhealthy for the person using them and unhealthy for the person they are ministered to. The third category we are going to call immaturity and this last category can be overcome.


If you recognize yourself doing these things, the Lord is challenging you to go before Him and ask for help. I will not be condemned because I suffer and neither should you. To the best of my knowledge, I have never condemned you. I will apologize to you should I do it.


We are here to find out the truth because the truth is going to set us free. Lies will never set us free, nor our children, grandchildren or great grandchildren.


Unhealthy Immature Defenses 



We will discuss the two unhealthy categories first. The name of the first category is narcissism. Narcissism is love of one’s own self. It comes from the name Narcissi. In Greek mythology, he was supposedly a beautiful young man who fell in love with his own image. He loved himself so much that he pined away for himself to the point it caused his death.


According to Greek legend, he was transformed into a flower named Narcissus. The moral behind this Greek legend is speaking about fallen Adam.


He fell in love with his own image and pined away for it when he fell down into a lower life form. According to legend, he fell down from a man into a flower. However, we know righteous Adam fell down from a god into a fallen man.


There was a visible creation. It was the image of righteous Adam who forgot he could not exist without God. He thought he did not need God any more, and he fell. Then, we fell in him. Narcissism is the love of self to the point that one will do anything to preserve one’s self. What one does is put all the blame on somebody else.


It is a refusal to accept responsibility in any way. It always puts the blame on the other person. The narcissist never has anything to do with the issue. We see that narcissism falls into two categories. The first category deals with feelings a person might have; ungodly feelings. A person that is narcissistic recognizes ungodly feelings on some level.


However, their sole motive is to protect themselves, so they automatically project those feelings onto somebody else. They say, I know these feelings exist, but they cannot possibly be in me so they must be in you.


We then have projection. This can exist on a lesser or greater level. I am sure we all see people doing this in our lives all the time, but there is a line. When you cross over that line it becomes mental illness.




At that point, we start entering into what the psychiatrists call delusions about external reality. In other words, what they see out there is totally untrue. Let me give you an example.


Someone who has grown up in a family with a lot of witchcraft and control where they are continuously controlled to a very ungodly degree, this person has internalized the witchcraft that was worked on them. Now, as a young adult they have almost an obsession or fear of being controlled and having witchcraft worked on them.


They are now the worker of witchcraft. Whenever they perceive it operating in themselves, they make a judgment that it is the other person.


They have internalized the witchcraft control their parents subjected them with, and much to their distress have become just like the parents. When they realize this, they cannot face it. They are narcissistic and are out totally to preserve themselves.


Whenever this witchcraft stirs up in them, they not only draw the conclusion that it not them, but conclude that it is coming from another person. In severe cases where you go over that line and it becomes mental illness, they start imagining things about the other person.


Not only do they sometimes think they perceive control on you, but they exaggerate it to believe you are trying to kill them. All types of fantasies come into their mind. We see it on a lesser and on a greater level. This projection affects their feelings.


We are specifically dealing with feelings here and pain is a feeling. So when the narcissistic person is confronted with pain in his own emotions, the first thing he is going to tell you is, I do not have any pain. That is your pain. In other words, let me relate to what we are talking about here. For example, Brother A is ministering to Brother B.


Brother B is in a lot of pain and Brother A has prayed old order deliverance. He has done everything he knows how to do; yet, Brother B is still in a lot of pain which is touching Brother A. He does not want to feel this pain so he says, It is not me. I am not feeling this pain.


He is not saying, We are feeling the pain together and let us help each other. He is saying, I am not feeling this pain. You are feeling the pain, and now I want you to stop talking about it. He utterly denies he is being touched by this problem. It is always the other person's problem.


The second category under narcissism is the use of perception to control problems. There are different ways to control problems. The narcissist will distort the facts. If there is a situation causing them pain, like somebody wants to fight with them, they would not want an argument.


They would not want to confront the issue, so they deny it. Did you ever try and have a godly discussion with someone? This happens a lot between husbands and wives.


The woman goes to the husband and says, Darling I am hurting. I am really rejected. I need you to love me. I need you to put your arm around me.


The man will look at her, it is usually the man, and he says, What are you talking about? You have nothing to be upset about, and then walk away. He has utterly denied the problem.


He has denied your emotions and pain. He has denied there is a problem and has done it to preserve himself. He does not want to have to confront an issue dealing with feelings, emotions and pain. He does not want to feel the pain, so he will not confront the issue. He will tell you it is all your problem and not his. It is never all the wife's problem.


In the family, there is no problem that only affects one person. Everybody feels it, which the Bible explains. If you hurt your toe, then the hand feels it. That is also true in natural people, because they are a family too.


It is not true that it does not affect you. Narcissistic people consumed with their need to protect themselves put their pain on you so they do not have any pain.


They deny the existence of external circumstances. If you can even get them to admit there is a problem, they will utterly distort the circumstances. They will say there is a problem such as, Our son's wife left him. They might not be able to deny that. If the wife has indeed left him, you would have to be really mentally ill to deny the woman is gone.


For example, let us say their son was beating his wife, so she left because she could not bear it any more. They will distort the facts while making some excuse to deny he was beating her. Why are they distorting it? They cannot deal with the pain nor do they want any responsibility.


Narcissists will do anything to protect themselves, usually by blaming you or the other guy. They will deny the problem exists or distort the circumstances, saying, You do not really have any pain, or you should not have any pain.


We are talking about feelings here. Feelings are the problem. Narcissism is intimately associated with external problems. We can say that because any feeling that the narcissist has, has been projected on to someone else.


As far as the narcissistic person is concerned, they are dealing with something outside of themselves. It has nothing whatsoever to do with them; therefore, they are fine because nothing touches them.


Any feelings they might have, have been projected on someone else and they are either totally denying that a problem exists, or they are completely distorting the problem. Someone could be lying there in severe emotional pain and they are saying, Oh, it is not so bad.


Another example could be a young person who has just flunked out of college and is so emotionally disturbed they cannot even go to school. You have someone say to them, Stand up and fly straight. You are OK.


This does not glorify God. People need to have their problems acknowledged. They need to hear you say, I understand.


They need to hear you say, I know you are in pain. I am sorry you are in pain.


Why can some people not say that? I am going to suggest to you that it is pride. How can I say that? Because all three things I just mentioned without the person saying it is, I cannot help you. I know you have pain and there is nothing I can do about it except tell you I am really sorry you have it.


Pride will not let this person say, I am sorry you have pain. They have got to do something so they will give you counsel. They will give you advice, and you are killing them. Why?


It is because you failed to show Joseph mercy. Instead you have set yourself up as God and told them that if they would just do such and such they would not have this pain. They will not admit they cannot help you, so we are right back to our basic definition of narcissism. They are out to preserve self.


One of the most important things to natural man, I am not talking about those entering into Christ right now, is an ability to feel power over our life; to be able to say to somebody, I cannot help you. I am so sorry you are hurting, but I cannot help you. That is the realization that we have no power in this circumstance, but pride will stop us from saying that.


Pride wants to have power and control over every aspect of their life. For somebody to say, I have no control over my life. God does whatever He wants, then on the other hand stand up and say, You cannot hurt me because you cannot touch me, there is a contradiction.


Can you see the contradiction? It is because God lets us get hurt. He crucified His own Son. Why does He let us get hurt? So we can have compassion on other people. I think almost everybody who is mature in the church knows that.


To think that you have no control over your life and have given your whole life to God, but turn around to say that you cannot get hurt is a contradiction because you are saying that you are in total control of your circumstances. I want to tell you I have no power to prevent myself from getting hurt. I cannot think that way and serve God at the same time.


God wants us to be open. He wants us to be vulnerable. He wants to be our only defense, so He is crucifying us so His life can appear in us. If you think you have everything so under control to the degree where you cannot be hurt, you have a problem with Christ. That defense is not of God. He is our only defense.


He might allow someone to think like that until He begins to be formed in us. With some people who are too strong is that once Christ begins to be formed in them, the strong fallen personality wages war against Christ.


The strength He gave us before we conceived turns around and starts to wage war against Christ, so what was good in the old order is not good in the new order.




The second category of unhealthy response is called neurosis. You may have heard some people are neurotic. Neurosis is rooted in fear. Narcissism is rooted in self-preservation, also known as pride, and denies that a problem has anything to do with them.


Neurotics know there is a problem and it has something to do with them to the point where they are desperately trying to avoid being affected by it. Their fear is of anxiety and internal conflict. The narcissist denies the possibility for them to have fear or internal conflict; it is not their problem.


The neurotic person knows they can have anxiety and internal conflict, and they are so distressed by it they employ ungodly methods to control their circumstances in order to avoid fear and anxiety and internal conflict.


If you recognize yourself as employing one of these neurotic defenses, it does not mean you are neurotic. I am not doing this to label anybody. It is possible for someone to be employing a neurotic defense and not be neurotic.


It is the same principle as saying, if you commit one act of adultery you are not an adulterer, but when you are a habitual adulterer without remorse or repentance you are then an adulterer. I do not want anyone using this message to say I have labeled them with some type of psychiatric disease.


That is not what I am doing. This information is to help us to look at ourselves so we can dismantle our carnal mind and let Christ come forth in us. That is the whole purpose of this.




The first neurotic defense that we are going to speak about is control. Remember, the narcissist either denies or distorts the problem is there or minimizes it and says it is nothing, making it somebody else's problem.


The neurotic knows the problem is theirs, and that it has potential to cause them pain. We are talking about pain. They do not want pain nor internal conflict.


What is internal conflict? If they recognize this problem, they are going to have to make a decision as to what to do about it, then have a conflict over it.


If you do not know what to do, how to lay hold of God, or do not have decision making or problem solving skills, conflict can be very painful. Sometimes even if you have problem solving skills, it can still be very painful.


I knew a woman once who had a lot of trouble with her daughter, and God's answer to the problem was to send the child away. She knew what the answer to the problem was, but it was very painful and there was a conflict in doing what God told her to do. Why? It was because part of her did not want to do it.


The purpose of the neurotic defense is to try to control the circumstances. They know it is there, and they will try to control you. Everyone here knows that control is ungodly. The only control acceptable to God is control by God-ordained authority within certain parameters.


Parents have control over their children's lives. The government has some measure of control over its people. The army has control over its soldiers, but there is always a line that you cannot go over. We cannot control people's behavior. I see people in the church doing this frequently.


A new believer will come into the church and they frequently have a lot of problems. They will come in and do something unacceptable, and then someone will come over and try to control them. I am not talking about the pastors, godly authority, to tell you not to do this thing.


I keep coming back to this same thing again. Someone comes into the church and they are really hurting. People do not like to see other people in pain. I cannot get away from the pain.


Obviously, if someone is engaged in some ungodly behavior, control has to be exerted to stop them. I am talking about someone doing something that is not unacceptable enough to overtly ask them to stop.


For example, someone comes in talking about their sexual activity, which distresses the believers. They do not have the authority of the pastor and the pastor is not there.


We now have two people, neither have authority over the other, and one believer is talking about something, whatever it is, which is upsetting the other believer.


I see it in the church all the time. They will just change the subject, which is very rude. It is an acceptable method in our society, not only in the church but in our society, of dealing with a problem. However, it is not acceptable to God.


When somebody is talking about something that is causing you distress, it is unacceptable to ignore them, change the subject and start talking about something else.


God wants you to do the hard thing. God wants you to say, Brother, I really cannot listen to you talk about that because it is ungodly. You have to start resisting that stuff.


We are Christian now, and it is not godly to be having that kind of conversation in here. If the person is a new Christian who does not know they are doing anything wrong, then you have not helped them at all by changing the subject.


As a matter of fact, you have harmed them because they are probably feeling rejected and don’t understand why you have changed the subject. It is widespread inside and outside the church. It is not godly. God wants you to tell your brother or sister why you do not want to hear their conversation.


Maybe the tables will be turned and they might not be talking about anything ungodly, but what they are talking about brings back a distressing memory for you. It is still ungodly to change the subject and cut the person off.


I believe God requires you to say, Brother, excuse me. I do not mean to hurt your feelings, but I really cannot talk about that right now. This country and the people that I see are sorely lacking in communication skills.


We are to be continuously communicating by acknowledging, affirming, recognizing, and interacting with one another. If the person is doing something ungodly, we are supposed to tell them in kindness and in love. However, if they are not doing anything ungodly and we are upset, we have to really ask God why we want to change the subject.


We have to ask ourselves if it is godly for us to change the subject. Some people get upset if you talk about your infirmity. There is a line you cross over. You do not have to listen to anybody moan and groan all day long, but if somebody is genuinely sick and they want to talk about it with a godly spirit, you have to ask yourself why you do not want to hear it. Obviously hearing it is causing you pain, but you have to know that person is not in an ungodly spirit.


If they are not overdoing it, and they have a need to tell you for five minutes about a problem, maybe you will be able to pray for them. If you do not want to hear it while they are in a right spirit, you have killed them. You have broken their heart. On top of their physical pain, you have rejected them and refused to show them mercy.


We have got to start showing mercy. How do you show mercy? Simply by saying, I am really sorry you are not feeling well, would you like me to pray for you?


Even if the person is out of line by talking about it too long, you could say, Is there anything I can do for you to make you more comfortable? A failure to do this is either pride, because we cannot help them, or self-defense.


We do not want to be upset and there is nothing wrong that. Here is the catch, it is not ungodly to not want to be upset, but what do you do to not be upset?


Do you deny the person mercy or is God going to show us a way where we do not have to be utterly tormented? The latter being so we can help them if we just make the effort to learn a new way.


As I told you before, it is called sublimation. You can take your pain and run away with it, or you can take your pain and use it to help them. God is glorified in the second, not in the first. 


We are talking about neurotic defenses. The first one is trying to control the situation by changing the subject to control the conversation. What is the alternative to the neurotic defense of controlling the situation?


The godly defense; defending yourself from getting hurt is honest communication. Instead say, This is not a godly conversation and I cannot listen to it. It is going to damage both you and me.


That response has defended you against getting hurt, but it has neither killed nor condemned the other person. It has, in fact, given life to the other person. If you just change the subject or something similar, it puts rejection and condemnation on the other person.


If they do not understand, they are saying, Why does she not want to talk to me? Even if they do understand and they knew they were talking about something ungodly, they still have a problem.


Every one of us is not perfect and we have problem areas. If you are with somebody who has started to manifest a problem area, are you going to run away from them leaving them in their pain? Why would you do that? To protect yourself.


Or, are you going to rise up in Christ, lay hold of the situation, confront it in Christ, and prevent yourself from getting hurt, while at the same time, helping them to overcome? That is what God wants you to do. Large majorities of people, unfortunately especially in the church, will condemn the hurting person. The motive is the same. Can you hear it?


They do not want to get hurt themselves, but the way they stop themselves from getting hurt, hurts the other person. It does not glorify God. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to not be hurt, but we must learn to deal with it in Christ, so we do not condemn the other person to protect ourselves.


Control is the first neurotic defense. Right away we try to shut the person up, force them into church, or force them to read the Bible. We always have an answer for their problem. That is not what they need.


They need mercy, love, and compassion. Sometimes they need to be touched. They do not need your counsel when they are bleeding. That is the last thing they need.


Displacement & Dissociation


Psychiatry calls the next neurotic defense displacement. It is either a conscious or unconscious shifting from one object to another, and we see this a lot in adulterous circumstances. First, we have control, and then we have displacement. We see this a lot with women who find out their husbands have cheated on them.


They almost never blame their husbands. All of the blame is placed on the other woman. Instead of directing their fear and anxiety against their husband, they send it to the other woman. Why? It is because if they direct it at their husband, they will ruin their marriage.


So, they switch the object or person about whom the conflict is raging. It would be too painful to confront their husband about adultery, so if possible, they confront the other woman.


There is a greater degree of pain in confronting a husband than confronting the other woman. The woman you do not need and you just want her out of your life. You want the man back.


On TV, a woman was raging at her sister and said not one word to her husband. She made it very clear she is not going to divorce him. She wants him and she wants her family life. Being mad at him is not going to do her much good, so she had all this pain she was directing at her sister. 


There is something called dissociation. I do not know if this is too common in the church, but what it involves is more or less taking on a characteristic such as modifying your character radically to avoid distress.


In other words, let us say you are basically a very mild person who hates conflict. Someone calls you on the telephone or approaches you. You know they are coming at you, but you do not want to confront an issue.


I have seen very mild people like this rise up in great strength and attack the other person before they can even open their mouths. They rise up in something very strong and aggressive that is not characteristic of them to put away the conflict before it even starts. I do not know how much that applies to us here, but it is on my list.




The next one we will deal with is inhibition. We see this in the church. This is about having an impulse. It is a limiting of your conscience to avoid anxiety and pain. For example, you see your husband doing something ungodly, so you do not challenge him because it would lead to a divorce and ruin your whole life.


Instead, you might compromise your conscience and say, Well, that is acceptable. That is my husband and he is doing it. He stole the money. It was justified so it is OK.


You really know it is not OK, but you are saying it is OK only because if you do not say OK, it will cause a conflict in your life. This is the man you are living with. He is your family, your whole life. Your family is on the line, and it would cause an internal conflict within you, and pain to have to deal with the fact that your husband took money that did not belong to him.


So you say, I can understand why he did it. It is not justification. It is a lowering of your moral standard. Why do you do this? To avoid pain and internal conflict.


We know when we get married one person has to be dominant and the other person has to be submissive. However, when it comes to conscience, we are not supposed to limit our conscience. Therefore, if somebody does that, it is an ungodly defense against the fear of anxiety and internal conflict. We call it compromise.




Next, we have intellectualism. I want to read you the definition: the control of effects and impulses by way of thinking about them instead of experiencing them. It is a systematic excess of thinking and it is done to defend against anxiety caused by unacceptable impulses, and it results in the repression of either idea or effect.


Intellectualism is talking about something instead of feeling it. You end up killing the person who is in pain. People who are in pain need you to acknowledge their pain, and it is not ungodly. It is not self-pity. There is a line it can go over where it can become self-pity.


You have to discern the spirit. Intellectualists will talk about something because the person does not want to say to you, I am sorry you are hurting. I am sorry for your pain.


The reason they do not want to do that is either because there is nothing they can do to help you, which they do not want to admit, or they are sensitive. If they admit you have pain, they would be feeling your pain and they will do almost anything to stop from that from happening.


We are talking about pain tonight; how people react to it, and how people deal with it. It has been my life experience that more people deal with it in an ungodly than a godly manner.


Maybe you live on the other side of the country, and have had a different experience. Maybe you live right here, and have had a different experience. However, I have found most people in the church, which I have been in for 15 years, will pray for you.


They will cast a demon out of you, but they do not know how to have mercy on you. It is so simple, brethren. All you have to do is show them you care that they are hurting.


They do not want your words or your solutions to their problems. They may want you to put your arms around them and to care about them. That is what they want and what they need.


If God gives you a word of counsel for them after the crisis is over, then you give it to them. In a crisis we deal with emotions. When we are dealing with an emotional problem the answer to the problem is emotion. They want and need an emotional response from you.


They do not need your counsel in the moment of their pain. You are going to hurt them more. That does not glorify God. Intellectualism means talking about a problem when someone is in agony; explaining to them why they should not feel that way.


You cannot legislate emotions. You cannot tell somebody they should not feel a particular way. If they are feeling that way, then they are feeling that way. You might want to tell them, if it is appropriate, their emotion has to be restrained because it is destructive to them, but emotion is not always destructive.


The average person dealing with these defense mechanisms we are talking about now, whether conscious or unconscious, thinks the expression of emotion or the expression of pain is ungodly. That is not true. There is an ungodly expression of pain, but there is also a godly expression of pain, which we will get to at the end of this book.


The ungodly expression of pain is called sublimation. You are in pain and have no power to make it go away. One of the godly things you can do to deal with it is talk about it, as long as it is in a godly spirit. Saying, Woe is me, woe is me, it is not godly.


If you are talking about it as a matter of fact, such as this is what has happened and this is what you are going through, it can be a cleansing for you; healing for the other person.


The term is called sublimating the problems. Taking your pain and expressing it in a way that is not hurting anybody is going to help you. You say your pain is hurting the other sister, which is why she wants you to shut up. The other sister has a problem, so there is nothing wrong with what you are doing as long as it is in the right spirit.


It can go over the line and become self-pity. You have to be able to discern that. I have listened to a person's problem for up to 15 minutes until it became ungodly and that is when I told them, That is enough. You have to start resisting this. However, people need to talk. People spend millions of dollars every year on psychiatrists.


The average person does not want to listen. The average person is involved in one of these ungodly ways of dealing with pain; either the other person's pain or their pain. The whole country is dysfunctional. People are spending millions of dollars in psychiatrists’ offices.


I had somebody come to see me not too long ago for a couple of counseling sessions. They said nobody would talk to them; no member of their family would talk with them. I had all kinds of counsel to give this person, but God told me to shut up and listen. People need to talk. There is a time and a place for everything.


Even if it is godly counsel yet not the appropriate time, you are damaging them. It has to be God's counsel. It has to be the Spirit of God, and it has to be the right moment to glorify God.




Intellectualists will explain to you why you should not be feeling that way. Rationalization is justification of attitudes, beliefs, or behavior that might otherwise be unacceptable. This is real close to inhibition. Inhibition causes you to compromise your conscience, but rationalization justifies why somebody is behaving in an unacceptable manner.


We see this a lot in the church. We see people who think they are being good Christians by making excuses for sin, which is not acceptable to God at all. We are to call sin what it is, but without condemnation.


Just about every one of these things will condemn the person that is hurting. About every defense mechanism we are talking about, except the few mature defenses, will condemn and cause damage to the hurting person.




Next is repression. This does not hurt the other person. This hurts one’s self, and consists of the expelling and withholding from conscious an awareness of an idea or feeling. Remember, denial hears what somebody is saying, yet says it is not true. Repression, on the other hand, utterly puts down an idea or feeling in one’s self to the point where it is gone.


Comment: Is that like mind control?


Sheila: I think of mind control as trying to change somebody else’s thinking. Repression is done to one’s self. No, it is not mind control because mind control will change the other person’s mind.


This is like utterly eradicating the idea or feeling by saying it is not there. It is one thing to say it is not there, and it is another thing to actually cause it to disappear. Denial deals with external things. Denial would be me saying, That couch is not really green.


Denial would be saying you are not hurting. If you are sitting there and telling me you are in pain and I say to you, You do not look like you are hurting to me. That is denial of your feelings, but repression is not even acknowledging the feeling.


It is crushing it to such a point in your mind where it does not even exist. It has to do with one’s own feelings or thoughts not even being there.


Immature Defenses That Can Be Overcome 

Acting Out


The third category of defense is immaturity; immature defenses. These are just childish ways of dealing with problems. It is acceptable when you are a child; however, when you carry them into your adulthood, they can pose problems for you. The first defense is called acting out.


We have a plague in our nation today. We see a lot of adults acting out. What does that mean? Remember, we are talking about anxiety and pain. Acting out means that if you feel pain, you engage in ungodly behavior to discharge that pain.


What we are discussing here is trying to get rid of pain. Nobody wants pain. There are godly and ungodly ways to get rid of it, or discharge it.


We see a lot of children acting out. For example, a temper tantrum is acting out. A child wants a piece of candy, the mother says no, and then the child screams, yells, rolls on the floor kicking its feet.


In our society today, you see a lot of adults having verbal temper tantrums. I do not think too many of them roll on the floor, but they are having verbal temper tantrums if someone tells them, no. They rise up, attack, insult, and say things they should not say. Sometimes if one of the people is married, they will go out to find another woman or another man. They will do something.


Their pain will be directed in their behavior, which is always destructive. In these other areas, we were talking about repressing and denying pain. However, by acting out, we let the pain go. You just let it fly.


Basically, narcissism and neurosis deals with pain through the use of the mind. We can project, deny, distort, and/or try to control someone. It is all with the mouth: control, dissociation, inhibition.


It is all with the mind, but now we have an immature denial reaction. This is the first time we are up against something beyond the mind and words. We are now talking about actions; pain causing our body to do something.




The second of the immature defenses is is blocking. Blocking is usually only temporary in nature. It is close to repression, but repression is very serious because it buries the idea of the thought so deeply that roots of bitterness can grow from it.


We know that if we repress anger, hatred, or unforgiveness, we can have a root of bitterness which will destroy us, although blocking is a lesser manifestation of repression. It is usually temporary. Sometimes you are just too immature to deal with the problem, then when you rally, you come out and face it.


Blocking basically means you do not deal with it. You do not deny it is there, neither do you attribute it to anybody else nor control it. You simply will not deal with it. You just refuse to deal with it then block it out of your mind saying, I will deal with it tomorrow.


A lot of children bring this habit into maturity. They are grief-stricken because of things that have happened in their childhood. They are hurting and the way they deal with problems is by putting the blame on themselves.


We see this a lot in children whose parents get divorced. They blame themselves, which results in self-condemnation. If they do not have a loving adult talking them through it, they can grow up into being self-condemning adults who never have a healthy relationship because they blame themselves for everything. They take all the blame.


What they have done is internalized their grief or loneliness. Sometimes even if they have aggressive behavior and the parent says, Johnny, you have just got to stop breaking the furniture, they take it so personal and internalize it.


Children who do this frequently get sick. There is a way to direct this aggressive behavior in a child if they are getting the proper support from an adult to get rid of the aggression. You can put them on a baseball field, give them an axe and let them chop wood, get them into sports. This again is called sublimation.


The unhealthy response to pain is to either crush it, deny it, or control it. If I could put it in one sentence, I would say the healthy response to pain is to not deny it, but instead find a way to express it that is going to let you discharge it without causing any damage.


If you are married and have a sexual urge, you cannot go out and have sex with a different woman other than your wife. There are other things you can do. You can direct it towards God or into an athletic activity. The whole point is not to crush it, deny it, nor repress it.


One is supposed to express it. If you are in Christ, then you should confess it as sin, say that it is there, and ask the Lord to help you direct it. These things have got to be dealt with.




Next is a problem some people might have. It is called introjection. If someone grows up with parents who have ungodly attitudes and behavior toward them, it is possible for the child, no matter how much they dislike or even despise the behavior of the parents, to become just like them. I find that very common.


People say, I am not going to be like my parents. They did this to me and that to me. I will never do that. Then as the years go by, they find out they are either doing exactly or very similar things to what their parents did. It is called introjection: the internalization of characteristics of the person that is hurting them.


According to the psychiatric journal, this is how it happens to you. Most children really love their parents and here is this love object hurting them. Every time they try to get close to their mother or their father, they end up hurt. According to this journal, we are told that becoming just like them is a way of getting close to them without being hurt by them.


I do not know if that is true or not but that is what the journal says. It is used, unconsciously of course, to establish closeness and a constant presence of the object without the anxiety and pain that comes from the relationship.


Then the journal continues to say that if you fear your parent, internalization or introjection of their characteristics serves to avoid anxiety by putting the aggression under one's own control. If you become just like the parent who is abusing you, then you become an abuser. Technically, you are still in an abusive situation.


However, now you have become the one in control. Children who have been abused either go on continuing to be abused or they become abusers. 




The next category is passive-aggressive. Passive-aggressive behavior is aggression toward a person through passivity. We have a lot of people in the church and in the world who cannot conceive that they are aggressive because they have a mild demeanor about them.


Sometimes in the church it is called a silk-stocking Jezebel. The person never raises their voice. They never yell and are in denial about how their behavior is affecting other people. What is aggression? It simply means that you are attacking somebody.


Aggression is a word related to warfare. It means you are hurting somebody. I have heard people speak in very soft, gentle words, yet the words they are saying are very hurtful.


Then, if the hurt person comes to them and asks, Why did you attack me like that? You hurt my feelings.


The person who is passive-aggressive will say, Oh, I did not mean it that way. You took it the wrong way, or I was just kidding.


There is no such thing as kidding in Christ, and the burden is not on the object to not be hurt.


For example, if Brother A says something which is hurtful and Brother B gets hurt, the burden is not on Brother B to say, I refuse to be hurt. The burden is on Brother A. Why did you say it? Why did you say it if you thought for the slightest second that it might hurt Brother B? Why did you say it?


You said something that could hurt your brother. It is not the responsibility of Brother B to refuse to be hurt. It is the responsibility of Brother A to not say anything hurtful. I have had people say to me, Oh, you should not be hurt.  No, you should not have said it!


If I say something and I did not intend to hurt you, but I did hurt you and if I hear that you are hurt, I will say to you, I am sorry that I hurt you. I had to do it, but I am sorry that I hurt you.


Now, if I did not have to do it, if it was just ignorance on my part then I will say, I am sorry that I hurt you. Sometimes I say things that do hurt you, but I have to. Why?


It is because I am hurting your carnal mind in my capacity as minister here. When I do this, I will tell you I am really sorry I hurt you, but I have to do it. We cannot go around hurting people and saying hurtful things and telling the other person that it is their responsibility to be tough enough not to get hurt.


That is not Christian. If you are a person who is receiving arrows shot into you on a regular basis and you have taken the responsibility of saying, I will not be hurt, then you are justifying the behavior of the person who is shooting the arrows.


You are enabling them. You are supporting them in their destructive behavior towards you. You are telling them it is OK and to keep on doing it. You do not have any complaint. You are too big and tough to be hurt.


If you do that, you are opening the door wide for that person to hurt you. If you are the mother, it could be hurting the child, or if you are the wife of a man who is doing this, it could hurt your children.


Everyone is responsible for godly behavior and godly reactions. If you let somebody hurt you, not necessarily physically, but with their behavior or their words, and tell them, It is OK, or not to worry about it, I can handle it, just get ready. It is just a matter of time until you see them hurting somebody who is not as tough as you are.


Of course you do not fight with people. You talk and communicate. You say to them, Are you aware that you just hurt me?


Or a man might say to his wife, Oh honey, who are you kidding? I could not hurt you. What are you talking about? You should not be hurt.


You have a choice. You can tough it out and play this sick game, or you can tell them, You may not know it but I want you to know that I believe you are hurting me and it is not funny.


I say that to people lots of times. They cannot receive what I am saying. I want it on the record. I acknowledge that you do not think you hurt me, but I want you to know that I feel you have hurt me. We will leave it at that, but do not think that I think it is OK.  It is not acceptable and it is a sick game.


If somebody is hurting you and you are justifying their actions, enabling them, and helping them to continue in this kind of hurtful behavior whether it be physical, verbal, or emotional, you are playing a sick game with them that is called sadomasochism. It comes on all levels.


When it gets to a really extreme point, you are beating each other with whips, but it does not have to be so extreme. It can be very mild; it could be verbal or emotional. When someone hurts you, you are not supposed to say, Hit me again. You cannot hurt me.


That is not a healthy response. Something is wrong. If you think you deserve to be hurt, something is wrong with your thinking. If you think it is OK for people to hurt you and that is just the way life is, you are in denial. You are trying to control the situation by saying, You cannot hurt me.


You probably have a whole series of these defenses operating in your life repressing the hurt. You are rationalizing another person’s right to do it to you. You are intellectualizing, talking to yourself and, saying you should not be hurt. You may or may not be acting out.


If you are involved in a relationship like this where someone is regularly, habitually hurting you, and you have accepted this as the status quo, thinking that this is the way it is and it is OK, you may be having some response.


You may scream and yell. Maybe you’ll have a temper tantrum.  Maybe you are a man that gets drunk and breaks bottles. People do not get drunk for no reason. They get drunk because they are in pain. Sometimes they act out that pain by breaking bottles. They wreck houses. Who knows what else they are going to do? Break furniture?


The immature defense mechanism is acting out. You do not know what to do with that pain, so you break something. A mature response to that pain is to express it in a harmless way, and what is the most harmless way? It is to talk about it. It is the hardest thing for people to do in our society. People cannot talk.


Passive-aggressive behavior is being aggressive while never raising your voice and never overtly hurting anybody so that you can always say, That is just your imagination. I did not hurt you. It is little digs, subtle digs, talking behind somebody's back, refusal to cooperate. That is what passive-aggressive means.


Did you ever see kids that just will not pick the things up in their room? The have passive aggression toward their parents.


We saw projection under the narcissism category and now we see it again under immature defenses. Again, it is attributing one's own unacknowledged feelings to other people, and it is used to reject intimacy.


A lot of people project their thoughts onto other people. They become suspicious and are always worrying about danger or injustice. They use it to prevent intimacy. Every time they start to get close to somebody they become suspicious of them; mistrust them.


We find problems with intimacy a lot in people who come out of dysfunctional families. They will find a reason to not let you get close to them. The whole world is dysfunctional. The church is dysfunctional. Everybody has been hurt, but you cannot go through life like that.


To get the best out of life, you have to open yourself to being hurt. You have to take a chance. You have to let yourself be vulnerable, so long as all of this is under the control of Christ, of course.


If you are a young woman, you are not going to go with a man who you know is someone who can really hurt you. Maybe a married man can really hurt you, but you have standards.


If you find a man who meets those standards who is willing to make a commitment to you and you care about him, you have to take a chance. Open yourself to the possibility of being hurt. You are going to get hurt because we are all imperfect. Everybody disappoints us.


You have to have a plan of action as to how to deal with that hurt when it comes so it does not destroy your marriage, family life, or friendships. The hurt will come. The offense must come. What are you going to do with it when it comes?


If you keep running away from people when they hurt you, you are going to be all alone because everybody is going to hurt you sooner or later. You have to walk the fine line between denial and needing person after person, friend, or boyfriend, and saying, They will never hurt me, and then when they hurt you, you break the relationship off. That is not good.


Then, there is the other extreme end where you know sooner or later everybody is going to disappoint you. It has got to be. Somewhere along the line they are going to disappoint you, and you have to live with knowing it is going to happen without using it to block intimacy.


You have to be vulnerable and open yourself. Love them with everything you have to give, and when they hurt or disappoint you, you have to forgive them. And how do you forgive them? You have to discharge the pain. Unforgiveness is bound to an inability to discharge the pain. 


Mature Defenses 



We are now going to talk about the mature defenses. The first one on the list is called altruism and it is the exact opposite of selfishness. Altruism means to devote yourself to other people; to give instead of get. The church teaches this. You get your mind off yourself and think about someone else. Selfishness destroys.


There is a perversion of this altruism and people who get involved in this have to be very careful to not surrender everything of themselves to other people's needs. In the church we call it an ungodly burden, or ungodly soul tie. It is where you give up all rights to anything so that the other person can be happy.


That is not healthy, and it is possible that if you get involved in it, your satisfaction can come through internalizing the other person's problems. You do not want to internalize the other person's problems. When you come to someone in a relationship in Christ, if the Lord brings you into a relationship with someone, you want to come with your strength. You do not want to come to a relationship to be brought down by that person.


Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. If two people come together in a relationship who bring their strengths to the relationship, it can be a great blessing for you, but you have to be very careful.


Since we are all fallen, we must know that every time we commit to a relationship with someone, a new relationship, we should ask the Lord what should I know about this person? Is there anything I need to be aware of to protect myself?


If that person has an ungodly weakness in them, which happens to be a particular area of vulnerability for you, you can be damaged by the relationship. Furthermore, you want to be edified in any relationship you enter into. You want to bring Christ in you to that person in order to raise them up without being dragged down from the relationship.


Being altruistic means instead of thinking about yourself, you serve and help and minister to other people. In addition, you get gratification from doing it.


It makes you feel good to be able to bless or help somebody else, which will diminish, or hopefully dissolve your pain completely. Your pain will be swallowed up by the gratification of doing something for others, but there is also a perversion of that.


Be careful that you do not get involved in ungodly soul ties where you start to minister to a troubled person and wind up finding their problem resident in you. We call it an ungodly soul tie in the church, and the psychiatrists know about it.


I keep saying we are very much in agreement with the psychiatrists. The only major difference is they deny God, but we are very much in agreement with the scientists about our world. Also, we are very much in agreement with the psychiatrists about the function of the human mind.




The second defense to pain and anxiety in the mature person is anticipation


We can go into a state of denial every time we enter into a relationship, and say, This is the person that will never hurt me. Then when we do get hurt, we are devastated because we have denied the possibility that it could happen, which takes us back to narcissism. Nevertheless, the godly counterpart of that is called anticipation.


People hurt us even when they do not mean to. We are all fallen. We hurt and disappoint each other all the time. We can anticipate that someone is going to hurt us, but we have to be very careful not to let this knowledge that people and relationships hurt us hinder our intimacy.


We have to choose our relationships based on godly wisdom, at which point, we can open ourselves to the fullness that God will allow, without fear or anxiety of being hurt, because fear or anxiety about being hurt will destroy the relationship.


You have to balance between thinking it is impossible, knowing it is going to happen, but also walk down that middle line saying you have used the wisdom Christ has given you to the best of your ability.


You have used that wisdom to pick the very best possible person to be in a relationship with. Then you decide you are going to take your chances, so when the day comes that they hurt you, hopefully it will just be a minor hurt. Whether it is a minor hurt or a major hurt when it comes, you will deal with it in Christ.




The psychiatrists call the next mature defense, asceticism. It is a reality that all of us have urges which are socially unacceptable, and frequently they come in the area of sexuality such as fantasies about having another sex partner.


The whole point is not to take condemnation if these thoughts come into your mind. The question is what do you do with them? What asceticism does is that it works together with a moral code.


Fallen man is constantly looking to be satisfied; constantly looking to have our hurts healed. The bottom line is we want to feel good. Asceticism is a recognition that we have certain base drives and if we were neither civilized nor Christians, we would be out there doing them.


Asceticism takes these base drives and more or less confronts them with a moral code to get gratification. What does that mean? We feel good because the righteousness in us overcame the base drive. Let me say it again.


There is a base drive in us that is offering us pleasure, and we know that it is to our destruction, and the way we deal with it is by saying, I am a Christian. God says fornication is wrong, and I have overcome fornication.


The pleasure principle is no longer in the base or unacceptable sexual act. The pleasure now comes from saying, I have overcome this unacceptable behavior.


It is a transference. It is a Godly, healthy, mature way of dealing with something internal that is causing us anxiety, fear or conflict. I have this feeling so what am I going to do with it? It makes me fearful, nervous.


There is a godly way and an ungodly way of dealing with it. We can deny it, distort it, project it onto someone else, control it, repress it, act out, or do it. On the other hand, we can also overcome it with the righteousness of God.


If we are a young person who is not married, we can overcome restless feelings by doing works for other people. Do not lay around the house dreaming and giving your mind an opportunity to stir up fantasies in these areas. Get out and do something to help somebody else.  




The next mature defense is humor. If we can do it, that is a wonderful defense. We can laugh at ourselves. Before you can laugh at yourself without condemnation, you have to be able to talk about your problem.


If you have a religious person sitting next to you, they are probably going to try to shut you up. That is not a godly response. If you find yourself in a confrontation with somebody because you are expressing yourself and they are trying to shut you up, the healthy expression is speaking about the problem.


The unhealthy expression is the other person trying to silence you. You have to know that so that you can stand in righteousness. If the person does not want to hear it, you do not have to force it on them, but do not be condemned by their ungodly reactions.


It is godly to express yourself, and if you can do it, laugh at yourself. I have done that to myself a lot; I just make a joke out of it. Sometimes when I go through such incredible painful experiences, I just laugh. It really takes the edge off.


I say, These thoughts in my mind are really ridiculous. I have prayed and I have done everything and they will not go away, and there is nothing left to do but to laugh at them. Then, you have a starting point.


I realize they are there. I am not going to deny it nor distort that they are there. I am not going to say they are not in my mind, but in someone else's mind, and I will not try to control them.


I might try to control them in Christ, but I certainly am not going to act them out. I will talk about them and if I can, laugh about it. We are not without remedies.




The next defense is sublimation. Sublimation means that you take that feeling of anxiety and channel it into something creative. If it is an energy, go out and do something physical, like get involved in sports.


Some people like to be creative, to find some artistic expression. If there is a restlessness in your soul, go out and do something godly; take that energy and channel it into something healthy.


Do something to help somebody else. Use your mind or body in a godly pursuit, and you will take the victory over the feeling. Do not deny it, repress it, or blame somebody else. Do not shut up, but instead admit it is there and deal with it. Deal with what? Your pain.




The last godly defense is called suppression. Remember, repression is the denial of pain to the point where it ceases to exist for you, and that is unconscious. Suppression is the conscious putting down of something, saying, It is there. I have an ungodly sexual desire, but I simply will not do it.


Repression is destructive because it goes underground, and you can have roots of bitterness. You can have all kinds of problems built up in your soul, but suppression gives you a satisfaction because you have taken the victory over your own life.


In simple terms, if we deal with the problem, we are OK. If we do not deal with it, we have trouble. Taking the victory consciously over a force which is trying to drive you to do something you do not want to do, gives one gratification.


If you have a problem, it is important you bring satisfaction in a godly manner. An immature way of dealing with problems is to deny one’s self-gratification.


If you deny yourself gratification, the painful emotions are going underground and will rear up its head in one of many different ungodly ways. If you have an emotion, it must be satisfied.


In the legal system, they say one has a judgment against somebody. Maybe someone owes you money, so then you would get a legal document against them. That judgment must be satisfied; it must be discharged.


It has to be dealt with. If you put it away from yourself without satisfying it, you will have trouble down the line. If you are using any of these ungodly methods, you are also hurting other people along the way. It may work temporarily for you to deny or repress your problems, or even to try to control other people.


It may work temporarily, but the day will come you’re your methods will fail. They are not godly, and even psychiatrists know it. It is not even a question of God in this area. It is a question of the basic nature of humanity.


God knows what our basic nature is, and we have a decent number of people in the world who have a pretty good handle on the nature of fallen man. People cannot continue having unsatisfied pain indefinitely. People’s minds will explode and we will have thousands, if not millions, in mental institutions.


Everything is not a demon. The church has what is called deliverance ministry. There are some people who have demons, and they have to be cast out. If you have submitted yourself to that and still the demons did not come out, or you only see some improvement, you may be a person who needs to be reeducated.


You need counseling along with the power of God. You have to learn that you cannot deal with emotions in ungodly ways because the results are temporary. Later in life it will result in a big explosion if you do not start transferring over to a godly discharge of pain.


It has to be satisfied, put away, and dealt with. You cannot bury it forever. It is going to come back and haunt you. That is a reality of our fallen condition whether you are in God or not. We have plenty of people who are not living for God, yet they have this knowledge.


How do they know this? Their parents taught them. They grew up in a household where this is practiced. If you grew up in a household where it was not practiced, you have to change. The change comes through overcoming, which can be painful, but it is worth it.


You are not going to have someone pray for you in a meeting and get slain in the spirit, or have one demon cast out of you, then go from being a person who does not have communication skills to being a person who has them. It does not work that way. You have to hear it, believe it and receive it.


You have to ask God to give it to you, and then He is going to send you opportunities with which you can practice. At first, you are going to fail, but if every time you fail you go before the Lord to confess, repent and ask Him to help you, He will send you a continuous stream of opportunities to practice these principles you are hearing.


Each time you will get stronger and wiser. Christ will increase in you, and you will grow in God. Maybe it is a demon, but do not be deceived. It is not that simple. There are plenty of people who have had a demon cast out.


From there, they stopped taking drugs, drinking or fornicating, but they are still left with the same personality problems which got them into the problem in the first place. God delivered them of a problem that was destroying their life, it was an emergency.


It was a crisis and when their time comes they will be brought to a place where He wants them to start dealing with the carnal mind of fallen man. Everybody has one. We are not going to transfer from the carnal mind into Christ by being slain in the spirit.


You will transfer from the carnal mind into Christ by rejecting everything in your personality that does not line up with the Lord Jesus Christ and actively waging war against it by replacing it with the thought processes, the mind, the practices, and the behavior of Christ.


It is a warfare to destroy everything in us that is not of God. I declare to you that if you are reading this book, you have been called to this ministry before many other people, because the day is coming where people are not going to have choices. It will be forced upon them.


I do not know exactly how it is going to happen, but you have an opportunity to do it yourself. The day is coming where great tribulation is going to fall and the pain is going to result in this change, somehow.


It is painful enough now, so do it now. If you do it now, He is calling you to be among the company that is going to minister to other people. It is a great honor. There is no reason to resist this. If you are resisting this or if you feel at any time I am your enemy, it is your carnal mind talking to you because I am not your enemy.


I am here in Christ's stead giving you His word telling you that you are invited to be in the company who is going to minister to the multitudes who are in great pain, so you better not be condemning His people.


He will not tolerate it, for there is no more condemnation in Christ Jesus, but He accepts us for what we are: human, feeling, people who are capable of being hurt. He is going to teach us how to survive in a godly manner.




By way of review, narcissism is a condition whereby one will protect oneself to the point of complete denial that they have any problems at all.


We see this a lot among alcoholics. For those of you who know anything about alcoholism, you understand this concept that denial of any problem is very common.


I find narcissism the hardest condition to deal with. It is very common that drug addicts and alcoholics will not even admit they are an addicted. They are really, really hard to deal with.


You need the power of God to deal with someone who is narcissistic because they just look at you, laugh, and then tell you that you are imagining the problem; that you are the one who is neurotic.


Many people who have these problems are hurt deeply and they are concerned about being hurt again. They do not want anxiety or internal conflict, so they employ some of the ungodly methods to deal with conflict.


These ungodly methods do not satisfy the problem, but instead push them aside, burying them. Doing this only results in a big explosion in the future, which is considered an immature defense. The problems associated with immaturity are easier to come out of.


The mature defenses will satisfy the problem, and that is what God wants to bring us to. He wants us to come to it within ourselves. He wants to bring it to our families, and when we take the victory over ourselves, our families, and our congregation, He is going to send us out to other people. He will send you out with the true ministry of Christ.


Those of you who want to counsel, there is nothing wrong with it; just do it God's way. Believe me, there is more than enough work for everybody that wants to work, but do not condemn His people. Do not ask them to deny their pain, and do not deny it, either.


He is tolerating a lot of error in the church, but the day is coming when He will not let you minister if you condemn His little ones. He will stop you one way or another, especially if you condemn the Joseph Company because they are being formed in the image of Christ. I tell you that by word of wisdom, the word of the Lord to you. We are still under grace.


Questions & Comments


Question: Would killing all the emotions be an answer? Dying to our emotions?


Pastor Vitale: Well, it all depends on how you do it. What you are talking about now is asceticism, which is raising up a moral standard and saying, By this moral standard I am not going to yield to you. That is OK if you do it in Christ. That is what we do in Christ.


Killing it in Christ is the answer. A lot of people in the church are not killing it in Christ. They are using all these other methods. They think they are doing it in Christ, and because it is not Christ, it is bringing death instead of life. There is a difference between overcoming and killing, and denying and burying.


They think they have killed it, but they have buried it. What we are talking about now can only happen as Christ is being formed in you. The people who have received the Holy Spirit do not have the vehicle to do this because it is not a common teaching in the church.


That teaching being that if you have received the Holy Spirit, although Christ is not being formed in you, you are not spiritually prepared to kill self or to die to self.


They do not understand this. They have received the Holy Spirit, but it is not working for them because Christ is not being formed in them. They then proceed to lay hold of all these other methods thinking it is Christ.


This is prevalent throughout the church, but for whatever reason, God at that moment in their lives is not fulfilling an aspect of the Scripture they would like fulfilled in their life. Because they cannot understand it the way I am expressing it to you, they rise up and try to do it in their own strength.


They continue to believe that they have done it. However, they are involved in a great error. Some people are now going around preaching that error, and they have an altar call at the end of the meeting just like we have seen so many times. People are saying, Come up for salvation.


These men are saying, Come up if you want to be baptized into Tabernacles, and they come up. I do not know if the men lay hands on them or not. I have read about it but have not seen it, and then they send them home. Later it is reported that 33 people entered into the Most Holy Place.


What are you talking about, they entered into the Most Holy Place? It is the same thing as a woman telling me a couple of years ago, I have the most wonderful testimony. I went to see my doctor today and he received the baptism with the Holy Spirit.


I knew in my heart it was not true so I said to her, What makes you think that he received the baptism with the Holy Spirit?


We know now it isn't the baptism, but I was not going to argue with her on that detail.


What makes you think he received the Holy Spirit?


She said, He said that he wanted it and he agreed to it.


I asked, Was it evidenced with speaking in tongues?


No, she replied.


I asked, Was there any manifestation? Any sign at all?


She said, No.


How do you know he received it? I asked.


Well, he said he received it, she replied.


The woman is a preacher who said that to me. We see it in the ultimate reconciliation camp today. They are saying they have it all and if they just believe it, they are going to be in full stature.


You cannot enter into Christ through intellectualism. It is a spiritual experience, and every step that we grow closer to Christ is a spiritual experience. It cannot happen to you because you believe it. It has to actually HAPPEN to you.


You cannot dream about it. This does not seem to be understood in the church. It is the same as casting out a demon. It does not always have to be a manifestation.


It is possible for a demon to come out without a manifestation. Either it came out, or it did not. Everybody who has a manifestation does not get delivered, and everybody who does not have a manifestation cannot say they were not delivered.


If you ask for deliverance for a demon of witchcraft and I lay hands on you and rebuke witchcraft, I cannot reasonably say to you, Well, you can go home and sleep now because it came out.


Unless I have a word of knowledge from the Lord that it came out, I do not know whether it came out or not. Unless I hear you speak in other tongues, I will not know whether you have received the Holy Spirit.


I suppose it is possible. I know a woman who was asking for the Holy Spirit for months and she was greatly distressed. All of our formulas do not work, it has to be a work of the Spirit.


I started questioning her and it turned out she really did receive the Holy Spirit, but it was a little different manifestation than mine. Her prayer language was just one phrase, which she would only say it once in a while. When I questioned her, it came out, and the Lord told me she had received. So it was true.      


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Pastor Vitale's Bio

Sheila R. Vitale is the founding teacher and pastor of Living Epistles Ministries and Christ-Centered Kabbalah. In that capacity, she expounds upon the Torah (Scripture) and teaches Scripture through a unique Judeo-Christian lens.

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