“Train the Habit of Faith’’ A Note from C. S. Lewis for Those Who Struggle with Difficult Emotions.

RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY

Albert Ellis

C. S. Lewis has a few words to share regarding those who, like himself, struggle with doubt and difficult emotions. He says we must: “train the habit of Faith.’’… “First, we should begin by recognizing the role of our moods and feelings. They can change on a daily basis and color how we view our beliefs. Second, we must daily practice the classical disciplines, like prayer, inspirational reading and church worship, in order to be reminded of Christian doctrine. We must constantly review and keep what we believe before us.
Lewis realizes that changing our thinking will not simply occur overnight. “Only the practice of Faith resulting in the habit of Faith will gradually do that.” So we must work constantly, countering the powerful influence of our emotions on our thinking … the key is to bring our emotions and feelings into line with what our intellect has judged true on good grounds” (Baggett et al., 2018, pp. 92-93, emphasis mine).

The process of “changing our thinking and thereby changing our moods” is called REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). “The chief idea in REBT is that emotional upsets and pain are usually caused not by external factors, as is commonly held, but by the irrational beliefs that we accept and reinforce. It may be best known for its A-B-C doctrine. Although what happens to us (the As, or “activating events” in our lives) can cause some pain and difficulty, the primary cause of our emotional suffering is our own belief system (the Bs). Irrational beliefs (bad or negative Bs) often cause painful consequences (the Cs), while rational beliefs (good or positive Bs) cause positive consequences. As Ellis says of irrational thoughts, “When these beliefs are effectively disputed (at point D), by challenging them rationally and behaviorally, the disturbed consequences become minimal and largely cease to recur”’ (Baggett et al., 2018, pp. 92-93).

This post is just a reminder that some therapy techniques hold great truths and can be effective when applied because they are based on Biblical truth: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9, emphasis mine). Therefore, take time to study the life of the apostle Paul. For he “learned the secret to contentment” (Phil. 4:13). Lastly, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2, emphasis mine). Because we are children of God, we have the capability of having the “mind of God,” being a perfect mind, through the Holy Spirit, as we renew it … daily (the key).

Reference

Baggett, D., Habermas, G. R., & Walls, J. L. (2018). C. S. Lewis as Philosopher, 2nd Edition: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty (pp. 92–93). Liberty University Press.

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