Holiness is experiential. As taught by Wesley, it is the heart fully surrendered to Jesus Christ that allows the
indwelling Holy Spirit to influence, not dictate, the way we embrace life. God changes our hearts so we want
and are able to bring glory to Jesus Christ in what we say, think, and do.
Holiness does not mean a person is mentally, emotionally, or physically perfect. Like the Apostle Paul, many
will have to deal with some type of “thorn in the flesh.” This is not due to a lack of faith, but rather serves as a
point that God chooses to perfect the heart.
Many of us will still need to seek medical or psychological help after we are sanctified. History
is full of godly saints who struggled with disorders. Dwight L. Moody was obese. Charles
Spurgeon struggled with bouts of depression. Anton Boisen, the father of modern pastoral care,
had at least three episodes of extended hospitalization for schizophrenia. Even John Wesley
wrote about his “nervous disorders” and experienced symptoms matching the criteria
God delivers us in a variety of ways, according to His purpose. Some are healed in
a moment of time, while others through an extended process. Mental health counselors are sometimes a part of this process. Regardless of His method, He gets the glory. As Christians, we are called to prayand apply God's Word. When things do not work out the way we want, there is a temptation to write it off as a lack of faith on our parts.
God has called us to use the resources He has made available. Including pastoral care, medicine, psychology, and healthy lifestyle practices, even after we are sanctified. They are an extension of His grace.
Dr. James L. Smith
Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling