Life’s Four Tires: Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual

Tom C Lacy cropped

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Like many vehicles human life, figuratively speaking, runs on four tires delineated as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

To illustrate this principle consider a common occurrence – a vehicular flat tire. From this illustration we discern the human application.

If, while driving an automobile, a flat tire occurs one of two things follows:

  1. The automobile becomes difficult to control
  2. We slow down and stop – if possible.

In the worse case scenario, that is one cannot get out of the line of traffic, they must continue to keep pace with the flow of traffic. Continuing to run on a flat tire adds the risk of ruining other tires. One flat tire may ultimately become two or more flat tires.

Similarly, if we experience a physical flat tire i.e., a common cold, a strained muscle, a fracture or other non-incapacitating condition, and we do not slow down to deal with it, the ailment could eventually pull down the emotional, physical and/or Spiritual tires.

Upon hearing this illustration, some say, “Hey, that’s me. All my tires are flat. Put air in any one of them and I’ll be good to go.”

“Not so,” I respond. “If the right front tire on your automobile went flat, and you put air in the left rear tire will the vehicle handle smoothly?”

Life’s Four Tires is a diagnostic tool to help us ascertain the root level of the problem. In an earlier lesson, we saw that precisely naming the problem allowed us to determine God’s cure for that problem.

Through self-diagnosis, or counseling, it can be determined which tire went flat first because that flat tire pulled down one or more of the others. As a Bible-based counselor I employ examples Jesus established. From a study of Scripture, which tire do we see Him deal with first most often? The physical.

Many times, before dealing with Spiritual matters He dealt with physical conditions. He fed the hungry. He gave sight to the blind. He healed the leper, and the list continues.

If a person seeking problem-resolution is told to read the Book of John three times, memorize a verse a day and go to Sunday school and church every time the doors are opened – that is, putting air in the Spiritual tire instead of the physical tire – that would not solve a physical problem. In fact, after doing all those things tha person could suffer a Spiritual blowout. They may walk away sorrowful, even proclaiming, “Getting closer to God doesn’t help.”

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As a counselor I learned early on most problems stem from guilt and/or resentment. Guilt has two sources. Resentment has many sources.

Guilt is the direct product of sin. If sin is evident two questions need to be answered:

1.   What am I doing that I should not be doing?

2.   What am I not doing that I should be doing?

These issues are commonly referred to as the sin of commission and the sin of omission. The solution to each is obvious. Stop doing what you shouldn’t be doing and start doing what you haven’t been doing.

Scripture reports in 1st John 1:9: “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”              

To remain inviolate, the half brother of Jesus gives this two-fold counsel as recorded in James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Relief from the guilt of sin is the easiest to acquire since Christ paid the price on the cross at Calvary. Repent.

The second form of guilt is commonly referred to as a guilt-trip. This guilt has a two sources:

1. We put ourselves on a guilt-trip

2. We allow others to put us on a guilt-trip.

Only one inquiry question is necessary to work through this form of guilt – Why?

 Why do you put yourself on a guilt-trip? Why do you allow others to put you on a guilt trip? Asking these questions often opens Pandora’s Box that reveals a cache of un-resolved anger and resentments.

 I describe this phase of the counseling process as getting the junk out of your trunk. This is a delicate, sometimes painful and is often a protracted process. In this process the counselor is asking the counselee to figuratively rip the scabs off their old wounds by digging into their painful past.*

In the next session we will learn how to expose un-resolved anger and un-resolved resentment. In the meantime, please review Article Eleven: Anger Management – God’s Way.

*(Allow me to offer a word of caution. There is no stigma attached to getting counseling. Proverbs 11:14 gives legitimacy to this ministry: “Where no counsel is the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Caution: But, keep it to yourself. Seek counseling from those who are trained, accredited or certified in using biblical counseling techniques. Competent, trained, professional counselors do not share case histories. What you say is kept private. This ministry does not perform group counseling. Why? Predators attend group-counseling sessions. This could make those in attendance vulnerable to further abuse. A word to the wise should be sufficient.)

Tom C Lacy cropped Rev. Thomas (Tom) C. Lacy, Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Christian Alliance and Founder and Director, of New Hope Counseling Service.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Virginia Christian Alliance
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