Question: "How should a Christian view Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?"
Answer: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsive behaviors. The thoughts are invasive and feel uncontrollable. Furthermore, the thoughts are anxiety-provoking, compelling the person to carry out certain behaviors to temporarily relieve the anxiety. Both the thoughts and compulsive routines interfere with daily life to varying degrees. Researchers have not found a cause for OCD, but they have identified parts of the brain that seem to be involved.
The root of OCD is anxiety. While OCD is not mentioned by name in Scripture, the word worry occurs 36 times (NLT). The consistent warning is not to worry. Worry is sin because it ignores the power of prayer and obstructs faith (Philippians 4:6). Those who have never trusted Jesus as their savior are slaves to sin such as worry and cannot free themselves (Romans 6:17-22). Believers who struggle with chronic worry have yet to understand their freedom in Jesus to have victory over sin (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Believers are called to sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). In the process of sanctification, we are continually putting off our old nature which is prone to sensuality, lust, and impurity and putting on our new nature which is like Christ. It is not a surprise that fear and anxiety are natural feelings; the Bible tells us that we are all born under the curse of sin. We do not have the power to stop sinning on our own. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can break sinís chains. Once we have received Jesus as our savior, we are a new creation in Christ. Christians must walk in the Spirit in order to put off their earthly nature and begin to think and act like Jesus (Colossians 3:1-10). This is also called having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15-16). With the mind of Christ, we can set our minds on things above (2 Corinthians 10:5; Colossians 3:1-3; Philippians 4:8).
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is real; however, through the power of the Holy Spirit and our obedience to Christ, we can change our thinking and break the chains of sin. This does not mean that medication and counseling are not useful tools in overcoming this affliction. Often, it is a combination of personal Bible study, medication, and discipling with a biblical counselor that leads to freedom. At the heart of OCD is our weak, fleshly nature, and, ultimately, a relationship to Jesus Christ is the only real answer.
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