Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
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Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD)

Do you repeatedly check to make sure doors are locked? Do you wash your hands excessively? Are you overly concerned about germs; do you find that touching doorknobs, shaking hands and the like bother you? Have you battled morbid or immoral thoughts even though those thoughts are completely unwelcomed and horrify you? Do you spend an unusual amount of time keeping things organized so they are “just right"? Do you have a difficult time making decisions unless you are 100% certain and all variables have been thought through?

If you've answered yes to any of these then, to some degree, you likely have what is called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

First let's look at what the world defines as OCD. In my research I have found varying definitions of OCD that not only change depending on the source of who's defining it but many sources have changed their definition of it over the years. The following continuity seems to be present in many of the definitions of OCD today:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disorder of the brain and behavior. OCD is considered by some as an anxiety disorder as it often causes anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsions that can take a lot of time and get in the way of important things the person values.

You know what I hate right off the bat. That they call it a disorder. That was one of the things I feared I would discover about myself, that I had something mentally wrong such as having a “disorder”. However I have found that mankind loves to put labels on things so they can categorize them and put them in their own neat compartments. While they call it a disorder, I would simply describe it as Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. Yep that sounds better. Sorry I'm being OCB about this.

Honestly though, when you research OCD they are taking a behavior pattern and putting a label on it. When you dig in to their research scientist aren't sure exactly what happens which unfortunately is the current case with many other mental disorders relating to anxiety and depression. They speculate that there is some chemical imbalance but they have no way to measure or test this theory. They've examined brain scans that have given some evidence of areas of the brain that activate which seem to be different than those who aren't showing symptoms of OCD. For all they know that could just be a person's ability to use more of their brain. Even in testing medication to help with anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders they aren't sure exactly how the antianxiety and antidepressant pills work. Their conclusions are based on their observations of positive results seen in those taking the pills that had been diagnosed with a disorder. It was not because they understand the engineering of how it works but because of trial and error. I'm not discrediting the medical side of things, I'm stating we don't have concrete evidence of what's causing OCD, therefore I'm actually suspending judgment until concrete evidence can be provided.


There are many arguments crediting OCD to spiritual causes. Unfortunately this is where the world has their head in the sand. Not factoring in God, the implications of grace, faith, and spiritual things (indeed they are unable [1 Cor. 2:14]) and having no understanding of the existence of “principalities”, “powers”, “rulers of the darkness of this world”, “spiritual wickedness in high places.” (See Eph. 6:12, KJV) they offer us no help regarding a realm which they have no understanding.


There's a spiritual aspect (often called scrupulosity) the world cannot factor in because it does not know Him (John 14:17). The psychological aspect they may recognize. The spiritual aspect escapes them. Therefore let me start with the psychological and then we'll examine the spiritual and their relationship.


The Vicious Cycle of OCD


OCD is often a result of a big heart in an intelligent person who relies on their own understanding.


One of the first things I found when studying OCD is that people who identify or are identified with it are regarded as tender, thoughtful, and intelligent people. Now obviously a big heart and intelligence aren't bad (1 john 4:8, 1 Cor. 1:24). It's the last factor I mentioned above combined with these two that make what the world labels as OCD manifest itself. Because of the big heart a person is often emotionally moved in a big way. Because of intelligence, the same person has an analytical mind and is prone to rely on their own understanding.

Fear and hurt then may be when said person's heart has been hurt by an error or something missed by the brain and all of it's facets. Everyone does this, those with a big heart however are on the extreme end where it's recognizable and therefore labeled OCD. Because they are compelled by a big heart they are equally hurt by any miscalculation of the brain which they were previously relying on. This drives the person to improve their thinking that they rely on (often people with OCD are perfectionist) to prevent such an occurrence in the future.

Therefore, because other than God nobody can have absolute knowledge, and because their reliance on their knowledge, the OCD sufferer gets caught in a loop. Their sensitive heart compels them beyond their contemporaries and therefore their reliance on their brain to make absolute their path is even more driven in that it needs to protect them and therefore rule out all possible negative variables. Because their brain, having been "fooled" in the past (which is inevitable as nobody but God had total knowledge) no longer wants to grant certainly to the sufferer thereby giving the heart an "all ok" or "all clear" to move forward for fear of a variable they missed, can't understand, can't rule out, and therefore can't accomplish absolute, risk-free certainty (which is why those like me with OCD have commitment issues which we'll get into later in this article). The disciples initially struggled with this too which I'll elaborate on later (Luke 24:41).

Because we've forgotten to lock a door in the past we have a hard time assuring ourselves we've locked it this time. Because we can't physically see our hands are clean and free of contaminates we wash them again. Even when we have rational assurance that the door is locked (after all we saw ourselves check it over and over) and even if we could physically see germs and therefore have rational assurance our hands our clean, because we (our hearts) no longer trust our brains fully, we can never get that "all clear" feeling that our heart so desperately wants. Therefore we repeat rituals in a vain attempt to get that all clear feeling to go through. (Keep in mind feelings are a matter of the heart.)

On larger scale items our heart, even more so, looks for "all clear" messages from our mind on things the mind can't fully comprehend (1 Cor. 13:12) and has no authority to send such assurance. Therefore we get hung up on things that seem irrational, even to ourselves, things like "how do I know I won't hurt that person" or as a Christian, "how do I know I'm saved", "how do I know for sure God exists", or "how can I rule out that I haven't committed the unpardonable sin". We look about and see people who have assurance in these things and consider them ignorant "how can they really know". And being tender hearted, we actually don't want to talk with them about this (among other reasons such as fear of them thinking we're crazy, etc.) because we worry we might propel them into the same fiery ordeal.

Because of our heart's need for certainty and the damage done to it in the past, and given the intelligence of the sufferer's mind and its analytical ability (thinking outside the box) we start factoring in outlandish variables (that in some circumstances can be a strength which I'll discuss later regarding obsessive variable thinking). These "outlandish variables" manifest themselves as intrusive thoughts that are usually unwelcomed by the sufferer. However, because of their compulsion to rule out all negative variables their brain retains these thoughts in a futile effort to be done with them. A vicious cycle of trying to fight fire with fire.


OCD operates in our mind much like the HIV (or AIDS virus) operates in the body. When a person gets sick with a normal virus, the virus enters the body and the infection begins to spread. Then after that our body's immune system is alerted and reacts. The immune system sends CD4 cells, also known as T-helper cells to go fight the infection. After some time goes by the infection is overcome by the immune system and we revert back to normal. The HIV infection differs in that, unlike a traditional virus which hits various parts of the body, HIV specifically attacks and infects the T-helper cells that have come to kill it. Other viruses spread from one defenseless cell to another but the HIV virus specifically attacks the very cell that came to kill it. So what does the body do? It sends more. And the more it sends the more food the virus is receiving and able to spread faster. It's like trying to put out a fire by throwing paper on it and then when that doesn't work we try again by throwing more paper on it.


Feels like OCD doesn't it?


It's interesting because the HIV/AIDS virus doesn't actually kill a person. It simply keeps the immune system occupied and subdued so that the host is more susceptible to other threats that wouldn't otherwise be a big deal. A person with AIDS can be done in even by a common cold because there's nothing left to fight it. In the same way a person with OCD suffers from a depletion in mental and emotional resources to deal with things in life that otherwise wouldn't be as big of a deal. Just like what the HIV/AIDS virus does to the immune system, the more an OCD sufferer focuses on the object of obsession the more the powerful the obsessing becomes. The more resources you spend searching for the "all clear" feeling, the more "all clears" the disorder will infect and the end result is more fronts to battle then what was there to begin with.


The All-Clear "Drug" OCD Sufferers Desperately Pursue


A study I learned awhile ago showed how a person addicted to heroin would receive a high from the initial injection. This "high" simply means their feelings were elevated above what would be considered normal. Once the drug wears off they would become "low" feeling worse then what would be normal. With no action it would take some time for their feelings to level out and for their body to recalibrate. The alternative to waiting for recalibration was to inject themselves with heroin which not only brought them out of the low, but once again put them above normal feeling high once again. This was a quick fix to treat the low feelings thus starting the addiction. The problem is, the high isn't as high and each time the user would come off of heroin the low became even lower. Then it's not long until the person has to keep using just to try and feel "normal" to once again feel like life is bearable. Thereafter it's not long until the dose they are injecting isn't enough anymore to lift them up to "normal". So what do they do? They inject more to compensate. Then when that isn't as effective, they inject more still and with no course correction they eventually overdose in a desperate attempt to simply feel normal once again.


Since originally posting this article I have been contacted quite a few times and even met some sufferers in person and consistently the primary reason an OCD sufferer reaches out to me is because they want their fears doused, their anxieties dealt with, and their minds settled. To return to the life that's "normal", the life they had prior to when this OCD "infection" started. They contact me in search of a fix. Initially, with a history studying theology I was eager to provide them that fix, to help them douse their concerns and fears as is my heart's desire to do. The problem is I was going about it the wrong way. Quickly I saw a pattern where a person who's question were previously answered and anxieties settled were once again on my virtual (and real) door step looking for the same thing. Like an addict they wanted me to say the right words, do the right thing, anything that would put their mind at ease. After recognizing this pattern I realized I wasn't helping as much as I'd like to be but rather I became their drug dealer. Every time they needed an "all clear" fix they came to me and if what I said or did caused their brain to actually triggered an "all clear" it was like injecting them with heroin. While it would address the immediate pain, like any narcotic it would eventually wear off and they would come back, next time needing a larger dose to maintain that "all clear" feeling. The likeness to drugs is uncanny. Even if people returned with the same fears and anxieties, the same answers no longer had an impact. So often I would have to up my game in terms of diving deeper and reiterating biblical theology in multiple ways before they felt settled, until one day the "all clear" feeling would no longer come yet they would show up desperate for a solution that any amount of good solid reasoning and walking through scripture together wouldn't ease. So they go search elsewhere, they up their game, and essentially overdose in an attempt to once again return to what's feeling "normal". When I first was "infected" with OCD I wasn't much of a book reader. Within months however I had blazed through dozens and dozens of books, went to all the churches, submitted prayer requests for anyone offering, visited by elders, anointed with oil, phone calls with pastors. That wasn't all. I heard exercise helped with anxiety so I would randomly take off sprinting from my job site until I was exhausted and the moment I regained strength I would do it again (yes I was that desperate for a fix).


So what do we do?


What advice would you give a drug addict? Because of well documented studies on drug addiction we know from science as well as experience the best thing for a drug addict is to...stop taking drugs. The same is true for someone suffering with OCD. (Oh how I despised the advice from people to "get over it"). But hear me out. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a process designed by man to help reprogram the brain. If you've been in therapy or done online research you're likely aware of CBT already. One thing I would like to note is that CBT, though it's a worldly tool it's process is backed by scripture. Romans 12:2 states "...be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." CBT essentially is to some degree agreeing with what God put in scripture thousands of years ago. The process of CBT is used to treat a variety of mental disorders. Specific to OCD it's a reprogramming that involves the sufferer abstaining from the rituals that their obsessions desire them to do. If your OCD causes you to repeatedly check doors then someone walking you through CBT would have you abstain from doing that no matter how much anxiety it causes you. Just like we would tell the addict to stop taking drugs no matter how bad the withdrawals are, a therapist guiding through CBT may tell you to abstain from your rituals no matter how bad the anxiety gets.


How does that work?


Renewing of the Mind - Difficult Reprogramming and Why It's Crucial


Note: Let me pause here and say I'm not a psychiatrist nor am I a therapist. I'm simply a person who studies who suffers/suffered from the same thing and has had victory. There may be variations or other accompanying factors that I may not have experience in so I would encourage you not to rely on me or what I've written here but I would encourage you to seek out those whom may be of more help then I. My qualifications would be summed up in 2 Corinthians 1:4 whereas I'm offering to share with you what has brought comfort to me.


In my studies I have learned how the Limbic part of the brain which is the emotional core of the brain works in correlation with the prefrontal cortex which is the reasoning and decision making part of the brain. Feelings originate in the limbic part of the brain; some have argued that the Limbic part of the brain is often the part being spoken of in the bible when it references the "heart" or the "flesh" or "old self". The Limbic part of the brain is also what is activated by stimulation from drugs, sex, and other things. It is also the center for emotions such as anxiety and fear. These two parts of the brain can operate together and independently. If developed properly the Limbic system can be a powerful ally (Prov. 22:6). However if developed improperly it can be a frustrating adversary. Not one that can't be overcome however. This, I'm convinced, is what's being spoken of when Paul wrote "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). Essentially Paul is saying the transformation of the person is preceded by the renewing of the mind. Modern day scientist will confirm this is exactly what happens (I'd encourage you to watch the Conquer Series [ https://conquerseries.com/ ] which dives into this deeply though it's a study more for addicts). A child raised up improperly builds what's called synaptic pathways in their Limbic systems. The more a person thinks along these lines the stronger and more reinforced those synaptic pathways get developed, good or bad. It's like making a path in the woods. If you walk it once you can hardly tell anyone has gone through there. If however you walk the same path many times, that path becomes a trail. And if someone needs to get through the woods in the same direction, they default to taking the trail which then becomes more trodden and resembles more of a road. Once it becomes a road many more are gathered to it instead of taking an off-beat path, even if it's somewhat out of the way, and thus it becomes a highway.


Let me give you a couple real life examples I hope make sense and maybe you can relate to. My wife and I recently became foster parents and took in a 6 year old girl about four months ago. By God's orchestration it has been a blessing--she has been a blessing! Though we have only had her for about four months, she has changed A LOT in such a short amount of time! Not outwardly as if she's grown, (though she has me measure how tall she is almost every other day just in case). Rather, she has changed inwardly in her way of thinking. Before I throw my daughter under the bus for the sake of this example know she has always been a wonderful kid, but one that originally came with such a different attitude then what she has now, even in such a short time. Her way of thinking, her programming, her interaction with the world, with us, was void of normal social interaction (to be expected given what she's endured thus far), furthermore her interactions, beit with that soft gentle cute face she'd give, more largely consisted of manipulative behavior accompanied by tantrums, pouting, and an overall disrespectful attitude.


What's amazing is in four months she's bloomed! Praise God! Her grades are now on par with the rest of the class and even exceeding in some areas. She interacts more and more every day and has even started shaking hands at church! That's not the most amazing part, the most amazing part is the bad attitude, the manipulations, the pouting, and the tantrums that used to be quite frequent are practically gone! That is... until visitation happens. It took a few times before I noticed the pattern, as there was next to no visitations at first. Then, recently visitations have picked up momentum (something we've encouraged and have had time to spend with and even take bio family out to dinner, go trick or treating together, and even to a concert with them, our little one, and my wife). With the increase in visitations it didn't take to long before you saw the pattern. Behavior one way with us, and then automatically changed right back to the old way after just a short time being plugged back into bio family and that atmosphere. Even a phone call with her family has caused her to revert to her old way of thinking.


Since she's been with us she's learning new programming, new synaptic pathways, but her bio-family is a trigger that causes her to travel down her old synaptic pathways and then even her interactions with the world are done so through her old way of thinking. Then after a couple days she will start operating back in the system established at our house and things will start going good again. What's interesting is when she recalibrates back into our household system she often picks up where she left off. However, when something pulls her back into her old way of thinking (after all, that's how she learned to deal with her environment she was taken from) it can get ugly fast.


The longer we have her and the more she practices thinking within our system the more I see the new system overriding the old system. What I see is the more she practices or is trained by us (Prov. 22:6) the more established in that way of thinking she gets. The old way of thinking is still there but the new way of thinking is becoming more and more prominent! Even now I've seen her take her new way of thinking and even interact with her bio-family according to it and not the old way, thus showing them respect and courteousness too, though that's still a work-in-progress. The amount of change in such a short time is phenomenal. You might be thinking how nice it would be to have a young mind with such plasticity, which in part I agree, however in the Conquer Series study I mentioned above it showed evidence that even those most advanced in years could still create new synaptic pathways.


Some more quick examples. Have you ever driven to the same place every day such as work, the gym, grocery store, etc. And in doing so taken the same turns, the same roads, etc. Then, even on a day you're not working or planning to go that way you inadvertently head that direction and maybe even take a turn or two that you didn't intend to? I have a habit of going to the fridge when I enter the kitchen.. even when I'm not hungry, even when I went in the kitchen to talk to my wife. However I go to the fridge enough with intention that my brain has well traveled synaptic pathways along those lines that when I'm not intentional I often auto-pilot to the fridge.. (I blame my wife for all the deliciousness the fridge beholds!). Now that I'm dieting, I go to the fridge less (no pop to grab, no left over cheesecake from the night before). Though once in a while I still auto-pilot to it without thinking but seldom. A couple years ago we bought a house, yet for awhile I was auto-piloting in my car after work to the old house we lived in for 15 years prior purchasing our new house. This too has stopped now that I've been in the new house for a couple years. Reprogramming can happen! Once in awhile I still drive by the old place when I'm in the area to see if the current tenants left the ivy bush remain that a late friend gave me. Interestingly, once I turn up the street, I still feel very familiar with some of it. Right after we moved, when I visited the old place, I felt I could weave in and out of the cars parked along side the road with my eyes shut being well familiar with where all the neighbors park. But I'm less familiar with it now and therefore don't have such confidence. So it is with our reprogramming of the mind and it can be done! (Rom. 12:2). (Don't even get me started on how many times I try using an old password after I've changed it, or try and use a password I set elsewhere..)


Essentially CBT is the exercise of building new paths. When you start you are trekking through the woods without a path to follow so reprogramming the OCD sufferer is like trying to get someone to drive their car through undeveloped woods when there's a highway near by. CBT builds in your mind new synaptic pathways that after time become trails, then roads, and can even become highways. Then the idea is that after time the old highways become overgrown and now the new highway or new well traveled synaptic pathway becomes your new way of thinking. However, you have to be diligent and deliberate to drive your car through the woods repeatedly and avoid the highway. In terms of dealing with OCD you start with the physical, things like abstaining from rituals such as what you might do when making sure doors are locked or your hands are germ free. I can tell you, this isn't easy. It sounds great in theory but in practice, it's torture! At least at first. Until the new way of thinking becomes a trail, then a road, etc. It isn't easy and just like it takes time for a trail to be traveled a few times before becoming road, so does the renewing of your mind in this way. I've even came across certain studies dealing with OCD which use immersion therapy where they force a person into events that trigger their OCD but don't let them act on it. For a fellow Christian struggling with religious OCD known as scrupulosity they had them write down their worst fears and to do this every day and then do nothing. Basically with the unseen it's finding a way to provoke the trigger but not act upon it. My confusion is I always thought I needed to not have the thoughts. I didn't realize the transformation came by action. It's encouraging to know the damaged Limbic system can be reprogrammed by the actions made in the prefrontal cortex.


OCD, Scrupulosity, and Well Traveled Bad Synaptic Pathways


How did those bad synaptic pathways get there?


We'll cover this a bit, sometimes it's a traumatic event, sometimes it's an upbringing, sometimes it's something self inflicted. A big hearted intelligent individual may be more prone to OCD given the temptation to rely on their own understanding. Figuring out where they came from is good, but more importantly is a focus on how to set course the right direction. In terms of spiritual reprogramming it's important we don't rely on our own understanding. Intelligence is fine and being sensitive is good, it's relying on our own understanding that has us hung up. Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to rely on our own understanding. It's ok for our brain to be analytical, that's its God given ability. But when a person's brain follows their heart they get in trouble. We are to be reprogrammed by the renewing of our mind resting on God, God's word, and not our own understanding. Billy Graham said the order is this, fact (God's words), faith (happens in our mind), feeling (happens in the heart or Limbic system). Billy said it's always that order, anytime you rearrange those you will be in trouble. In otherwords, our faith rests on the truth of God, and our feelings rest on our faith in God. If our faith rests on our feelings... we're in trouble. If we wait for our feelings to align with truth... they may never.


The difference between bravery and courage is that bravery is not being affected at a heart level by adverse circumstances. Courage is choosing to press on toward what the prefrontal cortex knows it should do despite being affected HEAVILY by adverse circumstances. Bravery says "I do not feel anxious", courage says "I will press on though I am anxious". God often calls us to be courageous (Josh 1:9, Deut. 31:6, 1 Chron. 28:20, Isa. 41:10, 13, 1 Cor. 16:13, Phil. 1:14).


If we are to renew our mind the right way we should be deliberate to rely on the wisdom of God who has total knowledge, wisdom, might, counsel and understanding (Job 12:13) rather than our infinite minds that do not. A person who relies on their own understanding has deceived themselves as described in 1 Cor. 3:18 (below).


18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [discarding his worldly pretensions and acknowledging his lack of wisdom], so that he may become [truly] wise. - 1 Corinthians 3:18 AMP


May I pause here for a second. I thank God you are suffering so that you are here and reading this with me. Not that I want you to suffer, I too know this anguish, but rather what the suffering produces. I don't want you or I to be lacking in any good thing and God does not either! (James 1:2-4) If we must suffer to no longer be deceived and obtain the Godly outcome, than I consider it joy to be suffering. If we are to be truly wise as the above verse states than we who rely on our own understanding need to suffer this way so that we can recognize it's futility and it can be exposed for what it truly is, foolishness! This way we may finally, possibly for the first time, come to the acknowledgement that we lack wisdom and discard our worldly pretensions and faulty wiring. If God granted us peace according to our wisdom, our pretensions, while we were still walking in them relying on our own understanding it would have been counter productive, feeding into that self deception. There are distinct ways, abrupt ways, that God, in His faithfulness exposed men who were relying on their own understanding. Job who God held in high regard (Job 1:8) after hearing Job cry out for reassurance, for certainty, for vindication, God came to him in a very abrupt and sobering way. In chapters 38-42 God exposes the futility of Job relying on his own understanding. God opens in chapter 38 with:


“Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
“Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding, - Job 38:1-4


If you continue reading the remaining book of Job you will see a very sobering response from God to Job who was relying on his own understanding (read the entire book and you will see you and Job share similar thoughts and anguishes). Keep in mind Job's high regard in God's eyes was genuine (Job 1:8) but there was a correction that Job needed (and he learned [Job 42:3], much like you and I need. This was a blessing to Job, it was a blessing to the disciples (2 Cor. 1:9) and it's a blessing to you.


Most people remember that proverbs 3:5 tells us to not rely on our own understanding but reread that in Proverbs, to my astonishment at this revelation, I believe many people (including myself) do not realize the importance of the first part that says "trust the Lord with all of your heart..." (Not in your brain, nor in your finite wisdom, nor in your pretension, not in your Limbic system/feelings, but the Lord!). That's the ticket! Your big heart needs to say to your brain, "Sorry, though you are considered smart amongst those in the world, your understanding is lacking and limited and not to be trusted, therefore I will lean on it no longer, I trust God now!" Only after you do that can you cease striving (Psa. 46:10) and be freed to truly "cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7). Only after you trust in the Lord with your heart and no longer rely on the understanding of your brain can you listen and enjoy what His Spirit has been testifying to you this whole time:


16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, - Romans 8:16


Thank God He is faithful.


The bible actually speaks on some things the world labels as OCD that occurs in the minds of all Christians. In Romans 7:7b-8a Paul writes:

...I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind...” - Romans 7:7b-8a

Paul who joyously concurred with the law (Rom. 7:22) of which was the commandment “You shall not covet” had sin in him which took the opportunity through that commandment to produce coveting of every kind. Similarly those with OCD who wish to not think terrible thoughts, because of the magnitude of those terrible thoughts and their desire to avoid them, cannot help but think of them.

I have found that given the right desire and enough motivation anyone can have obsessive thoughts, such that compel them to act on them. These things can be sparked by traumatic events which brings unwanted strong negative emotions compelling the recipient to act accordingly. For example, many having gone through the Great Depression became hoarders thereafter. The trauma of not having caused them to be compelled to not give up anything once they did have. My wife's grandmother had cupboards full of butter tubs and meat wrapping papers. During the Great Depression these things were of value, for example, presents would be gift wrapped reusing the same paper the butcher used to package their meat in. However, in recent times, even though she had available actual wrapping paper in her house, she was still compelled to save those things having gone through an era without.

Traumatic events unfortunately can be found in the history of pretty much everyone you meet. Examining the track record of those in my life I have found traits in almost all of them that resemble that of OCD in response to those traumatic events. A parents constant checking on their children to see if they are breathing after their friend's child died of SIDS. Another's need to repeatedly make sure doors and windows are locked after having been the victim of a break-in. Excessive washing of the hands after repeatedly getting ill. The girlfriend constantly making up excuses to call her boyfriend to check up on him after boyfriends have cheated. The man who won't turn the heater up enough to get warm for fear of a house fire.

We don't like being hurt. Whether it's emotionally in a relationship, physically with illnesses, psychologically as with the one who had their house broken into. When we hurt enough we become obsessed about avoiding those hurts and therefore are compelled to take precautions to prevent recurrence. My question then is when do these actions become a disorder? Some online resources recognized these traits in everyone but classified it as a disorder when “these thoughts and behaviors cause tremendous distress, take up a lot of time, and interfere with your daily life and relationships”. In this case they are recognizing everyone has obsessive compulsive behavior but at a certain degree of intensification it becomes a disorder. Perhaps it's more accurate to say everyone to some degree has OCD in them and at higher levels it begins to more negatively impact the person's daily life. Let's examine this with a different perspective.


The Other Side of Our Strengths


Sensitive people respond in much larger ways than those who are insensitive. Passionate people respond in much larger ways than those who are not passionate. The insensitive person hates the idea of someone breaking in and stealing their stuff. The sensitive person can't bear the idea of having to deal with such a violation; the loss of stuff is secondary to that violation. One locks their doors if they remember, the other, because the thought of it is unbearable, repeatedly makes sure their doors are locked. Likewise, the unpassionate person tries to accomplish a task, the passionate person isn't satisfied until the task is done just right. The person who is more sensitive or more passionate invokes an equally greater response to their concerns. The more tender the area the more protective of that area we are.

Is it bad to be sensitive, absolutely not, is it bad to be passionate, nope. Children are sensitive and often passionate and Jesus tells us we are to be like them (Matt. 18:3). He also warns about the opposite, of becoming dull of heart (Isaiah 6:10, Matt. 13:15, Acts 28:27, Romans 2:5). What I am getting at is, since we don't know the full implications and origins of OCD, it's possible that those diagnosed with what the world calls a disorder may actually be blessed with what God see's as a gift, though at times we exorcise it in error? Don't get me wrong, OCD behavior itself may be working against us, but some character traits that have led to negative obsessive compulsive behavior may actually reflect positive, good traits such as sensitivity, zeal, and diligence. A sensitive heart and an analytical mind is good but combined with a reliance on one's own understanding is bad.


For example, I work in the tech industry. I am self taught and good at what I do. Me and my wife started our own business from the ground up in 2009 and it's been quite successful. I don't mean that to be haughty or boastful, in all variables it has been by God's provision and in recognition of James 1:17 all good gifts come from God. But I am what I would call an obsessive variable thinker (OVT, deductive reasoning on steroids); both a strength and potential weakness. I would define an obsessive variable thinker as someone who constantly considers all the variables of every situation at every moment. It's a strength in the tech industry because, unlike many of my contemporaries, my brain encompasses more variables than that commonplace to others and in terms of troubleshooting what's wrong with a computer, network, security system, programming, etc. I can usually catch things that others missed and it's hardly the other way around. Please note, I am not saying this to boast but rather to provide a connection for those who see similar traits in themselves. This "variable thinking" extends well beyond the tech world however and has proven itself as a strength in many areas of my life. In my five years working in law enforcement I excelled in playing detective. I would consider possibilities that many others wouldn't including some of our dear veterans, and in a world where the bad guys are thinking as hard as they can to not get caught, I would often out think those bad guys and play a part in their capture (which I found rewarding). To mention a few other traits where "variable thinking" has proven a strength I'm rarely ever caught off guard and hardly ever surprised (though I love surprises, 1 Cor. 2:9 excites me greatly!). As a 9th grader my teacher each day would post brain teasers or trick questions on the board and I was usually the first to figure them out. Sometimes I would figure them out but keep silent as it made me feel like a jerk. I even remember once keeping silent and my teacher saying to me "haha I finally stumped you" which of course kicked my ego in where I replied, be it a bit smug, with the answer. I'm also the one in the family that people claim can always find the "perfect gift" for others, even those I hardly know. In like fashion I am able to know a lot about a person, who they are, what they are thinking, what they are planning, etc. by very little information through this variable thinking or the power of deduction, thus removing variables and narrowing down the possibilities in each of these cases until I have only those that are most probable or definite left. Because of this, those that are close to me have even shouted "get out of my head" as I know what they are going to say even in circumstances where it seems like I shouldn't. A talent that is continually being refined as I age. This talent combined with the gifts of exhortation and discernment has given me the ability to not only know what's going on in a person's life with little information but has gifted me with the ability to speak life into that person, the ability to both hold accountable (often by the variables it's easy to identify when someone's not being forthright) and make eternal investments into that person; gifts I cherish and am happy to exercise!


Now for the weakness... you know what my wife can do that I hadn't been able to do. She can will to not think of something. Why? Because she doesn't rely on her own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6). I do. Not only am I an OVT (which often is a strength) I'm also one who tends to rely on my own understanding. Being self-reliant I couldn't will to not think of something even though I wanted too (oh how at times I wanted to, in tears I wanted to). Not only could I not do that, I couldn't even relate to her what that's like as I've been an self-reliant OVT as far back as I can remember. On the contrary, if something is big enough to warrant me trying to will to not think about it than I am compelled to think about it even more (Rom. 7:7-8). This in itself is not the weakness, I don't mind thinking about anything at this stage. The weakness is this; what happens to an obsessive variable thinker who relies on their own understanding when he has variables that are difficult to consider that he cannot eliminate? He gets caught in a loop. The weakness enters when an OVT relies on their own understanding. It's no wonder Christian OVT's like myself struggle with weighty matters such as doubting if we are actually saved or if we're one of the "chosen" or question if God is real and actually loves us. Wondering if we committed the unpardonable sin or, if it were somehow possible, out sinned the grace of God. As we've discussed earlier and in previous chapters, we do not have total knowledge and until we see God face to face it will remain this way (1 Cor. 13:12). Because we do not have total knowledge there are some variables that we find difficult to make since of and because of our desire for certainty according to our knowledge (instead of God's Word) before moving on (as is normal for an OVT) we get hung up on them. We have no way to extinguish every possible troublesome variable and because we rely on our own understanding we are unable to move on until we do. One may say we are stuck between a rock and a hard place but considering the variables that often feels like an understatement. A hard place at least offers possibilities and if you, like me, are an OVT you feel seemingly stuck between a rock and a rock. The more important the matter the more we cannot dismiss it until we are certain and have ruled out all variables. When it comes to matters with God there can be no more important matter that excels well beyond our understanding (Rom. 11:33, 1 Cor. 13:12) and so to you and I it's no surprise that it is these things we are hung up on the most. Do you have a hard time making big purchases? Perhaps a car, house, land, etc.? I ask this because these are purchases where it can be difficult to know all the variables and if you're like me, you don't want to make such a commitment until you do (you may have guessed by now I have commitment issues). I mean, when you're purchasing a used car can you really be certain it's in full working order and not on the verge of failure? A normal person may check the Carfax and be satisfied but if you're a self-reliant OVT like myself, that's not enough. You want to take all the hoses off and look inside them for cracks and to smell the remnant of fluid running through them to make sure it smells like it should. Then when you realize you can't rule out all the possible bad variables (after all, you don't know how the previous owner drove it or maintained it and therefore you can't with excessive certainty know it's a safe buy) and you're unable to give your heart the "all clear" you take the safe route and not buy the car at all. (I started buying new cars only and as I would declare "this way I know all wear and tear on it was only from me"). Along this same lines I hate it when people ask me my favorite anything. Don't they know their whimsical question is asking me to consider all possible variables and then develop an all inclusive measuring system that I can then, through exhaustive efforts, eliminate each option one by one until I can commit an accurate answer I'm willing to definitely stand behind?


Security is another tough one. The world is a wicked place and the variables of this world that could mean us harm are unending. Variables we can't control. People who mean us harm, circumstances that could mean us harm (fire, earthquake, car accident), health problems fall in this category. Having worked in law enforcement and then handling alarms and security systems in the I.T. realm I meet people like me. For whatever reason (a violation of security perhaps) has made OVT's like myself who rely on their own understanding get caught in a loop, forever trying to secure themselves (and those they care for) by ruling out bad possible variables and never actually being able to do that (though we don't cease trying do we?). If we're that bad about worldly security it's no wonder we struggle with eternal security. For eternal security is more important and even less in our control (Matt. 19:25-26). While to some degree (though little) we have control over our worldly security (drive a safer car, etc.) our eternal security we have even less control over and no obvious, visible, verifiable way to confirm we have it thereby in our flesh extinguishing all the variables, or in this case, the fiery darts of the evil one (Eph. 6:16). God is actually in control of our eternal security (Matt. 19:25-26, Rom. 9:15) and for some reason we can't get Him to answer our inquiries for Him to give us the "all clears" we are looking for (as if He he were somehow obligated too). God having to answer to us should seem ridiculous to us but we still try don't we? You know what answer I've gotten back. It's the only one I've ever gotten back but because it doesn't allow me to rule out bad variables by my own understanding I don't always accept it, nevertheless it's always true. That answer is this. “My grace is sufficient for you...” (2 Cor. 12:9). I have read this but I've also felt it pressed on my heart and I thank God for that. If God had answered and given me my "all clear" fix I so desperately sought He essentially may have become my drug dealer. Thank God His wisdom transcends mine! It doesn't solve my walking by sight problem (when we should be walking by faith, 2 Cor. 5:7) but it does let me know that God is bigger than my walking by sight problem and His grace even covers that (1 John 3:20, Matt. 14:31). From our point of view we look down at the ravine we've fallen into and we feel isolated, abandoned, and alone. From God's point of view that same ravine is simply a groove, a wrinkle in the palm of His hand. He's got you. His grace is sufficient! By sight, like Peter (Matt. 14:30), from our point of view we are frightened, but God by His point of view, as with Peter (Matt. 14:31) knows He's got you and no created thing (including yourself) will ever snatch you from His hand (Rom. 8:39, John 10:29, 2 Tim. 2:13). And He will bring you home (Phil. 1:6). I thank God that in His grace He would grant you and I to suffer when we rely on our own understanding as that's an unhealthy place to be. Similarly I thank God for the truth of the law that points out our shortcomings so we won't seek to be justified by it no longer but by God's grace where actual justification is found. If you're reading this than it's likely you share in these struggles. If you share in my struggles than you likely welcome the idea that God would grant you such a struggle that would usher you to no longer rely on your own understanding but to truly come to rely on Him that gives "the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension" (Phil. 4:7).


Side note 1: The enemy and OVT. (See also Ch: 4, Spiritual Warfare)

Like any good war strategy, you attack anywhere there's a weakness in the opposition. Consider Satan's attack on both Adam and Even and on Jesus Himself. He started off with Adam and Eve in Gen. 3:1 by saying "indeed, has God said..." and again in Matt. 4:3 to Jesus he started in like fashion when he said "If You are the Son of God...". This apparently was an attack he knew to work well in times past as he tried again in Matt. 4:6. In both cases the devil tempted them to reconsider variables and thereby luring them into walk by sight and not by faith. Eve decided to walk by sight "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes..." (Gen 3:6). Jesus however did not stumble nor even for a second brought into focus what Satan was trying to get Him to look at. If this is the opening attack in each of these scenarios then we shouldn't be surprised that it be used on us too (1 Pet. 4:12, Eph. 6:16).


Side note 2: Damaged emotions and OVT. (See also Ch: 4, Damaged Emotions)

Considering self-reliant OVT what happens when our foundations are shaken or even crumble. It's no wonder the enemy attacks fundamental emotional development in children by producing counterfeit's to Jesus such as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and at older ages false religions and false doctrine. If these rudimentary trust emotions can be damaged it will produce uncertainty throughout the individual's life. At older ages, perhaps because of an inaccurate view of God we trusted Him for something we felt He should do or have done and He didn't. We then begin questioning the foundation of all our beliefs. As an OVT we then add the variable of "how can I be sure" to the list of others and we begin to question and doubt everything we may have once been certain of. I've found myself doubting things that the majority of others accept without question, obvious things that were even ridiculous to me yet I would still doubt them. In terms of my relationship with God it got to the point that I felt if Jesus appeared right in front of me through many miracles only He could do I would still doubt Him. The apostles actually struggled with this too. In Luke 24:36-41 Shortly after his crucifixion Jesus appeared to the Apostles which having witnessed Him being crucified in and of itself is amazing, but He proceeded to show them the piercing in His hands and His feet but they still wouldn't believe? Why? Because they were afraid too. Keep in mind they believed Jesus would remain with them on earth (Matt. 16:22, John 6:15) so their inaccurate view and what they trusted God to do (keep in mind it was them in error) was crushed when Jesus was crucified. Now He's back! And that excites them but they are reserved, afraid to believe. Likely because of fear of being crushed again. Notice verse 40 and 41a which states "And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement..." (emphasis mine). If you read on, you will see, God's faithfulness to them was unwavering at this. Likewise His faithfulness is unwavering to you (2 Tim. 2:13).


OCD and the Secluded Stronghold of Doubt


OVT like I described above becomes OCD when you act on behalf of your OVT's in a way that negatively affects your daily life. It is at this point the world defines it as a disorder. Regardless of the proper labeling of OCD or finding out it's actual origin the truth of the matter is, some of us have OVT/OCD and it's causing us grief. In regards to Christians struggling with doubts, below are some additional questions to help you determine if your doubts stem from OVT/OCD.

  1. Are your doubts obsessive? In other words, are they difficult to stop even when you have reasonable answers to your questions?

  2. Do you doubt your salvation?

  3. Have you been, or are you overly concerned about having committed the "unpardonable sin"?

  4. Are you wanting to believe with all your heart, yet unable to stop doubting the very thing you desire so much to believe?

  5. Have you considered, or are you afraid you might be demon-possessed?

  6. Do your doubts center on unanswerable questions? Questions that cannot be absolutely proven by you? I.E. Why does God allow suffering, Why did God create man if He knew he would sin? etc...

  7. Do you have overwhelming amounts of fear, anxiety, and guilt?

  8. Do you feel helpless? Like you've tried everything to stop your doubts and found nothing has worked?

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions then there is a good chance your doubts are OCD related. That does not mean there aren't other issues involved, often OCD can go hand-in-hand with damaged emotions. As we discussed, traumatic events are often the catalyst sparking OCD and I'm sure attacks from the enemy aim to keep those fires going. If you do or think any of these things please know that you are not alone.

One source showed 3% of the U.S. Population was diagnosed with OCD. 3% is actually a lot. That would equal millions of U.S. Citizens. On the flip side however, 3% in our church does not seem so big as it's only 3 people for every 100 members. Because of this a Christian struggling with OCD feels isolated since being a Christian already separates them from the world and among the remaining Christians in their life only 3% may be able to relate to what they are going through.


OCD is Damage in the Old Self, Your New Self is Untouched!

One thing we know is that OCD does not reside in a persons spirit but it resides in their flesh. The damage is done to the Limbic system which as I've stated is often referred to as the heart or flesh in scripture. Paul himself writes this:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. - 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV).


Our spirits are sound (2 Cor. 5:17, Col. 2:10), it's our flesh that is raging, not necessarily flesh in that there is a chemical imbalance though it may be but flesh as seen from a spiritual point of view. Flesh where sin resides (Rom. 7:17-18). Flesh where we do not have all knowledge (1 Cor. 13:12). Flesh where we walk by sight (2 Cor. 5:7, Matt. 14:30). Flesh where a thorn can be given (2 Cor. 12:7).


I can't help but wonder if Paul may have had OCD. Paul's discourse regarding a thorn in the flesh shared many similarities to how Christians with OCD describe what they have or are going through. Let's take a new look at 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.


Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


A thorn in the flesh which the writer elaborates as a “messenger of Satan to torment me” (v. 7). We do not have any additional information on specifics so I will not claim for certain that Paul's condition was OCD. I will say though that many Christians who've been haunted by doubts and fears stemming from OCD would agree that it feels like they are being tormented by messages from Satan. Paul too spoke of being in weakness, fear, and much trembling (1 Cor. 2:3). From these verses we do know that the thorn was in his flesh and we know that Satan played a part in fueling the torment that came via his messenger. We know that this made Paul weak. It, however, did not make Christ in Him weak, on the contrary, when Paul was weak then he was (actually) strong (v. 10). Also notice it served a Godly purpose, in this case it was to keep Paul from exalting himself because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations given him (v. 7).


Many notable Christians through time have struggled with battles resembling OCD. These same individuals however went on to be strong in Christ. In reading up on each individual I saw a common pattern of them struggling with debilitating thoughts until they were brought to a point of futility, defeated and for the first time experience what Paul wrote about in 2 Cor. 1:8-9 in not trusting ourselves; they were brought to a realization that resulted in them no longer relying on their own understanding but transferred the responsibility for the "all clear" messages to come from God. While OCD for them was agonizing, that battle also played a pivotal role in them recognizing it's futility and in their heart finally releasing that responsibility and transferring their hearts trust which previously relied on their finite understanding over to God who is infinite and good. I pray your battle (and mine) won't let up until God accomplishes His desire for you as He promised (Rom. 8:28, Phil. 1:6), even if it takes what He put His disciples through (2 Cor. 1:8-9).

Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), wrote that often when contemplating the wrath of God he would repeatedly mingle with his prayers and went on to claim. “That these terrors he experienced either for the first time, or in the most acute manner, during the year in which he was deprived of a favourite friend, who lost his life by some accident of which I am ignorant.”

John Bunyan (1628-1688), famous for his book 'Pilgrim's Progress' is also to believed to have suffered with OCD. In his autobiographical book 'Grace abounding to the chief of sinners' published in 1666 he wrote the following:

For about the space of a month after, a very great storm came down upon me, which handled me twenty times worse than all I had met with before; it came stealing upon me, now by one piece, then by another; first, all my comfort was taken from me, then darkness seized upon me, after which whole floods of blasphemies, both against God, Christ, and the Scriptures, were poured upon my spirit, to my great confusion and astonishment. These blasphemous thoughts were such as also stirred up questions in me, against the very being of God, and of His only beloved Son; as whether there were, in truth, a God, or Christ, or no? And whether the Holy Scriptures were not rather a fable, and cunning story, than the holy and pure Word of God?

In Bunyan's time it wasn't called OCD but his mental struggles were spot on to what OCD is known as now. These agonizing mental battles were very intense and went on for years. The things that he learned as a result of this experience gave him a wonderful understanding of the grace of God and in turn was used by God to mold him into a preacher shepherding people to Christ.

Charles Spurgeon in his book 'All of Grace' wrote:

I have heard another say, "I am tormented with horrible thoughts. Wherever I go, blasphemies steal in upon me. Frequently at my work a dreadful suggestion forces itself upon me, and even on my bed I am startled from my sleep by whispers of the evil one. I cannot get away from this horrible temptation." Friend, I know what you mean, for I have myself been hunted by this wolf. A man might as well hope to fight a swarm of flies with a sword as to master his own thoughts when they are set on by the devil. A poor tempted soul, assailed by satanic suggestions, is like a traveler I have read of, about whose head and ears and whole body there came a swarm of angry bees. He could not keep them off nor escape from them. They stung him everywhere and threatened to be the death of him. I do not wonder you feel that you are without strength to stop these hideous and abominable thoughts which Satan pours into your soul; but yet I would remind you of the Scripture before us - "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

It is quite difficult for anyone not having gone through this to understand the agony of this experience. Doubting the goodness of people and even your parents is one thing. But the believer is having all they hold deer attacked by themselves. It's an inner turmoil that is raging heavier than any external battle, and yet they have hardly anything to show for it (outwardly) as OCD episodes are always a battle that takes place in the mind only. OCD sufferers would never purposely carry out any of the terrible thoughts that occur during an OCD episode.

As someone's words extended their heart to me, I also extend my heart to you. I've prayed for you even before you read this. I know all to well that no measure of legalism or "thinking right" will work. Intellectually deciding to be done with it and move on is as ineffective as it is impossible. These self made religious efforts are useless against our flesh. As Colossians 2:23 states:

These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. - Colossians 2:23

God has every hair on your head numbered (Matt. 10:30). Your bout with OCD has not escaped His notice (Matt. 10:29). On the contrary, He knows exactly what He is doing. In reading through accounts of notable Christians with OCD I found that through their OCD many of them were also credited with having a strong grasp on scripture and God's grace which was later used as necessary tools in their ministries.

When I was young, quite young, it's actually one of my earliest vivid memories. It's not hard to remember though as the emotional turmoil surrounding this internal battle was the first time I had ever felt such distress. My brother who is quite intelligent had a way of manipulating things to his benefit. (Unfortunately this was a trait that I would learn well later). One instance of these manipulations resulted in me being the victim. I didn't know it at first, but I figured it out later. I felt so wronged. Funny thing is I don't remember what he did; I'm sure it was trivial. But to a child in their single digits it was an outrage landing me as the victim. What I do remember clearly is what transpired after that. Not with my brother as some outward battle, but what happened inward as a battle in the mind. I became obsessive not with the idea of revenge, but in not being a victim ever again. In that effort to not once again be schemed by my brother I began to think about all the schemes my brother has done as to learn his tactics and then calculate all the future schemes that I could possibly foresee.

This is where OCD kicked in. The thoughts of all the horrible things my brother could be capable of became blown way out of proportion. I had repeated thoughts beyond him doing things like scheming me out of the last of the Oreo's or tricking me into thinking the doctor was going to torture me when I went in for appointments. My thoughts now were bombarded with the idea that he was not only going to manipulate the family under his control, parents included, but if he wasn't stopped he would eventually take over the world. Putting it in writing right now is making me chuckle, but I was not chuckling then. I remember being full of anxiety like I had never felt and running to my mom in her bedroom jumping on her waterbed trying my absolute best to convince her of what I had just figured out...my brothers conquest for world domination.

My mother is a very loving mother. She tried to convince me that I was in error but no amount of reasoning or rational thinking could douse the thoughts of all the horrible things I pictured him planning. Fortunately I also had ADD at the time and my focus was redirected to something else a short time after taking my mind off of my brother's plan to conquer the world. Once my mind became preoccupied with something else the obsessive thoughts were disarmed. It wasn't that I forgot, after all it was traumatizing enough that I still remember it. But once I moved on and didn't give my obsessive thoughts the attention they demanded, they stopped.

I've now learned that same basic principle applies in disarming the obsessive thoughts. Obsessive thoughts lose their power if you don't obsess about them. In my case with my brother I simply became preoccupied with something else and those obsessive thoughts were put out by me not fueling them. Today the same principle applies in renewing the mind, in reprogramming the Limbic system. Rather than trying to fight fire with fire, I...don't bother to do anything. I recognize it's not a real fire; that it's not a real threat, that it's not me but rather my flesh and I give it no regard. It's not that they don't stop coming, but by recognizing that it's an obsessive thought not from me but from my flesh they lose their power. Then forces my mind to build new synaptic pathways and my mind literally and physically reprograms (with modern scientific advancements synaptic pathways can not only be observed but even people in their later years have been observed building new synaptic pathways. I guess we're only stuck in our ways as long as we choose to keep taking the same familiar synaptic highway.

Your OCD is not you it's your OCD. You do not need to disarm it, that's already been done by Christ. (Col. 2:15, Rom. 7:24-25) You simply need to recognize it for what it is, that is is not part of us, that it's not our actual character (2 Cor. 5:17, Rom. 7:20) but rather it's a screaming, dying part of our flesh demanding our attention but with no authority to back those demands up.

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; - Romans 6:6

The demands come but having no authority we can ignore them. I am speaking in regard to the attacks taking place on the battlefield of our mind. With OCD we are deceived that we are in some sort of tug-of-war in this battle, gaining and losing ground as the battle goes. What you fail to realize is this is a battle that takes place in the flesh, this battle has already been won and you have been removed from that battleground altogether. God knows this, when He made provisions for us it included separating us from our flesh (Rom. 7:24, 2 Cor. 5:17). We, in relying on our own understanding may fail to see this.


When we rely on our own understanding it may hinder or even disable our daily walk with God, it may even rob us of seeing our victory in Jesus. It does NOT however alter the fact that we do indeed have victory in Jesus. We belong to Christ. Therefore, since this is true, let us also be captive not to our own understanding but let's be deliberate to be courageous after God, taking Him at His Word because He cares for you! (1 Pet. 5:7)


Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.
 - Proverbs 3:5-8


A wonderful additional resource in dealing with OCD and Scrupulosity that I found to be spot on in my studies are these coping statements linked below. I don't know much about the organization/ministry but I wholeheartedly reaffirm these coping statements:




Join our mailing list! Regularly I send out emails encouraging fellow sufferers. If you'd like to be on that list drop me a line!


If this resonated with you here are some other related articles that you may find applicable:


Did the Apostle Paul Struggle With OCD?

As Long as Your Quest Is for Certainty, You'll Never Arrive There

Stop Looking Inwardly to Determine if You're Saved

God isn't Looking to Disqualify You Based on a Technicality

You Can Teach the Brain but You Train the Heart

Even If Your Heart Condemns You



Book Studies

Theological Studies

Study Series

The Gospel of Salvation



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Have some feedback, insight, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc? Maybe you just want to share what God is doing in your life (I love praise reports), or maybe you can relate to some of the things here and need an ear. I'd love to hear from you!