I am currently at Carleton College for a week long intense training for work. I am attending a course that is scientifically based in Positive Psychology. Positive psychology has been around for a couple of decades but has been gaining tracking over the last few years. Think of it as preventative treatment for our emotional and mental well-being similar to preventative care we practice for our physical health.
I find the subject fascinating. Partly because my undergraduate degree is in psychology and it is fun to be back in a learning environment using my degree. Even more exciting to me is the fact that science is catching up to, or I suppose you could say supporting and confirming, what the Bible says.
For example, research has determined that their are 24 character strengths. Some of these strengths are creativity, bravery, perseverance, love, fairness, teamwork,humility, etc. We all have these strengths, but we do not all have them in equal amounts. There are tests we can take that rank our strengths in order from our strongest to our weakest.
Here’s the part that I get excited about. According to research there are five strengths that are directly related to satisfaction with life. They are love, hope, curiosity, zest, and gratitude! When they said this I thought “Duh- Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love- and the greatest of these is love.” Science got two out of the three right!
Science still has a ways to catch up with God’s Word. It doesn’t quite understand that the highest satisfaction in life comes when we fully understand just how much God loves us. It is not about how well we love others (though that does improve our well being). It is not about being “in-love” (though that is definitely a wonderful feeling and emotion). It is not about self-love (though it is difficult to be in a loving relationship if you do not love yourself first).
All of the ways we get to love and be loved pale in comparison to the love God has for us. The more we understand just how much He loves us, the more able we are to give and receive love to ourselves and to others. It is the foundation of love, it will bring us satisfaction in life, and it truly is the greatest.
I know I usually end with a prayer but no one has a better prayer for this moment than Paul. It is from Ephesians 3:18-19.
I pray to the Father that you may have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life (satisfaction) and power that comes from God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love, Grace, and Scientific Faith,