Q: What are your thoughts about hypnosis and weight loss? I have several Christian friends using it and I have always thought of it as something to stay away from.
The Bible says nothing about hypnosis directly but that doesn't mean it has nothing to say on the subject. Here are the reasons I believe hypnosis is a really bad idea.
1. To whom are you yielded?
Let's face it, hypnosis is all about the power of suggestion—and we all know how life-altering suggestion can be, even if we've never experienced hypnosis. In a hypnotic session you must willingly yield yourself to the suggestive influence of another human being. That alone ought to raise some red flags since believers are told over and over in God's Word to submit themselves to God. (James 4:7) In fact, our ultimate goal is to be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that our hearts, minds and bodies are submitted to God and God alone.
2. In whom are you depending?
People turn to hypnosis because there's power in suggestion. But it doesn't begin to compare to the power of God in the life of a believer. The Apostle Paul spoke of knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10) as the passion of his life. Do Christians today know anything of that power? If we did, would we be turning to lesser powers like hypnotism?
3. What exactly are you battling?
People turn to hypnosis in order to gain control...but over what? Is it not the the flesh people are wanting to conquer? As believers, we need to understand that any controlling aspect of the flesh in our lives really needs to be seen as sin. And sin should only bring about one response from us—the cross of Christ where we come to die to the power of self. Paul wrote: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God..." (Galatians 2:20 ESV) This is the secret of the believer's freedom from the tyranny of the flesh and Paul declares it boldly in Romans chapter six, saying, "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin." (Romans 6:6-7 ESV). Let's face it, believers are turning to things like hypnosis because they have no working understanding of the victory we can have over the flesh when we die to self.
4. Hypnosis sets a precedent of self-focused problem-solving.
You got a problem? What do you do? If you're like most Christians you pray about it, then you get up and solve it yourself. Hypnosis is just another way of depending on myself to solve my own problems. In his amazing autobiography George Mueller warns against any attempt of our part to work our own deliverance. To do so is definitely not trusting the Lord with all of our heart, as we are encouraged to do. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us that self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit whom we have been freely given in Christ. As we follow the leading of God's Spirit, He promises to enable is to live our lives in a manner that brings Him glory. If there is an area of your life that is not bringing glory to God, the answer is to rely on the power our Lord has already given to meet that challenge.
Michael Houdmann writes, Hypnotism is often promoted as a simple way of “refocusing” ourselves and finding the answer within us. But as believers in Christ, our focus is to be on our Savior, not on ourselves or anything else. We know that the answers do not lie within us; the solution we need is found in Christ.
I couldn't agree more.