Encouraging Bible Verses For Mental Illness
God can use a persons mental illness for His glory. The Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon struggled with depression. However, he was mightily used by God and he is considered one of the greatest preachers of all-time. The wars that we face today should drive us to Christ in reliance upon His grace.
When we allow our battles to drive us to Christ we begin to encounter and experience Him in a way that weve never done before. The immeasurable irrevocable love of God becomes an even greater reality. Jesus cares about all aspects of our heath whether physical, spiritual, or mental. Not only did Christ heal broken bodies, but He also healed minds. We tend to forget this. Mental health is important to God and the church should grow in compassion, understanding, education, and support of this issue. Healing comes in various forms, but usually happens over time.
However, for those struggling with this I encourage you to persevere. I encourage you to be vulnerable before the Lord daily because He is near. I encourage you to get plugged into a strong community of believers and get trusted Christian accountability partners. Lastly, continue to look to the splendor of Christ and remember this. In this world we live in imperfect bodies. However, we are reminded in Romans 8:23 to joyfully wait for the day when Christ will return and we will receive our new, redeemed, resurrection bodies.
23. Psalm 118:5 In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered and set me free.
What Is Mental Illness
Mental illness means that a common struggle has crossed a threshold and become “clinically significant.” The term is an assessment that outside help is needed that the passing of time and continuing in the same life pattern will not result in the desired relief from these struggles. Mental illness may have its cause in the physical body , environmental causes , personal choices , or a combination of these causes.*
Your Friends And Family Can Help You
When I was at one of my really low points of depression, I remember a friend telling me that she and another friend were going to come over and clean my apartment. I was hesitant but reluctantly agreed. She knew that I should not be isolating myself and that the chaos around me was not helping my mental health.
Even after they left, the clean, organized space was a reminder that there were people who loved me and cared for me. When my depression tried to tell me I was alone and unloved, there was a physical reminder that that was not true.
If friends send you cards or pictures, hang them in places you can see them so they can be physical reminders of the people who love you.
People often feel at a loss to know how they can support loved ones with depression. One thing anyone can do is pray. Ask friends and family members to pray for God to give you hope and wisdom as you seek treatment and healing. While prayer alone usually is not enough to end someones depression, prayer is still powerful and important. God hears and cares.
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We Are Promised Hope And A Savior
by Sam Williams on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 7:01 PM
As believers, we are never promised a painless, disease-free life. But we are promised hope and a Savior.
Confusion and frustration can grow out of the chorus of voices in the public square from people who claim to understand depression. Neuroscience and psychology offer many theories. Unfortunately, not all of them are based on facts and others are void of faith.
Depression is not simply a medical problem or a mental problem, depression often is a being human problem.
While medical and emotional problems can and often do contribute to depression, for others, this illness has very significant spiritual components.
David Was Troubled And Battled Deep Despair
In many of the Psalms, he writes of his anguish, loneliness, fear of the enemy, his heart-cry over sin, and the guilt he struggled with because of it. We also see his huge grief in the loss of his sons in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 and 2 Samuel 12:18-33. In other places, Davids honesty with his own weaknesses gives hope to us who struggle today:
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Ps. 38:4
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.Ps. 42:11
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Does The Bible Have The Answers
Many people wonder if the Bible even addresses the struggle of depression because the word depression doesnt appear in Scripture. However, its important to know the major factors that lead to or increase depression. For example, feelings of depression are most often a result of emotional stress.
Here are some emotionalstressors that multiply feelings of depression:
- Guilt and Shame
- Broken Relationships
Recent studies of individuals battling depression have identified these emotional stressors that multiply the feelings of depression and trigger waves of depressed feelings.
We cannot effectively deal with depression without evaluating our responses to the difficult circumstances and emotional stressors of our life. The Bible provides much guidance on how to respond better.
In order to reduce feelings of depression, we have to learn how to respond to emotional stressors.
Everyone has emotional stressors. Each person has stressors that hurt them and distract them from living a full life as God offers. At BCC, we often say that depression begins with disappointment. Our emotional stressors are often rooted in a deep feeling of disappointment regarding something we had and lost or about something we have longed for and never received. Depression is a progression, which left unchecked can go deeper and deeper. The following chart illustrates how this often happens:
Lie: Bible Verses About Anxiety Are There To Shame People Who Struggle
The Bible does talk a lot about worrying and sadness. A Bible app search on verses about worry brings up dozens of verses telling us not to worry: Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, Matthew 6:26 do not worry about your life, 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, and so on.
There are mentions of hopelessness, sadness, and anxiety all over the Old Testament and New Testament.
However, I dont believe all this talk about anxiety and depression is meant to shame us. To me, it shows us how truly normal it is. Over 2,000 years ago, people from all over the world and a variety of faith backgrounds were struggling with it, too!
The Bible, in all those verses pertaining to mental health, tells us to change our thoughts and actions, too. Lets take Philippians 4:6-7 for example. It says Do not be anxious about anything , but in every situation, by prayer and petition , with thanksgiving , present your requests to God . The next verse mentions the result that follows: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Verse 6 tells us what we are supposed to do and then verse 7 tells us the outcome.
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Bible Verses About Fear
Say to those with fearful hearts, Be strong, do not fear your God will come, he will come with vengeance with divine retribution, he will come to save you. Isaiah 35:4
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
Misconception: You Can Always Tell If Someones Depressed By Outward Appearances Or Actions
Reality: You cannot always tell that someone is depressed from how they look or act.
Many people with depression are so skilled at hiding their condition that you would never know from the outside.
I have heard people say something along the lines of, But you do not look depressed. Im not sure what exactly people think depression should look like, but depression can look a lot of different ways.
You can wish you no longer existed but look fine to the people around you. This is especially true for someone struggling with bipolar disorder, which includes high moods, called manic episodes, alternating with deep, severe depression.
Sadly, Ive had a friend and a teacher who suffered from bipolar disorder die from suicide. Both were very outgoing and fun to be around much of the time. I remember meeting so many people at their funerals who were stunned and confused. I heard comments like, Hes the last person I would ever have guessed would be suicidal, or, But he was always so happy.
You cannot assume someone is okay based on external appearances.
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Stage: : Discontentment Can Lead To Despair
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed perplexed, but not driven to despair persecuted, but not forsaken struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:89
Responding poorly to lifes circumstances can bring us to a point of despair where we question why God has allowed these difficult circumstances and seemingly is not changing them. Throughout Scripture we see Gods people come to a point of despair wondering if He is there and if He cares. When we are struggling with depression we are usually asking why these circumstances are in our life.
Consider the words of David:
You know my reproach,and my shame and my dishonor my foes are all known to you.Reproaches have broken my heart,so that I am in despair.I looked for pity, but there was none,and for comforters, but I found none.
In our deep-seated discontentment, we look for comforters. Ultimately, God allows the discomforts of this world to remind us to come to him for comfort. However, we often turn to relationships, substances, food, sex, and entertainment for comfort. When those things dont satisfy, we go deeper into despair. We are searching for comfort and we not finding it.
In this stage, you may start struggling to do things that you want to do. At times even getting out of bed, brushing our hair, and performing basic necessities seem to difficult. Meeting a friend or going to church seems impossible and pointless. These are the lies of depression when despair sets in.
Job Suffered Through Great Loss Devastation And Physical Illness
This righteous man of God lost literally everything. So great was his suffering and tragedy that even his own wife said, Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!Job 2:9
Though Job maintained his faithfulness to God throughout his life, he still struggled deeply through the trenches of pain:
Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?Job 3:11
I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil.Job 3:26
I loathe my very life, therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. Job 10:1
Terrors overwhelm memy life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones, my gnawing pains never rest. Job 30:15-17
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How Do We Respond
Mental illness can affect any of us. Whether a pastor, Sunday school teacher, or faithful churchgoer, the suspected struggle of mental illness should not be a source of shame or be kept hidden. The Church should be a place of safety and community, where those who are struggling can be honest, ask people to rally around them in prayer, and be assisted in seeking professional help.
When we encounter people who suffer with mental illness, we should be hesitant to provide our opinion on what the source is or how it should be solved. This issue and human beings are complex. Heath Lambert said it best: Caring for people means being alert to physical problems that require medical treatments and spiritual problems that require Christ and his Word.
Most of us are not mental health experts, so we should stick to what we do know: God is good, loves us, and does not forsake his people. Pray with those who are struggling within your church. Treat them as fellow image-bearers. Encourage them to seek professional and medical help, if need be. Be available. Walk with them, shouldering one anothers burdens in order to fulfill the law of Christ . Only then will we love as Christ loved and care well for those who are hurting.
What Causes Anxiety And Depression
According to the academic literature, there are multiple factors that can contribute to depression and anxiety. In general, for depression, they are categorized as genetic factors, biological factors, environmental factors, and psychological factors. Anxiety is mainly attributed to genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors are inherited traits from family, biological factors are things like brain structure or chemical imbalances in the body, environmental factors are those such as changing life circumstances and relationships or traumas, and psychological factors are things such as self-perception.
As Christians, though, we also recognize the existence of the spiritual. We live in a fallen world ruled by Satan and his demons . All men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . Creation itself, including our bodies, is fallen and imperfect . Therefore, we should understand that from a Biblical perspective, anxiety and depression could have origins in demonic oppression, from sin in our own lives or from the lives of others , as well as physical origins in our fallen bodies .
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The Lord Is Your Shield
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head .
God is your shield when you are weak, helpless, and hopeless. He is standing over you, guarding you, protecting you, keeping watch over you. Even though you are broken by depression, the almighty God is your shield.
He will lift your head out of the dirt and set you on your feet again. He will move you to sweet places and green pastures. You can trust HIS sustaining, protecting power even though you have no strength in yourself.
Nutrition For Mental Health
The effects of poor nutrition on physical health are well established, but did you know what you eat can also affect your brain? Missing key nutrients can even contribute to such degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers! If you are trying to improve your health without drugs, good nutritional advice may begin to sound very familiara plant-based diet, more raw veggies, only very clean grass-fed meat when you indulge, eliminate PUFAs.
There is a good reason for thisits great for your health inside and out! Remember when we answer the question what does the Bible say about depression that God gave us His creation to help us live healthy and abundant lives.
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What Does The Bible Say About Treating Depression
But, as with all the problems people face, there is one thing we are supposed to do with them: bring them to God.
Jesus acknowledged the weight of our troubles, whether physical or emotional, promising,Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light .
Hope does lie in God, as the psalmist writes , but its important to understand that just because we put our hope and faith in God doesnt mean our problem will go away. Like cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, sometimes well have it the rest of our earthly life.
The apostle Paul struggled with what he called a thorn in the flesh, a physical ailment that caused him much torment . He begged for God to take it away, but God told him no, that Gods power was able to shine more brightly in Pauls weakness . As he wrote about the same time in his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul discovered what was, for him, the secret to contentment: focusing on the Lord and drawing our strength from Him .
And to his young friend and mentee Timothy, whom Paul knew struggled with frequent illnesses, stomach issues, and other hardships, Paul offered some encouraging words: Flee from evil, fight the good fight, take hold of eternal life .