Defeating Fear And Mental Illness
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
If you want to overcome mental illness, God is ready to give you the benefits that come out of relationship and fellowship with the Godhead. The power being the Holy Spirit, the Love coming from relationship with the Father, and the sound mind coming out of renewing our minds with the washing of the water of the Word of God.
Jesus Is Our Example Of How To Fight The Good Fight Vs More Works To Prove His Faith
When the devil approached Jesus in the wilderness, he tried to tempt Jesus by questioning His identity in relation to his pain. If you notice, the questions were related to testing Jesus identity in order to create fear, tempting Him to prove Himself and even give up His identity for earthly glories.
The devil tempted Jesus by saying,
If you are the Son of God, then .
Jesus “fought the good fight” by resting in the Truth of who He was and His secure relationship with the Father, not by testing or proving it with works.
Jesus responded with the Truth,
It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test” .
Interestingly, Jesus didn’t do anything except stand in the Truth. In other words, Jesus rested securely in the true focus of who He is, His secure relationship IN THE Father, and His focus on earth was for us . Thus, Jesus endured the wilderness with intimate security, not a formula of a distant God.
As a result, the devil departed and Jesus returned from the wilderness in great power .
Maybe you will return from the wilderness in great power, too!
What Stories Show Strong Emotions In The Bible
You dont have to look far in the Bible to see countless examples of people letting strong emotions lead them down certain paths, good and bad. Take, for example, Adam and Eve. Eves desire to be like God led her, and eventually Adam as well, to make a choice. That choice led to their removal from Eden and also brought sin into the world. This decision was only rectified through Jesuss sacrifice.
Their sons, Cain and Abel, also experienced strong emotions. Cains jealousy over Gods favor towards Abels true sacrifice led Cain to murder Abel in calculated anger.
King Davids lust for the beautiful Bathsheba caused not only an innocent man to die but for their first child to succumb to death. It wasnt until King David realized how he had displeased God with his selfish actions that he truly began to be a man after Gods own heart.
There are also stories of strong emotions that led to life-changing decisions for the better. Mordecais public display of grief over the plight of his people and Esthers courage to tell the king Hamans murderous plot exemplify using strong emotions like passion and anger to do goodwill for others.
Jesuss anger was displayed when he overturned the tables of those profiting at the temple. This showed those around him that the temple was a place of prayer, not of money-making.
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Fight From Secure Rest Vs Fighting To Achieve More Freedom
The context of this scripture is not a position of a mental or emotional failure or because you are weak.
Instead,the apostle Paul is reminding us of our permanent security, not letting the world around us interpret who we are who were not and trying to follow those patterns – formulas.
Paul is basically saying,
Sauls Open Door To Mental Illness
As a result, God removed the kingdom from Saul and His Holy Spirit left Saul, giving place to an evil, tormenting spirit. Take note that the following scripture is another place where it says that an evil spirit from the LORD troubled Saul. But we know that evil cannot come from God according to James 1:13.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. James 1:13 KJV
So we know that the evil tormenting spirit that joined Saul came from the enemy, by permission, because of Sauls rebellion against God.
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An Open Door In Jobs Life
The book of Job is a great example of the enemy having access to us by permission, yet also Gods restrictions on the power of the enemy in our lives. At the beginning of the book, God and Satan are talking about Job. Job is upright in all he does but Satan sees a weakness and accuses Job to God saying that Job is only faithful to God because everything has come easily for him.
The weakness that Satan thinks he can exploit is Jobs fear about the unrighteousness of his children and his obsessive efforts to cover them in their sin. Job 1:5 says he did this continually this was an ongoing fear issue for him. So with His heart and actions Job served God but there was an open door to the enemys kingdom in his life which was fear.
Can You Be A Christian And Seek A Counselor
God created the entirety of manbody, soul, spirit, and mind. Each of those parts is designed to operate and function as a whole. None of us balks at the idea of providing our bodies with nourishment, rest, or exercise. Or, if we get sick, we do not refuse medical care.
We should give the same regard to the care of our spirit, soul, and mind. While they are not physical, each impacts our physical well-being as well as our relationships with God, family, and friends. Seeking a counselor when our mental health is tenuous is like providing the nourishment, rest, and exercise we need to a part of us that needs support.
Seeking a Bible-believing counselor who asks hard questions such as, What does the Bible say about mental illness? is something for which one should be congratulated. The enemy will try to convince you there is no hope or that seeing a counselor is pointless, but I can tell you from personal experience that those are untruths.
Christians are not superhuman. We are believers because we recognize our own fallibility and, in situations concerning mental illness, those of us who struggle merely need the support of a licensed professional for a period of time.
When you are looking for a counselor, I recommend you interview a few candidates and have a few questions prepared in advance. With whom do you feel most comfortable? Do you prefer working with a male or female? Would you like your counselor to open and close in prayer?
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The Power Of Worshiping God
This scripture reveals something amazing about the power of worshiping God in order to defeat the works of evil spirits in our lives and the effects of mental illness. When David played the harp, the evil spirit could not stand in the presence of adoration and worship towards God. But as soon as he stopped, the tormenting spirit could return and be at peace.
Why didnt it leave altogether? Because Saul remained unrepentant, he still refused to turn his heart back towards God. He was content with a temporary fix but not interested in the real solution to his problem.
Recovering From Mental Illness
Now that we understand what the root issue is behind mental illness, and have a Biblical understanding of where mental illness comes from, lets move on to how we can be recovered.
Even from the Old Testament, the prophet, Isaiah, spoke of the hope for recovery that Jesus would bring to us.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all that mourn To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV
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A Biblical Understanding Of Mental Health And The Church
[Editors Note: Everyone has mental health experiences on the spectrum between thriving and struggling. Perhaps you are in a season where you need extra mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical support. In this #mentalhealth series, we want to balance personal experience/story with input from mental health and medical professionals. We want to also explore, How does our faith in Jesus relate to our mental health? Our desire is to support you as you work towards mental well-being.
If you are considering hurting yourself or someone else, or you know someone who is, please contact a mental health emergency hotline. If you need urgent counselling support, Kids Help Phone is also available for young adults up to age 29 for phone calls, Facebook Messenger, or texting conversations.
Today were connecting with Mike Mileski. Mike is living his best life in downtown Hamilton with his wife Heather and their three young kids. He pastors Benediction Church, reads comics, and collects action figures. A staff member of Power to Change Students recorded this interview.]
P2C-Students: What do you think are some significant misunderstandings about mental health that are common in the church?
Mike Mileski: I do think its possible to underestimate the impact of poor mental health, but its also possible to overestimate it as well. I can flesh those ideas out a bit.
Underestimating the impact of mental and emotional illness is really, really dangerous.
How To Increase Your Healthy Thinking
The anatomy and physiology of your big brain means that it is independently and spontaneously generating thoughts all the time. Thats simply what it does and is supposed to do. I once had a patient who accurately and succinctly described his brain as secreting thoughts. What those thoughts arethe content of what pops out of your brainis outside of your conscious choice or control, perhaps even your awareness.
However, this is vital to realize: you most certainly have an impact on what happens to those thoughts after they pop in. Therein lies your power. But the other side of the double-edged sword may appear, and you fail to use your power to intervene. If youre going to feel differently, you must think differently.
In the absence of an intentional effort to change, your brain tends to develop patterns of thought or belief systems that become ingrained or automatic. You tend to continue to think the way that lifeevents, circumstances, and teacherstaught you to think. You get stuck in what might be called thinking habits and tend to accept them without question .
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Stories Of Mental Illness In The Bible
Since the fall of man, people have struggled with mental illness. The Bible is full of examples of those who exhibited symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other types of mental illness. Besides those mentioned above, others include:
Elijah: Queen Jezebel declared a bounty on Elijah for having killed the prophets of Baal. Fearful, Elijah fled and cried out to God, I have had enough, Lord, he said. Take my life I am no better than my ancestors . Elijah remained in this distraught condition for 40 days and nightsdepressed and unable to meet his basic personal needs.
David: The man after Gods own heart dealt with being treated as the least of his fathers sons, was threatened by the king to whom hed been loyal, and then betrayed by his own son. David recorded many songs of lament that reflect his pain and depression including Psalm 6:6-7 , I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow they fail because of all my foes.
Overwhelmed by the demands as hostess, Martha grew angry toward her sister who perched at the feet of Christ instead of helping to prepare a meal for the guests. Frustrated, Martha finally approached Jesus. Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me. The Lord answered her: Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things, when only one thing is necessary .
What Does The Bible Say About Mental Health
The mental health topic is a challenging topic to discuss because of the millions of lives that are affected by mental illnesses every year. NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, reported that in the United States over 46 million people are plagued by mental illnesses each year. This is 1 out of 5 adults.
Additionally, NAMI also reported that 1 out of 25 adults in the U.S. suffer from serious mental illnesses. This costs America over $190 billion in lost earnings per year. These are staggering numbers. However, the statistics are even more distressing than you might think. NAMI reported that mental health disorders are seen in over 90% of all deaths by suicide. In 2015 Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Robin E. McGee, and Benjamin G. Druss conducted a study that was published on JAMA Psychiatry.
This study revealed that roughly 8 million deaths each year are linked to mental health conditions. What does the Bible say about mental health? How should we treat Christians struggling with mental health disorders? My goal is to assist those who are battling these issues by proposing helpful, biblical, and practical solutions.
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Showing Compassion For Mental Health Struggles
Just as we have compassion on those who are physically ill, we must also have compassion on those who are mentally ill . Just as we seek help when we are physically ill, we should also seek help when we are struggling with our thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. We need not judge the specific cause of mental illnesses in others rather we are to pray for them and offer support . We cannot assume that a mental illness is a result of sin, and that is between the person and God.
We have many tools to help with treatment of mental illness, including medicine, psychiatry, community support, and education. We need to be careful not to neglect the spiritual aspect of mental illness. We can share the truth of God with those struggling with mental illness, encourage them as we are able, and support them in prayer. When were struggling with mental illness, we need to be vigilant to continue to seek out Gods truth, to come to Him in prayer, and to allow other believers to support us in our time of need.
Megan Bailey is the Social Media Specialist and Content Producer for Beliefnet. She attended James Madison University where she received a degree in psychology.
Encouraging Truths For Christians With Mental Illness
Even as we struggle, we must remember some important facts. One, we are not alone. The truth of the Gospel is that we are deeply loved. We were loved by God as evidenced in creation and we remain loved by God as He demonstrated in sending His Son to die for us while we were sinners . God loves us and sent His Son to die for us and provided His Spirit to reside in us, speaking on our behalf .
Two, the presence of sickness, struggle, and suffering does not negate Gods presence and love for us. Romans 8 provides a critical chorus for us as we reside in the already, but not yet. We live in the Saturday of passion week grateful and redeemed through the death of Christ on the cross on Friday and awaiting our own resurrection and glorification on Sunday. Christ has gone ahead as the first fruits of the resurrection , the forerunner of our faith , and we wait in expectant hope and promise. While we may suffer and struggle now, it is nothing compared to the glory to come . Our current suffering is designed to ignite the flame of our hope for Him, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God and His strength is made perfect in weakness .
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How The Bible Gives Hope For Mental Health
The Bible offers hope and help for people that struggle, as expressed in these top 5 Bible verses about mental illness
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones not one of them is broken.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Fear not, for I am with you be not dismayed, for I am your God I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.