The Christian Life

Mental Health

KEYS TO MENTAL HEALTH   

God wants His children to be healthy -in spirit, soul and body (IThess 5:23)   We especially desire to have a healthy, well-adjusted, peaceful mind for: 'as a man thinks in his heart so he is.'

 

The Creation of Adam reveals man's constitution. 'The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (BODY) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (SPIRIT) and man became a living SOUL.' (Genesis 2:7)   

 

You are a spirit, you have a soul and you live in a body.   We are like a light-bulb!   The body is the visible filament.   When it is combined or fused with invisible electricity (the spirit) it produces light (the living-soul or personality)   The spirit is the source of your life.   The body contacts the physical world, the soul contacts the mental world and the spirit is designed to contact and perceive the spirit realm -especially God who is Spirit.    Now if you are born-again, you are a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17) your SPIRIT IS SAVED  but your BODY still has sin in it's members and WILL BE SAVED only in the resurrection.   The body must not control us but we (our inner-man) must bring it under control. (1Corinthians 9:27).    The key is our SOUL (MIND, WILL and EMOTIONS) which is BEING SAVED as we hear and do the Word. (James 1:21,22)

 

Our SOUL or MIND is in the middle of a war between our flesh (our unrenewed human nature) and our reborn spirit.  It is being pulled from both directions.  It either lines up with the flesh or the spirit (Jesus said you either serve God or Mammon but not both - Matthew 6:24)  The Mind can only only be set in ONE direction at a time.  Whichever your soul chooses to respond to and obey will dominate (2 against 1).  What we choose to focus our mind upon determines if we come under the power of LIFE and HEALTH or DEATH and CURSE.   

 

'The righteous requirement of the law (LOVE) is fulfilled in us who don't walk according to the FLESH but according to the SPIRIT.   For those who live according to the FLESH set their minds on the things of the FLESH, but those who live according to the SPIRIT set their minds on the things of the SPIRIT.  For to be FLESHLY minded is DEATH, but to be SPIRITUALLY minded is LIFE and PEACE' (Romans 8:4-6)

 

'Walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not the things that you wish' (Galatians 5:16,17).

 

The contrasting results of obeying the flesh and spirit are described in v19-23.   'Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for what a man sows he shall reap.  He who sows (gives his attention and life) to his flesh will from his flesh reap corruption (a lower life will fill his soul) but he who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap eternal life (a higher life will fill his soul)' (Galatians 6:7.8).   

 

When we choose to live by the spirit, the Christ-life and peace in the spirit flows into our mind and soul thus giving us a healthy mind. 'God has not given you a spirit of fear but A SPIRIT of power, love and a SOUND MIND.' (2Timothy 1:7)   Jesus died to give us PEACE and deliverance from mental torment (Isaiah 53:5)

 

'You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on (and frequently returns to) You because he trusts in You' (Isaiah 26:3).   

A HEALTHY MIND is a mind fixed on and preoccupied with CHRIST.  

 

'If you were raised with Christ (to a higher life) seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ.' (Colossians 3:1-3)

 

It's our choice to be controlled by our bodies and become like the world or to REPENT (to CHANGE the whole orientation of OUR MIND to spiritual things and God's priorities) and let the spirit-life of Christ shine:

 

'Present your bodies to God as a living sacrifice and do not be conformed to this world (squeezed from the outside) but be transformed (from the inside, by 'metamorphisis', where the inner spirit-life is expressed and manifested outwardly) by the RENEWING (literally-the CHANGING) of your MIND (from being set on the flesh to being set in agreement with the spirit)' (Romans 12:1,2).   

 

When your soul (mind) agrees with your spirit, the life of Christ in your spirit can flow into and through your soul bringing peace, love and health.  Think of the soul as a rubber ball and there are 2 kinds of life that want to mold it (from the inside and outside).  If it yields control to the worldly desires of the flesh then it's squeezed into conformity with the world.   If it yields to the spirit then it's formed into the character (mind) of Christ - which is true mental health!     So, we can all tell what you've been yielding to!

 

HOW can we have a HEALTHY RENEWED MIND ? 

The 3 basic requirements are the same for a HEALTHY MIND as for a healthy BODY: 1. NOURISHMENT   2. ELIMINATION   3. EXERCISE.

 

1. NOURISHMENT.   The mind like a computer can only work on the raw material fed to it.  ('Rubbish in, Rubbish out').  So fill the mind with good thoughts, especially the Word of God.(Matthew 4:4, 1Timothy 4:6, Psalm 1)  For a healthy body, you screen out bad food and feed yourself good food-likewise for a healthy mind:  'Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.' (Philippians 4:8).

 

 You have the power to choose what you eat and meditate on.  If you are chewing unhealthy thoughts you have the power to change your thoughts: 'PUT OFF the OLD MAN (bad thoughts) and be RENEWED (changed) in the spirit of your mind and put on the NEW MAN (live by the reborn spirit' (Ephesians 4:22,24).   You don't have to think on everything that happens -you're not the answer to every problem.  Focus your life to do the best you can do with your abilities and resources.  If we don't fill our mind with the Word it becomes like an vacuum-cleaner sucking in everything the world and the devil whispers to you. ('You're no good, you're going to be sick, its O.K to steal a bit, to lie a bit, nobody likes you').

 

'No longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility (vanity =VACUUM) of their mind.' (Ephesians 4:17).    These destructive thoughts break in and there's no resistance.  G.K.Chesterton said: 'Men who stop believing in God don't believe in nothing but in anything.'  

 

The result in v18 is: 'their understanding is darkened, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance in them because of the hardness of their heart (in originally rejecting the Word).'   

 

If the Word is in you, you have the strength to rise up and kick out with the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT any destructive thoughts, as you would eject someone coming to squat in your house!    'No that's wrong, that's not my thought and it's not God's thought.'  Let the Helmet of SALVATION cover your mind- meditate on the COMPLETED VICTORY of CHRIST, and who you are in Christ,your past and future salvation.

 

2. ELIMINATION.  A healthy body monitors, detects and ejects what is harmful.  Likewise our mind.   We're to monitor our thoughts by the PEACE OF GOD which guards our thoughts and tells us if they are right or wrong, to be accepted or rejected.  'Have no anxiety about anything ..but in everything...let your requests be made to God and the PEACE OF GOD which surpasses all understanding will GUARD your hearts and minds by Christ Jesus.' (Philippians4:6,7)  'Let the peace of God rule (as an umpire) in your hearts.' (Colossians 3:15)   

 

A.N.T.S (Automatic Negative Thought S) will come into our minds but they're not truly our thoughts unless we take hold of them, speak them out and act on them.   'You can't stop birds fly overhead but don't let them build a nest in your hair.'  A thought unspoken and not acted on dies unborn.   Kill the A.N.T.S !

 

If we have yielded to, spoken out or acted upon a wrong thought then it's become part of our soul.  Undealt with, a thought leads to a deed which causes a habit which becomes our character which determines our destiny. 

We can and must eject it by CONFESSION - 1John 1:9.

 

3. EXERCISE.   We (1) take in the WORD and (2) expel the negative but to be truly healthy the soul must be (3) exercised for it is only in DOING THE WORD that the character of Christ is formed in the soul and the life and blessing of God released.  Those with a healthy mind are productively fulfilling their purpose in life and they have screened out thoughts that hinder this.   They  control what goes on in their mind rather than letting their thoughts run rampant, controlled by whatever is happening around them.  They take responsibility for their thought-life rather than blaming circumstances or other people.   

 

Men used to wear long flowing tunics which would trip them up if they ran somewhere.  Our uncontrolled minds can be like these tunics-we can't move forward very fast because our thoughts keep tripping us up.  So, to make progress they had to tuck their tunics into their belt.  

 

Thus Peter tells us: 'Gird up the loins of your mind.' (1Peter 1:13). 'Christians, stop standing around with your minds all over the place, distracted, confused, NO FOCUS.   Tuck your minds into the BELT OF TRUTH and run your race.   Stop wallowing in negative thoughts and speculations.  FOCUS on your purpose in life-to LOVE GOD and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR.'

 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES 

1. PRAISE   One of the most healthy things you can do is fill your life with praise.  In  MAGNIFYING GOD your problems seem much smaller.  You realise He is the God of resurrection- He has already overcome them, that He will work everything for good and nothing shall separate you from His Love.  So as you PRAISE, your mind is on Him and His Presence fills you and discouragement and defeat disappears. Church Praise Time is very important - if at all possible come in time so you don't miss some of it.   You miss out and it dishonours God. 

 

2. PRAY for others 

 

3. Forgive others. (You can do all this every day by praying through the Lords prayer) 

 

4. Find a place of SERVICE and MINISTRY. 'He that is greatest in the Kingdom is the servant of all.' 

 

5. Use your tongue to develop control of your thoughts.  If your mind is out of control use the rudder of your tongue to steer it back on course! (James 3:4)  Your will can exercise control over your mind by using your tongue.    As you start speaking the Word you will start thinking it also, for you must focus and think on what you're saying. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHTS!

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