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The Bible And Mental Health - Part 2

Psalm 37:39-40 - But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their refuge in the time of distress. The Lord will help them and deliver them; He will deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they take refuge in Him.

In the previous post on the Bible and mental health, I outlined that the Bible tells us we will have problems. We will be troubles. We will experience events and happenings that have the potential to fill us with worry, anxiety, heartache, and even bitterness. Still, God does not expect us to handle these things in our strength and with our mental capacity.

Note: This is NOT JUST COVID MESSAGE. Covid has brought to the forefront what many have been struggling with previously.

The objective of salvation is for complete healing and wholeness of spirit, soul (mind, emotions, will), and body not only in eternity but for life right now by looking to Jesus Christ in faith.

  • God wants you to be full of joy

  • God wants you to be at rest

  • God wants you to be at peace

  • God wants you to have calm

  • God wants you to have healthy emotions


The Bible tells us that God through Christ has provided everything needed.


In verses 39-40, was saw this again as this Psalm talks about the salvation of the righteous. It gives us four promises.

  • The Lord is a refuge (protection) in time of distress

  • The Lord will help them

  • The Lord will deliver them, even deliver them from the wicked

  • The Lord will save them


The reason is that they, the righteous, take refuge (shelter, sanctuary) in Him. So again, we see from scripture, our source of strength and healing for mental and emotional health is faith in the salvation God has provided. The Bible’s answer is a relationship with God.




THE BIBLE ANSWER FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND PRACTICAL LIVING

We will also find key principles in the Bible about mental health. The foundation is Christ, but along with that, there are practical activities that we see in scripture to walk in health.

The Bible says in Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. (KJV - for out of it are the issues of life.) For out of it flows the issues (sources) of life.


The question may come up, why does it speak about the heart? How is it that from the heart flow the issues of life?


If we look at it from a natural sense, we begin to see what God is saying. It says in Leviticus 17:11 - the life of the flesh is in the blood… The heart is central to distributing the blood (the life) to the rest of the body from a physical side. We know that as long as the heart can receive and propel the blood, life is continued. If the heart stops, life ends. Since the heart is the fountain from which life flows, diligence must be taken that the fountain is not stopped or injured.

In the spiritual sense, the Bible speaks of the heart as necessary to a healthy life. It is typically associated with the soul, emotions, will, mind, and understanding. It says in Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is more deceitful than all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?


Proverbs 28:26 - He who trusts in his own heart is a fool

That is why we need a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26 - Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

Like the physical, there is a need to keep (guard) the heart or get sick and not function properly. An ill heart will lead to an unhealthy life. So Proverbs says, watch with all diligence, that this fountain isn’t damaged so that the life that issues forth is not restricted or not functioning correctly.


It is also interesting that in the verses before and after 23, we see activities that could be considered critical to maintaining a healthy heart.


Proverbs 4:20-22 - My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their body.


Provers 4:25 - Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.


THE BIBLE AND MENTAL HEALTH


With that direction concerning the heart in mind, let us look at pragmatic instructions from the Bible about mental health.

Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.



DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE EVILDOERS

Psalm 37:1-2 - Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be jealous of those who do injustice. For they will quickly wither like the grass, and fade like the green herbs.


Psalm 37:7 - Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of those who prosper in their way, because of those who make wicked schemes.

It says do not fret because of evildoers. We are not to fret, which means worrying, fuming, getting upset, or agonizing over evildoers.


Today, many, including Christians, agonize over the government, people groups, and even individuals who seemingly get away with evil.


I understand why people are mad. But why let them rob you of peace? Something to remember, in most cases, they don’t know that you are upset, and they don’t care. Besides, we need to remember this is not a physical or natural battle. As the Bible says, we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, so it does no good to worry. Our fretting is hurting no one but ourselves and accomplishes very little.


Some would say yes, but what about? And then list off everything wrong. I would say God has it in control. The evil will get their just reward. Look at the Bible.

Psalm 37:12-13 - The wicked plot against the righteous, and grind their teeth against them. The Lord will laugh at him, for He sees that his day is coming.


Psalm 37:20 But the wicked will perish, and the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of pastures; they will waste away, in smoke they will waste away.



COMMIT YOUR WAY TO GOD

Psalm 37:3-4 - Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and practice faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.


Psalm 37:5-6 - Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.

Psalm 37:23 - The steps of a man are made firm by the Lord; He delights in his way.


When I think about committing your way to God, I think about the following phrases: dwell in the land, commit your way, and the steps of a man are made firm.


I went through a time of struggle with this in May. In May, the provincial government issued some COVID-19 protocols that impacted our church. Legally, we were to only meet with 15 people in our building. I became upset and thought about unfair and unrealistic this was.

I focussed on how this “limited” the ministry and what I was trying to do for God. I became angry over it all. Finally, one night, I prayed, and God spoke to my heart about it all, and the emotional fretting over the wrongdoing lifted. However, as I look back, I realize that I became frustrated because I focused on the problem(s) rather than dwelling in the land or committing myself to God. I let the issues direct and dictate the calling of God in my life. I allowed them to set the limitations of what I felt God could do.


Many are struggling today with their mental health because they are looking at the problems and limitations and not committing their way to God.


When I look at these scriptures, it reminds me of things like:

  • Looking to God for life vision (many today have lost vision)

  • Living and dwelling in the land (many today are just existing, the Bible says, “Occupy till I come)

  • Doing what God has called you to do

  • Being the person God has called you to be

  • Maintaining the vision that God has for my life


We need to get back to what God is saying, commit our way unto Him, occupy, and let Him direct our steps. He will keep us, He will make a way, and He will guide us. Yes, it may mean some adjustments, but God is bigger than any problem or limitation that might be set before us.


LOOK AT THESE PROMISES


Psalm 37:24 - Though he falls, he will not be hurled down, for the Lord supports him with His hand.


This is not talking about sin. It refers to falling into misfortune, disappointment, trouble, and tragedies. It says that they will come, but it won’t ruin us because God supports us with His hand. His hand is not short.


Psalm 37: 34 Hope in the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.



THE FEAR OF PEOPLE AND MENTAL HEALTH


Proverbs 29:25 - The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord will be safe.

One of the traps that people fall into today is being overly concerned and caring about the opinions of others. I have learned not to be worried about people's adverse reactions when there is nothing I can do about it or when I know that I am doing my best or doing what I believe is right. If someone wants to judge me, think I failed, or think I compromised, I am not bothered by it.

We worry too much about what others say and think. It is, as the Bible says, a snare. It traps us from doing what is right.


Regarding Covid and Vaccines. Many Christians are only getting or not getting vaccinated because of what other Christians are saying or doing. They follow the crowd because they don’t want to be judged or left out. The truth is, each one should walk in faith and obedience to what God is telling them.

Another way this comes into play. We have to keep up with everyone else. We want people to look at us. We want people to “like” us on social media. Just something to consider.



FORGIVENESS AND BITTERNESS


Matthew 6:14-15 - For if you forgive men for their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men for their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins.


Some people are letting the hurt and pain caused by others clog their hearts and directly impact their mental health. Many Christians today are bitter against our government, and it’s leaders. We need to let go and forgive. Stop talking about it. Stop fuming over the evil. Stop losing sleep over it.


When I talk to people about the need to forgive, I often get these arguments back.

  • You don’t know what they did to me

  • You don’t know how much it hurt

  • But I was betrayed and taken advantage of


Note: The world's mentality helps us hold on to these things because the world teaches us to be victims. It seems this has also come into the church.


God says to forgive. The greatness of God is that He gives us what is needed to do what He commands. When you submit these things over to Him, He will be the one who gives you the strength to forgive sincerely.

Some Useful Thoughts

  • Consider yourself dead (a dead person feels no pain) – we have been crucified with Christ; therefore we are dead.

  • Submit yourself to God. Submit yourself to the righteous judge.

  • Remember that even though we don’t deserve it – Jesus gave us the perfect example of forgiveness on the cross when He said, Father, forgive them. We need to remember that we are just as responsible for Christ being on the cross as the soldiers that nailed Him to it or that crowd that called for His crucifixion.

Lastly, remember Romans 12:17 - Repay no one evil for evil. Commend what is honest in the sight of all men.



BRING EVERYTHING TO GOD IN PRAYER

Philippians 4:6-7 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


God expects us to depend upon Him. One way this is shown is in prayer. One reason many Christians do not pray is that they would rather rely upon themselves than God. Yet, they are filled with anxiety because they feel the pressure to make it all happen.


This verse says, “be anxious for nothing”. God says worry about nothing. The reason is that we have brought everything by prayer and supplication (making requests) to Him. God says bring everything to Him. Often we wait till it is a huge problem or we are in a real big mess. As Christians, God says to look for Him for everything.


He also says to do this with gratitude (thanksgiving). Many times, we are often focused on the needs rather than the blessings of God. We look at what we don’t have or the problems we face rather than what we have and what God has already done.


Here is the result that comes from doing this. It says, And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Notice, God promises His peace, not our peace. We will have His peace. It will surpass understanding. It will exceed any natural understanding for that peace. Why? Because it won’t make sense, and even though everything may appear in chaos in the natural, peace (mental health) will be present. As it says, this peace will protect your heart and mind through Christ. Remember, Christ is the foundation.



THINK ABOUT WHATEVER IS TRUE

Philippians 4:8-9 - Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things. Do those things which you have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Most of us use some form of one of these. Whether it is the Internet, News, Media, Phones, TV, Computers, Tablets, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and all the other things that can be found today. These things take up so much of our time and mental space. These things can be one of our greatest enemies.


People are obsessed with knowing what is happening—needing to be informed. Looking at the latest news, or what the politician recently said or did. The question I wonder is, how much is it beneficial? I believe that social media, news media, and many of these technologies are negatively impacting millions' mental and emotional health. The reason is so much of the information is negative.


What we fill our minds with will come out. I believe it is why God has instructed us with this passage.


Philippians says to think on whatever is true, honest, and just.

So much of what we watch is false and dishonest. Reality TV is fake; many influencers give a false representation and only show you what they want you to see. People who promote the news or opinions give you all the supposed behind-the-scenes information, and much of it is twisted. Christians don’t realize that even the right-wing/conservatives, who we think is right and good because they tell us things we want to hear or show us how corrupt everyone else is, build their shows, and following on the agenda they have.


Think about whatever is pure and lovely.

How many Christians listen to music with lyrics that are obscene and perverse? Or they watch shows or movies filled with evil or sex. We would never watch someone in bed in “real-life,” but we can watch it for entertainment purposes. If someone says anything, the excuse is, it’s just entertainment; I can handle it. Behind the scenes, they struggle with their thought life.


Think on whatever is of a good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

But we fill our minds with bad news, fear, and evil. Then we wonder why we are depressed, anxious, and not calm.


Paul closed off that passage by saying in the last phrase of verse 8 - think on these things. Do those things which you have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.



CONCLUSION


God has given us a tremendous gift in Jesus. Jesus supplies all we need, but God also has given us excellent practical wisdom for navigating the world we live in and walking in mental health and strength.

 

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