We have had so many things happening in our world over the last few years that it would be easy to fall prey to a stronghold of fear if we let our minds think upon all of the troubling things which are taking place. Almost daily, we hear of more suicide bombings in Israel. We are still losing some of our precious troops each week in Iraq. Even where I live, the police departments can’t keep up with all of the meth labs. That doesn’t even include the daytime robberies where the perpetrators just barge into your home, beat you up, then take your goods. It appears that our city is being taken over by evil. Even sitting here, typing this, I find my eyes filling up with tears. It seems like our world is a hopeless place.
Let’s bring it a step closer to home. What about the things taking place in our own life? What about the child who has chosen to rebel against God? What about cancer or some other disease that is ravaging our body? What about someone who is spreading lies about us? What about those of us whose spouse may be out of work? How do we keep our minds and our hearts from becoming overwhelmed with fear?
Prov. 12:25 tells us that an anxious heart can weigh us down. In John 14:1, Jesus tells us not to LET our hearts be troubled. This is a command to us, meaning that we have something to do. It means that we must not let those troubling thoughts come into our minds and find a place to rest. When they come to our minds, we must remember the command in Phil 4:6 not to be anxious about anything but to give our requests to God. Verse 7 tells us that after we leave our requests with God, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.
When the sinister things of this world enter your thoughts, make the choice not to sit and ponder on the seeming hopelessness of it all. Don’t think upon the threats of more terrorist attacks. Don’t think upon the unstable job market. We are commanded to think upon those things which are true (certain, reliable, trustworthy), noble (excellent, supreme, lordly), right, pure (genuine, unmingled, uncontaminated), lovely (captivated, delightful, splendid), admirable (worthy, good), excellent, and praiseworthy. Phil. 4:8
I have found that one way to speedily ruin my mental health is by thinking bad thoughts of others. In Zech. 7:10, it tells us not to think evil of others in our hearts. Often when we think the thoughts, we end up speaking those very thoughts because out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths often speak. Prov. 12:14 tells us that from the fruit of our lips, we are filled with good things. The only way this can happen is by renewing our minds and causing our thought life to be renewed (remade, reawakened, reconditioned). Rom. 12:2
Another way to bring mental health to our lives is by learning not to be quick-tempered. Yes, I know this a very hard one to do. I struggle with this on a daily basis. Prov. 14:17 says that a quick-tempered person will do foolish things. When we do those foolish things, then we have to deal with the consequences, not to mention the guilt. That can promptly remove any sense of well being that we had been experiencing. In Prov. 15:18, it says that a hot-tempered person will stir up dissension. This can happen in our homes, which God designed to be a refuge for our families, not a place of conflict, clashing, and opposition. Prov. 14:26 says that the Lord has a secure fortress for those who fear Him, and for their children, it is a refuge.
Another thing which can suddenly zap our sense of well-being is envy. Prov. 14:30 tells us that a heart at peace will give life to us, but envy will rot our bones. I Cor. 13 tells us that love doesn’t envy. We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice. When we find it hard to rejoice with others when they have been blessed with something that we would like to have, we need to ask God to help us to be able to honestly rejoice with them in the blessing of God on their lives.
There is another snare that we may not think of right away when we ponder on what can hinder our mental health. It is that of gossip. Prov. 10:19 tells us that where words are many, sin is not absent. The more we say, the more we find ourselves getting into trouble. Do you ever wonder what may come back on you because of what you have spoken? Prov. 21:23 tells us that if we guard our mouth, we will keep ourselves from calamity, distress, or trials. If we don’t quickly repent of speaking sinful words, there is that separation between us and God. I know when I find myself separated from my Father because of my sin, my frame of mind is not a good one. I miss the peace, tranquility, and calmness that I have when I know that my walk with Father is what it should be. God wants us to be wise with what we say because then our words have the ability to bring healing and restoration to those around us. (Prov. 12:18, 18:21,) If we guard what we say, we guard our very life, meaning that we will be mentally healthy, not to mention many other physical ailments which we may avoid. (Prov. 13:3)
I remember when I first got saved. I had been with a crowd that was really rough and sinister. I had to let my parents screen all of my phone calls because they wouldn’t leave me alone. I was stalked by one of them for several weeks after pulling away from that way of life. It was a very fearful time for me, never knowing when one of them was going to be right on my tail. A dear man at church prayed over me regarding this. From that very moment, it stopped! I was amazed. Several months later, I saw the verse in Prov. 16:7 that reveals to us that when our ways please the Lord, He makes even our ENEMIES to be at peace with us. I have seen the person who was stalking me only one or two times in the twenty years since this took place, and both times, the FEAR was in THAT person’s eyes! Light truly does chase away the darkness! I mention this illustration because many of you may have some “enemies” who are causing your mental health to be disturbed. I urge you to start praying the above scripture over your circumstances. You may see God work speedily on your behalf, bringing that tranquility back into your life.
I want to close with some final scriptures that talk about health. This can refer to mental health, as well as a vast array of physical health in our lives, if we choose to follow the decrees given to us.
Prov. 3:7-8 Don’t be wise in your own eyes, but fear God and turn from evil. This brings health to your body and it nourishes your bones.
Prov. 3:21-22 Preserve sound judgment and discernment because they will be life for you.
Prov. 4:20-23 Pay attention to God’s word and keep His word in your heart. His word is life to you and health to your whole body. Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Prov. 17:22 If we have a cheerful heart, it works like a medicine. (Not to mention that it’s much cheaper than visiting the doctor!)
Awesome God, You love us so much, and you desire for us to have life, and life abundantly. Help us to make changes in our thoughts, where needed, so that Your life, love, joy, peace, and tranquility can be ours at all times, in all ways, in all circumstances, and in all conditions. (I Th. 3:16) Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller