“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
I’m writing this post primarily to young people. What we give ourselves to in our manner of thinking and disciplines shapes the people we become. For some reason psychological problems are considered by many to always be something that “just happens” to people because of “chemical imbalances” OR the result of mistreatment by others. While this may be true for some, I am convinced that, for most, mental illness develops because of the choices we make and the thoughts we entertain.
While there are indeed psychological illnesses that are the result of genetics and/or disease, I am convinced that most mental illness develops over time as a direct result of an ungodly thought life and worldliness.
There is a way to think that leads to mental and spiritual health and a way to think that leads to mental instability and godlessness.
HOW we think and meditate upon a thing says a lot about WHAT spirit is active in our thinking. Unhealthy patterns of thought, once surrendered to, lead to mental and spiritual ruin.
It is a fact that most people with deep, psychological problems manifest more profound mental instability later in life. It’s not that these problems were not present earlier in life, but they often become more acute with age.
What happens to many is they development into young adulthood with an unhealthy thought-life. If this is not repented of and deliberate efforts are not sought to change unhealthy ways of thinking, over the years patterns form in the mind. A person, in this way, can become a slave to destructive thoughts and behaviors that are all at dissonance with reality.
I am convinced that for many people, the subsequent mental illness that is the product of this development is a thing for which many people are culpable, for it is not so much the result of a “chemical imbalance in the brain”, but that of sustained, unhealthy thinking and the frequent exercise of unrestrained passions/emotions.
There is an entire “Self Help” industry out there to help people cultivate more “successful” life disciplines and ways of thinking. I think there is some truth to what you will read under this category. Ultimately, however, for the Christian, this subject is addressed in the Bible as a spiritual problem with practical, spiritual solutions.
We are to be constantly renewing our minds by the Spirit of Grace as we learn of and live in Christ. A faithful Christian life should ordinarily result in mental and spiritual stability. He is the Spirit of “a sound mind”.
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”
1 Peter 1:13