These verses are perhaps especially relevant for thos with Bipolar Disorder and other illnesses, but they are surely relevant for all of us.. God intends us to have a controlled mind. He wants us to be disciplined in our thinking, not allowing fleeting thoughts to capture us and lead us astray.
“ 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)
How do we do this? We have to be active in our thought lives in renewing our minds (see Romans 12). In fact this level of challenging our thinking is very similar to what people say in CBT therapy. Paul advocates us getting quite aggressive in these efforts:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
(2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
One way we do this is to make a determined effort to only think about righteous things:
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
We are more than the sum of every errant thought that flits through our brains. We do not have to express every transient impulse or emotion. The Christian learns to fight in his mind. But when the thoughts become much more than fleeting, and that battle seems unwinable, it can sometimes be an indicator that it is time to reach out for professional help. The mentally ill simply cannot just “pull themselves together,” their thoughts are too powerful for them to resist. We must not assume that they themselves are not fighting, it may well just be that what they are fighting is harder than we have to bear. We must be compassionate in our care towards them. There is much that the Bible has to say, but mental illness needs to be approached in a multifaceted, holistic way.
I hope that this extended series on mental health has been helpful. I have just one more article with which to conclude tomorrow.
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.