God is so good. His word urges us to turn from sin (evil thinking/behaviors) so that we can have life, and live life to the fullest (James 5:16).
What does it mean to live life to the fullest?
Jesus said that life first starts with him, (“I am the way and the truth and the life, John 14:6) but take a look at the second verse:
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1Timothy 6:12
Living a full life means living a life FULL of faith. A life full of faith is marked by the courage to take hold of what God promised and has for us. A man or a women who desires to experience the fullness of what God has for them, must believe that God exist and that he is faithful to keep his promises (Hebrews 12); including His promise to renew our minds (rewire our brain). Take a look at what this unbelieving psychotherapist believed mental health meant (after a life time of study), and compare it to what God told Joshua.
"Healthy people are able to meet problems head on, courageously, and solve them in socially constructive ways ("useful ways") (Murdock, 2014, p.122) - Alfred Alder
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”- Joshua 1:7-9
Mental Health/Courage starts with God and processes through the rest of our brain (both mentally and physiologically!
What does the Bible say about Mental Health?
2 Timothy 1:7 says;
"For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of self-control (self-control is also translated as discipline or having a sound-mind in the greek language).
And its funny because modern neuroscience shows us that in order to have a sound-mind, One MUST (among being connected to community & (I believe, God) develop self-control and discipline in their thought life (Bannink, F.P. J Contemp Psychother, 2014) & (Leaf, Caroline, 2010).
The Attributes/ Fruit of Good Mental Health
God wants us to overcome life victoriously, through the putting on of Christ attitude (Philipians 2), so that He can renew our mind (Romans 12) and help us fulfill our purposes (Ephisians 2). Take a look at the fruit of a man or a women who is not afraid of taking hold of the above promises on Good Mental Health;
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (theres is this word again...) - Galatians 5:22
So, Why the Struggle Then?
So, why do Christians struggle with Manic Depression and or other Mental Health Issues?
Good Mental Health is a Process; a renewing of the mind (Romans 12) or as science calls it: A Rewiring of the Brain.That is why God asks us to be patient with ourselves and others (Luke 8:15) not judging one another, but instead bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2); making provisions for each other's faults (Colossians 3:13).
This Mental Health Process begins with the regeneration of God's spirit, and it is completed through the renewing of our mind (rewiring of the brain) through faith, by changing a faulty belief system for the truth that sets us free (this statement is a biblical statement that is secularly known as REBT). REBT is well established and recognized form of therapy (with more than 4,000 supported studies) which acknowledges that behavior and emotions change when faulty and irrational beliefs are exchanged for rational ones. It is through the changing of these faulty beliefs systems that abnormal behavior is also changed (Murdock, 2014).
Rewiring our brain through Cognitive or REBT Therapy does not happen passively. It is a fierce method that targets toxic thoughts through readiness and another method called reframing. Easier stated, being ready to exchange the toxic thought: the lie, for the truth of God's word. I advise you to look up Doctor Caroline Leaf if you want to know more about this process, or better yet take hold of the process by simply reading, staying and obeying God's Word (especially in Joshua 1) which contains everything we need to know about Good Mental Health, therapy and its processes (Hence that is why God is called The Mighty Counselor). Be in it. Believe it. Be willing to surrender your unbelieving thoughts to his proven truth. And fiercely take hold of Gods promises for your life and your Mental Health.
**Please note the Mental Health does not mean Perfection, we are already made perfect in Christ despite our failures- the Bible says a righteous man falls 7x-but he gets back up again (Proverbs).
These are God's Universal Mental Health Promises for anyone who loves him and puts him first:
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”- John 8:31-32
But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ- 1Corinthians 2:16
"The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness"- John 10:10
*Pay close attention to the words soul & life in the Bible, for these are God's promises for you and your Mental Health.
God wants us to be set free from the lies. You are NOT a psychological label. If you are in Christ you are being renewed in your mind just as he promised you would be if you remain in his Word (also remain in His body of believers- isolation plays a huge factor in Mental Illness).
And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of the heavens is taken by violence (taken by force) and the violent (fierce) seize it.- Matthew 11:12
Bannink, F.P. J Contemp Psychother (2014) 44: 1. retrieved from https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1007/s10879-013-9239-7
Bible Hub (2019) 2Timothy 1:7 Retrieved from: https://biblehub.com/2_timothy/1-7.htm
Leaf, Caroline. Who Switched Off My Brain? : Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions . New edition. Place of publication not identified: Inprov, Ltd., 2010. Print.
Murdock, N. L. (2008). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.