By Bob Zoellner
Somewhere along the line during our trek into modern society, there became a disconnect between our mental and spiritual health. We assume we can be healthy mentally, but not spiritually, and vice versa. But this is a connection that cannot be easily divided; in fact, our relationship with the Lord is deeply dependent on how we think.
Christianity is a thinking man’s faith. It is based in the reality of Jesus Christ and who He is, and what He did to purchase our salvation. Once we have been born again, our thought processes, our mindset, our very being is changed. We are a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), and we don’t think the same anymore.
In Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul tells believers to no longer conform to the patterns of this world—it’s structures, values, ways of thinking—but to be transformed “by the renewing of our minds.”
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 2:5). What is that mindset? He took on the nature of a servant. He placed others above himself. That is the epitome of changing our thinking; because of our sin nature, we are selfish to the core.
To overcome that, we need to do battle with the enemy, the one who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” (I Peter 5:8). How do we do that?
By taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-6). We learn to “…not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let [our] requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7).
We also learn to allow our feelings to be a follower, and not the leader. When we think first, and then let our actions and feelings flow from right thinking, we will keep order and peace and ourselves under control. If we let feelings control our thinking, our words and behaviors will lead to disorder, calamity and chaotic relationships.
Mindfulness and intentionality begin with an honest assessment of our need for Christ. Once we have been reconciled and are in the right relationship with him, we can enjoy good mental health. “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).
So, as Philippians 4:8 encourages us, let us think of things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and good. These are the virtues that will keep us mentally and spiritually strong.