Oftentimes, Christians and non-Christians alike think of good health only as it pertains to their physical body—separate and apart from their mind. But it is important to understand that good health includes mental health, and that the mind that is not functioning well adversely affects the body and the quality of life.
In 3 John 2, Apostle John writes to his friend Gaius whom he dearly loves and expresses concern for his physical and spiritual well-being. Gaius had shown much hospitality to John in his travels, a kindness that travelling preachers depended upon to survive. So deeply did John appreciate these expressions of love that his heart overflowed with an extraordinary prayer for his friend—that he would flourish in his daily affairs and in his health, even as his soul flourishes. To desire something good for another person’s life, to express this to them in a way they understand and to pray that they might have it is a very meaningful way to bless them. This is especially significant in the area of health because good health determines the extent to which one may enjoy all the other blessings of life.
Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders, according to the World Health Organization Constitution. “It is a state of well- being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Mental wellness involves exercising our power over our thought life, and not allowing our thoughts to become runaway trains carrying toxic cargo. Choosing what we think about, the way we think about it and how much we think about it are all choices we must make each day.
Consider these three important things we must do to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ:
- We must own our thoughts.
We are admonished to “take our thoughts captive” in 2 Corinthians 10:5, but before this can happen we must first take ownership of those thoughts. Our thoughts are connected to some things–like feelings, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. John Townsend and Henry Cloud in their book, Boundaries, give guidance on how to own our thoughts: “To own our thoughts is to truthfully acknowledge them to ourselves, to see them as OUR responsibility and not another’s, and to begin to find an answer to whatever issues those thoughts are pointing to.” Consider Sally, a longtime Christian who harbors a strong resentment against a co-worker. Sally cannot take these strong feelings captive and bring them to God for healing if she denies that she has them. Likewise, she will stumble at taking captivity if she justifies these deadly feelings by placing all the blame on her co-worker and expecting her co-worker to fix her feelings.
We should not repeat the thoughts and opinions of others without examining them. We examine them by filtering (measuring) them through God’s Word and the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is needful that we bring our thought life which opposes God’s Word into captivity before it destroys us. In the above passage, Paul reminds us in his use of military language that we’re in a spiritual battle and that our mind is the battlefield. If we choose to be passive about our thought life or expect others to do our work in this area, we will not do well in the battlefield of our mind. We will not experience the peace, joy and daily victories God intends that we would have. Let us continually examine and submit our thought life to His control as we live for Him.
- We must Continually grow in the knowledge of God and His Word and expand our minds.
What doesn’t GROW runs the risk of becoming stagnant, polluted and lifeless. Our life is to be a life of continual growth in the knowledge and understanding of God and His Word. Romans 12:2 reminds us to not allow the world to squeeze us into its mold with its superficial customs, but to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Along with spending time in His Word, the willingness to be still and quiet in His presence to allow Him to talk to us is crucial. Find what works for you in your endeavor to grow in God’s Word and WORK IT—whether it’s audio books, sticky notes, index cards, speaking God’s word out loud, journaling, etc.
- We must clarify distorted thinking (thinking that is twisted and false).
We all have a tendency to sometimes not see things clearly. “It’s because of the plank (beam) in our eyes (Matt. 7:3-5). Taking ownership of our thinking in relationships requires that we take an active role in determining how we may be wrong. Again, refer to the previous section on “Owning Our Thoughts”. As an example, distorted thinking may be seen where one operates under the influence of the spirit of offense. Such a person is easily offended by the words or actions of others and has difficulty correctly processing the words or actions of others.
Alone time with God, along with a heart that’s open to Him, will allow the Holy Spirit to bring such distortions into the light. There are also instances where it is needful that we confront the individual we feel has brought the offense in love to gain better understanding of the situation and inspire resolution.
As I close, may all be well with you my friends, and may you flourish mentally and physically, even as your soul flourishes. For more insight and growth, read Boundaries, by Henry Cloud & John Townsend. Blessings on your journey!
Rev. Juanita Adams
ABOUT REV. JUANITA ADAMS…
Has served more than 37 years preaching and teaching the Gospel message both nationally & internationally; has worked in evangelism and served as a pastor; has worked for the past 14 years in small group ministry and is currently coordinator for an in-depth healing program at Mt. Gilead FGIM known as “CrossCurrent.”
Has received specialized training in listening prayer and prayer counseling, where under the guidance and empowering of the Holy Spirit she works with individuals to bring lasting healing to the emotional, psychological and physical wounds caused by their sin, the sin of others against them, sin or wounds or curses passed down from their ancestors, trauma, or the work of the kingdom of darkness;
Serves as an instructor with the Transformation Institute team at Mt. Gilead FGIM;
Is the author of the Book Yes You Can Begin Again—a book birthed out of crisis which carries a special message for the broken, those working through crisis, and those who lead. Available at the Mt. Gilead FGIM Transformation Center and also Amazon.
Rev. Juanita Adams may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Asena, the following chart is optional as space may not allow it)
Complete the “Ownership Column” and the “Corresponding truth” column in the following chart which deals with owning your feelings and clarifying distorted thinking.
THOUGHTS/feelings/beliefs/ TAKE OWNERSHIP THE CORRESPONDING attitudes/behaviors (acknowledge your thoughts) TRUTH IN GOD’S WORD
Same Sex Attraction