Speaking and seeing triumphant life
A few years ago I was working as a social worker in a community mental health team and I began to ponder the challenge or experiencing mental distress and of having faith in Jesus. This pondering has developed into a heart and a passion for Christians experiencing mental distress. When I think about mental distress I think about the deep pain and fear that some in the body of Christ experience. Mental distress is a wide ranging idea from those who have a diagnosed mental illness and those who worry about situations. Therefore this applies to all of us as mental wellbeing is relevant to all of us. No matter what the reason or duration of experiencing mental distress it is always in stark contrast to the love, joy and peace and God’s word says we are to enjoy as His children. John 10:10b I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).
I know I want that abundant life, that overflowing life in Christ. Not the kind of temporary happiness that comes when I get something new or when someone is complimentary to you. Of course there is nothing wrong with those things and God shows His love and His faithfulness to us in blessing us with them. But “things” don’t make us happy; they don’t satisfy our inner most being. They don’t help me get us out of bed when you have absolutely no motivation, or to speak kindly to someone who is very unpleasant to you. They only “thing” that will give you complete contentment is Jesus. I love what God says about our minds in 2 Timothy 1: God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. Really? God says that I have a “well balanced, disciplined and self-controlled mind”. But how does that line up with experiencing mental distress? How do we connect this statement in His word with the reality of life, in which circumstances arise, emotions become stretched and life becomes challenging?
One of the most significant things that disconnect the body of Christ from living in power and in the life that we have been promised and called to is our words. Although I think the church understands the importance of speaking kindly of others there is even more significance behind our words. Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) says : Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. What I love about this scripture is that it says that we shall eat the fruit of what we speak. This can be tasty, juicy, life giving fruit. Or it can be bitter, rotten, harmful fruit. We don’t need to look too far in God’s word to see the power of words. In Genesis God spoke creation into being. About the power of our words James 3: 1-5 says: If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about. Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze!
What has this got to do with experiencing mental distress? God’s word is clearly telling us that life in Him should be abundant and peaceful in which we walk in a deep contentment and satisfaction in Jesus, no matter what we experience. That means that experiencing fear and mental distress is not part of His provision for our lives. The words that we speak have creative power, to either produce good fruit or bad fruit. So perhaps we should start speaking out what God’s word says about us and not simply speaking what our situation says. I don’t mean that we deny what we are experiencing or that we don’t seek support and love from Godly people. But that God’s word should be the basis of what we say and not our situation.
As well as telling you that you have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind, what else does God say about you? He says: you are His child (Gal 3:6); you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Phil 4: 13); that you are more than a conqueror in all things (Rom 8:37); that you have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16); that you are born of God and therefore you overcome this world (1 John 5:4); that you are hidden with Christ in God ( Col 3:3); you are not condemned. You are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1); that you are a believer and that all things are possible to you (Mark 9: 23). I encourage you to speak what God says about you and as you line up with what God says about you your situation will change.