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 Battles in the mind

While I feel quite sure about starting this thread as I do, using a quote from Dian's post in another thread, I am aware of my own needs in this area of Christian life.

Several scriptures crowd to mind, in which God makes clear our brains are not working on the same rational basis as His. I hope contributors will lay them out for us to chew on.

Are our mental problems only because of the Fall and sin?

Or, is there also an issue arising from His being the Potter and us the clay, in which we would never have a chance of understanding His mind, were it not for the Holy Ghost?

Please testify about the contradictions to worldly thinking, including instances of answered prayer or the exercise of faith, which have defied all human explanation, as well as how [i]reasonable[/i] you may have come to find it to [b][i]believe[/i][/b]. Because it is! 8-)

Let's be practical and learn what we can from each other!

'It has only been recent that I have been seeing who God really is. There has been so much of the spirit of the world in my so-called Christianity, so much mixture, it's like some surgeon performing a delicate surgery on the brain having to try and remove the cancer without harming the good tissue. That type of surgery is tedious and time consuming. I feel like this is where I am. I am continually recognizing thinking in me that is rotten. Then, it must be removed and replaced with truth and this takes time. Do other people just breeze right through this?'

EDIT - To avoid confusion, the above quote was written by Spitfire. My reply is where it originally appeared on P1 in 'We seldom use all that Christ has already provided for us.' (Lounge)

 2005/6/19 10:46
lastblast
Member



Joined: 2004/10/16
Posts: 528
Michigan

 Re: Battles in the mind

Quote:
I am continually recognizing thinking in me that is rotten. Then, it must be removed and replaced with truth and this takes time. Do other people just breeze right through this?'



Nope Dorcas, I think most of us do not "breeze right through".........it is a PAINFUL process---to see ourselves in the right light, to actually see the truth behind what motivates us and our own sinful thinking (which is based upon our disgusting/sinful self-justifying flesh).

When I was typing this a picture came to mind-----one of a slave which is finally set free after years of bondage. What is the feeling of the slave? I'm sure for most there is joy unspeakable, yet, I'm sure there were other feelings as well: fear (of the unknown), fear (of change), fear (how will others look at me), fear (how will I survive this "free" life?).

So I think the truth of the matter is that with freedom(Truth) comes all those things-----and the thing we can't escape when the Truth finds us is CHANGE........we cannot remain the same, in outward appearance as well as inward beliefs. But, but, but..........we do know this, when He makes us free (through the truth we are no longer under bondage---to sin, error, deceit)......it is HE who orders our steps and empowers us to get through the difficult times associated with freedom.........and we are surely blessed..... In Him, Cindy


_________________
Cindy

 2005/6/19 11:43Profile
Spitfire
Member



Joined: 2004/8/3
Posts: 633


 Re: Battles in the mind

Quote:
Are our mental problems only because of the Fall and sin?


Dorcas, I'm finding that many of my "mental problems" stem from having such a wrong concept of God. You know, satan's job is to discredit the character of God. He began right from the getgo by suggesting to Eve that God's motives and character could not be trusted. So...she partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. From this point on, mankind has had to deal with the spiritual death of eating and operating from that tree. I find myself everyday operating out of my own human reasoning in order to make my way through the maze of human existence on this planet. The sad thing is, God has provided a way for me to exit that matrix. His way is that we should not live according to the spirit of this world which is a slavedriver to things temporal. Love not the world, neither the things of the world. Love the Lord your God...you cannot serve two masters, either you will hate the one and love the other. I believe God wants us to let go of our earthly desires and live unto him and then so much of the anxiety of life will disappear.

When I am striving for earthly things like money and security, I become anxious, so I have to find ways to comfort myself, which for me, oftentimes has been daydreaming, fantisizing, looking at God like he's some kind of sugar daddy who wouldn't think of letting his little girl hit rough waters. How foolish! Now that I know the truth, I've had to deal with the reality that my christian walk may actually carry me into martyrdom, and at least suffering and pain. And how to find joy in that?! I've tried to have the best of both worlds, and it has definetely made me unstable as the scripture says, "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."

I know I'm gaining strength to run the race that is set before me. Through the truth of God's word, my mind is being renewed and I know that, before long, I'll be rooted and grounded and able to prove what that good and acceptable and perfect will of God is for me. Love, Dian.

 2005/6/19 17:19Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Quote:
Are our mental problems only because of the Fall and sin?

I'm finding that many of my "mental problems" stem from having such a wrong concept of God.

Do other people just breeze right through this?'

I think most of us do not "breeze right through".........it is a PAINFUL process---to see ourselves in the right light, to actually see the truth behind what motivates us and our own sinful thinking (which is based upon our disgusting/sinful self-justifying flesh).



This is how I feel often.

I think this question of mental health and it's link to a "correct concept" of God is a good topic to be honest with. Would I be wrong in observing that there is an unspoken assumption that sanctification and mental health are linked? More then once I have even heard that "inner healing" is just another expression for sanctification.

The element that I would like to contribute to this thread, as we commit to being truthful about our disgustingness is compassio. (with-suffering) I don't think we should let holiness theology become the theology of cynicism towards humanity. This is understandable, since the heart, where reasoning is said to take place...is deceitful and not to be trusted. How often do we allow our hearts to deceive us regarding our own humanity...that somehow being set free from sin means that we are now "unfallen." Any notion linking mental health to a correct cognitive aproach to God falls apart in the face of a single mentally handicapped child. (I do not say this preaching...just pointing out.)

I'm not sure if this precious topic was started with mentally handicapped people in mind. ...but any picture that attempts to link sanctification and mental health should be able to include them. The few handicapped children I I personally know have shown me something about holiness.
...and myself for that matter. :roll:

Last month, two different Christian friends of mine went into the hospital under mental exaction or nervous breakdowns. Neither of these mature Christians knows each other...but they had very healthy concepts of God. Furthermore they were faithful to their families and their churches. Yesterday they were pillars...today everything is uncertain for them and their families. Though we may have correct concepts of God, we are still fallen creatures.

Martin Luther comes to mind...a popular idea of Luther is that once he discovered "Justification by Faith" all of his mental torments were vanquished. I don't think this is true...His theology was never rationalistic or systematic. He never looked for the certainty of concepts as much as he looked for consolation in Christ.

I believe Luther was talking about all the correct concepts he ever had about God when he penned his very last written words.

We are beggars, that's true.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/6/19 20:40Profile









 Re:

Quote:
I think this question of mental health is a good topic to be honest with. Would I be wrong in observing that there is an unspoken assumption that sanctification and mental health are linked? More then once I have even heard that "inner healing" is just another expression for sanctification.


I have never heard this put into words. Is it? Personally, I don't think so, although I can see that at times they may be close. I don't think the terms are interchangeable.

Quote:
The element that I would like to contribute to this thread, as we commit to being truthful about our disgustingness is [i]compassio[/i]. (with-suffering)


I have a hard time with words like 'disgustingness'. I think I've been there, but, to continue to think 'I am disgusting' kinda militates against Jesus thinking I'm worth dying for. I've worked hard to come round to His way of thinking on this and to be willing to get my skeletons out of the cupboard as fast as I am able, to have Him deal with them however. Some of this has required deeply cleansing repentance. Some other has required deeply soul-knitting physical and emotional healing. I'm still opening cupboard doors, as yet - with Him present every time.

Quote:
We should be careful not to let holiness theology become the theology of cynicism towards humanity.


I need help here; 'holiness theology' and 'cynicism towards humanity'? Please could someone define the former for me and the latter will probably make sense? Thank you, anyone.

Quote:
Yesterday they were pillars...today everything is uncertain


God is able to meet each of them in their own personal darkness. Healing is definitely possible, but it takes time. However, it is worth holding out for. The big temptation of those 'outside' is to offer to supply help that is not being asked for, or, not to supply the help (if any) which is being asked for. Either way, outsiders are spared from [i]truly[/i] engaging. At times, this is better than not being content to 'be' and continually trying to 'do'. I'm not sure if I should apologise for sounding pompous. Things my own need for 'inner healing' have taught me are, one is long on desperation, short on patience and, generally unsociable while the work gets done!

 2005/6/19 21:17
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Quote:
I have never heard this put into words. Is it? Personally, I don't think so, although I can see that at times they may be close. I don't think the terms are interchangeable.



I've heard a pastor try to explain "inner healing" by saying it just a new word for sanctification. I know that is not the heartbeat of most of the folks here. The reasoning put forth is that once your mind is cleansed your will not only have a right concept of God, but of yourself as well.

The connection (faulty in my view) between sanctification and mental health may not be popularly recognized, but I believe it is latent in many ways we talk about "cleansing repentance," or "correct concepts of God."

Quote:
I have a hard time with words like 'disgustingness'. I think I've been there, but, to continue to think 'I am disgusting' kinda militates against Jesus thinking I'm worth dying for.



Bless you! :-)

Quote:
I need help here; 'holiness theology' and 'cynicism towards humanity'? Please could someone define the former for me and the latter will probably make sense? Thank you, anyone.



Well, I tried to create a broad term to include various theological attitudes on personal holiness. Perhaps too broad...I don't know. My purpose was to make sure that the mental problems we experience are real and not the results of inhuman expectations. I was meaning that particular school of theology that seems to assert sinless human perfection is the pentacostal birthright of every true Christian. I wasn't so worried about discussing that birthright per se as much as how this perspective, can leave one with a cynicism that wants to reveal sin more then reveal Jesus. I did not mean that as a critique of holiness theology...just an observation of it's misuses. If you haven't seen this shortcoming of traditional holiness doctrine then you are fortunate.

Quote:
God is able to meet each of them in their own personal darkness. Healing is definitely possible, but it takes time.



I'm not sure that we aren't right back at the top of this post. I think "Healing", as is associated with "inner healing", is a concept that touches on mental/emotional health concepts while perhaps also touching many traditional Christian doctrines including assurance, and sanctification.

What do you think?

Perhaps, a firm definition of the term could be helpful in this thread.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/6/19 22:25Profile
dohzman
Member



Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 THE THEATRE OF THE MIND

2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2Co 10:6 And having in a readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.




Sometimes it would serve us well if we would slow down and consider what it is that we'er experiencing, feeling, thinking,whatever and ask , does this or that line up with scripture. Then simply bring that---whatever it is ---captive and worship God with obedience to His Written Word.


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D.Miller

 2005/6/20 0:55Profile
Spitfire
Member



Joined: 2004/8/3
Posts: 633


 Re: Huh?

Quote:
Neither of these mature Christians knows each other...but they had very healthy concepts of God.


I'm just gonna be honest here and say how I really think having been someone who crashed and burned about 10 years ago. You are not a mature Christian if you are having a "nervous breakdown". You may think you are. Others may think you are, but the facts are now telling the truth. This flies in the face of everything in the word of God. If we can't have stability and peace in the face of [i]every[/i] circumstance, then what is our hope? What is our testimony to the world who is having a nervous breakdown?

You know how people will say, "If God would send people to hell who haven't heard the gospel, then he isn't just."? To me, they are defining God by their own human reasoning. To say I'm a mature Christian in spite of the fact that I'm falling apart emotionally, is to define "mature Christian" by my own human reasoning. A mature Christian is defined by God.

This is one of my most favorite writings by Oswald Chambers:
"God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us, now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him. There are spots where that faith has not worked in us as yet, places untouched by the life of God. There were none of those spots in Jesus Christ's life, and there are to be none in ours. "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee." [i]The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering.[/i] If we take this view, life becomes one great romance, a glorious opportunity for seeing marvelous things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power."

A mature Christian is someone who is abandoned to the will of God. It's someone who is dead, nevertheless he lives, yet not he, but Christ lives in him. A dead person doesn't have a nervous breakdown. Love, Dian.

 2005/6/20 6:15Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Quote:
I'm just gonna be honest here and say how I really think having been someone who crashed and burned about 10 years ago. You are not a mature Christian if you are having a "nervous breakdown"...What is our testimony to the world who is having a nervous breakdown?



Dian,

First off I appreciate your honesty here.

We can readily agree that there is a relationship between stability and faith. We are given His peace, not as the world gives, but as only He can give.

Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that the people I was talking about were mature Christians. One of them, a woman in her early 70's has demonstrated most of her life the peace and love of God, the faithfulness to the Word, and the daily dying to self that today's religion knows little of. Only the Lord knows the secrets of our souls, but for us to say that her nervous breakdown proves her immaturity is problematic and perhaps even contributive to her problem.

Now if we say that only mentally stable Christians are proven to be mature then what do we say for those in ministry that are burned out...crushed by the needs of those less mature Christians in their care? Do the less developed believers, conclude that their pastors were afterall...immature?

What do we say about those unbelievers who never experience mental breakdowns?

The crisis you experienced ten years ago gives you special insight to this issue. Yet, as I read your testimony of it's cause, I am tempted to think that the reason I have never experienced similar problems, is because I must be spiritually mature! :eek:

Even if God views us as mature, mature Christians can have crisis'. The Lord may find, even in the most stable of us, one more area to touch...to apply pressure to the clay. Isn't the mind part physical? Can't our physical state fail, even though the Spirit in us will not?

Again, I'm not wanting to say there is no benifit from taking every thought captive, needlessly carrying our own burdens without prayer and trust. There is great benifit! I'm just wondering if we are more fragile then we care to admit.

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our Sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilige to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear –
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2005/6/20 10:03Profile
Agent001
Member



Joined: 2003/9/30
Posts: 386
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 TAS Quote

On the issue of mental/nervous breakdowns (and many other physical and mental weaknesses) in Christians (young or mature), T. Austin-Sparks said,

Quote:
First of all we must refer to that very real and painful experience into which many—even of God's children—pass by reason of physical and mental injury. There is the 'nervous breakdown', and there is neurasthenia; there is anaemia, and blood-pressure. Not invariably, but more often than not, these maladies are made an occasion for the enemy to make cruel assaults. There is the terrific sense of—is it too strong to say?—devilishness within. The most wicked person alive could not be more wicked than such sufferers feel and believe themselves to be at times. Not only do they feel this, but at times they speak and act out of harmony with a truly Christlike disposition. Then, with one of these maladies at least, there is an extra factor; it is that of secondary personality—the sense of another presence as being in the immediate offing. We need not enlarge upon this. [b]Many, sadly enough, know all about it; and if any who read this have no experience of this kind or with such sufferers, let them thank God, but not pass hasty judgment.[/b] Then what of that fact, which it is not pleasant to mention, but has to be recognized—the drive to self-destruction, which, alas, has not always been overcome? [b]We cannot say with truth that these are conditions which lie outside of the experience of true children of God. We have known the most godly and saintly to suffer thus.[/b]



Even mature Christians are not immune to such problems, just as Christians are not immune to any other kind of illnesses.

It is a well-known fact that [b]Charles H. Spurgeon[/b] for a long time was given to bouts with depression. [b]Hannah Whitall Smith[/b], who wrote [i]A Christian's Secret to a Happy Life[/i], did not live a happy one because of harsh conditions in life. [b]Evans Roberts[/b] (husband of Jessie Penn-Lewis), well known for his role in the Welch Revival, suffered from a nervous breakdown after the Revival. I say this not to pass judgment, but in thanksgiving, because God uses these saints, as broken as they seem at times, to richly minister to us. As Spurgeon himself said, [i]"The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy."[/i]

Might I add that the great prophet [b]Elijah[/b], after his spectacular showdown with the prophets of Baal, experienced what seem to be symptoms of depression or breakdown almost immediately afterward. He was in extreme fear when Jezebel threatened to kill him, escaped, and eventually even sought to die. (But of course, God turned him around and gave him new insight through his 'still, small voice'.)

I believe in the power of the gospel and of our Lord, but I also understand that the full manifestation of the life of Christ in us will not happen until we see him face to face. Today, we are also prone to weaknesses and frailties, and I think more compassion should be exercised when we find Christians, yes, even the ones we look up to, in such conditions. If we do not humbly and properly see the vulnerability in our humanity, it will be very easy for us to become disillusioned.


_________________
Sam

 2005/6/20 11:16Profile





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