4 Ways to Understand the Mind of Christ in Depression or Anxiety
4 Ways to Understand the Mind of Christ in Depression or Anxiety
"We have the mind of Christ." - 1 Corinthians 2:16
What does it mean to have the MIND of Christ, but struggle with a MENTAL health challenges like depression, anxiety, or other related challenges? Let's review four keys to discover an encouraging Biblical perspective that relates to depression, anxiety, and other mental health stressors.
1. The mind of Christ is a truth perspective about you.
"Now, we have not received the spirit of the world, but rather the Spirit who is from God, that we might KNOW the things freely given to us by God." - 1 Corinthians 2:12
Depression and anxiety (or other mental health stressors) can cloud our emotions and thoughts, which makes it hard to "build up your most holy faith" to keep believing Him. It can feel like it is taking every ounce of life to keep believing. However, having the mind of Christ is not a spiritual goal or objective, it is more about our inherent identity in Christ. It is knowing what we have freely received in Him and how that empowers our lives.
The mind of Christ is an opportunity to see the Father as Christ sees Him. Then, how the Father sees Christ, which ultimately is how He sees you. We are now part of His fullness with all spiritual favor/blessings (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:3-4; Colossians 1:27). The mind of Christ speaks to His love and Spirit at rest within us ... a full satisfaction of being fully graced as children of God (John 1:12, 16). Friends, you can rest knowing that when the mental health stressors cloud your faith and you are trying to believe in Him, you can rest knowing that He believes in you.
2. The mind of Christ reassures that you always have His presence.
"...which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words." - 1 Corinthians 2:13
It is common for people living with mental health stressors to feel disconnected or distant from God. That "disconnected" feeling is because of the symptoms, not God separating Himself. Having the mind of Christ means, by His Spirit, you always have constant access to the heart and nature of God ... His presence!
His presence is not an emotion. Despite our emotions, He is at rest within us (John 14:20). His presence always comes with His nature to give and bless (try doing a word study on God's "presence"). Thus, why the apostle James wrote that when we endure trials (yes, this includes mental health difficulties) we can still grow and arise from the ashes, "lacking in nothing." The Apostle Paul encouraged us that we can grow (improve) through our trials because we have Him as our Hope (Romans 5:1-5). Additionally, the Apostle John encouraged us that when we feel lonely with no other Christians who deeply understand or there to guide us, we have the Spirit to teach and guide us (1 John 2:27). Ultimately, Jesus said the Holy Spirit, the COMFORTER, would abide and guide us (John 14:16, 26). We can celebrate because God being distant is a myth ... He will never leave us! That's an incredible resource within. Like you, I'm still learning to fully understand the endless majesty and beauty of this!
3. The Mind of Christ focuses on new life, not failures.
With depression and anxiety comes lots of self-judging and always trying to disqualify yourself from grace (unfortunately religion rules do that, too). This can lead to constant introspection and trying to work back into God's grace. But the mind of Christ is not for sin-management or keeping religious standards (checklist) to somehow will ourselves "to get right with God" or gain more of His blessings or favor. We already have Christ within - how much more favor or blessings can we get than Christ in us (Colossians 2:8-10)? It is rather KNOWING how right we already are with Him and the comfort and grace we have been enriched with (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This means that the mind of Christ can help guide you through any mental health stressor to help renew your mind (perspective), reconstruct your heart (resilience), and realign your life (with creative strengths) for greater, healthier outcomes.
In fact, He will help guide you to the right and healthy people (community) to be part of your journey (I didn't say perfect people). He won't push or pressure, instead He will ignite a grace desire and energy to match His delight for you (Philippians 2:13)! It should feel simple, yet not without some challenge (wherever you are).
The mind of Christ feels more like a nudge on our humanness than the heavens opening with a booming voice and breakthrough miracles.
A woman dealing with depression shared that one morning she was feeling the dark and energy-zapping cloud and she retreated back to the bed and could barely move. However, she had this small, inspiring and loving voice guiding her to get up and go outside for a short walk. She personally recognized this as God's Spirit prompting her, because every other thought overwhelming her was dark! She and this motivating thought knew going for walks always helped her relieve the depression. As she took a walk, the depression didn't completely disappear, but she experienced enough relief to carry out her day instead of returning to bed and calling in sick. My friends, I suggest that's what "the heavens opening up" simply look like in the everyday journey!
This is what we often see within our Family Grace or Living Grace small groups. These curriculums help people discover what grace can look like in their mental health journey - looking through the lens of wholeness and hope, not a "manage the brokenness" thinking.
4. The mind of Christ always reminds you that "you are worthy!"
The mind of Christ means God's mind about you is already made up ... and His thoughts concerning you are always good and pleasing (Colossians 1:12; Psalm 139:17). The mind of Christ will always advocates your redeemed innocence, endorses His love for you, and celebrates that you are His! Mental health stressors can never discount this.
Whether depression, anxiety, or any other mental health diagnosis or circumstance, we have a God who never leaves us to work out our pain on our own. We have a loving God who longs to be gracious to us and to elevate our perspective to a habitation of grace. This grace habitation is in you for the sufficiency of strength and to be revived for greater purpose (Isaiah 57:15). Be patient as you go through the journey because He is patient for you to improve ... He is always saying "you're worth it!"
Let us know what you think about the mind of Christ and how that plays out in someone's life dealing with mental health difficulties. Comment here and our facebook page.
Joe Padilla | The Grace Alliance
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