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  • Writer's pictureAdam O'Neill

Glorifying Christ through mental wellness.

Updated: Aug 3, 2023


Glorifying Christ through mental wellness.
 

Article Summary:

  • Our mental health impacts our thoughts of God, our speech and our behavior toward others.

  • Being mentally well helps us interact with the body (the Church) most effectively

  • Mental health makes us more effectively use our talents/gifts for the Kingdom of God.

 

In her nineties, my Swedish great-grandmother stood a head and a half shorter than I, as the years took their toll on her spine and stature. In her physical body and in the orientation of her heart she embodied the words of the Psalm, “My eyes are not raised too high.” While pouring Sunday coffee I can hear her admonish me, “Just one life, soon shall pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.”


No message could be so countercultural to our pleasure-seeking, status-earning, materialistic, naturalistic world. Even the messages of popular psychology reflect this. It’s about happiness, pleasure, and indiscriminate relief of suffering. If my great-grandmother’s words are true, only a psychology rooted in glorification of Christ is worth anything at all. Only an eternal perspective of present suffering that places Christ at the center is sufficient.


How is Christ glorified through our pursuit of mental health?


First, our thought life matters to God because it influences our thoughts of Him, our speech, and our behavior.


A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think of God is the most important thing about us.” Our thought life matters to God because it influences our view of Him, and through this, our relationship to Him. In our relationship to Him, Christ is glorified. “I (Jesus) have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me…” (John 17:6).


Our thought life matters to God because it influences how we speak. Jesus points to the Pharisees’ speech as evidence of their corrupt inner thought life, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (v34). Heart here is a translation from the Greek καρδίας (kardia) which also refers to the mind, character, and inner-self.


Our thought life matters to God because it influences our behavior. The connection between thoughts and behavior is the cornerstone of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Proverbs echoes this, “For as a man thinks, so is he” (23:7).


Second, our psychology impacts how we interact with the church.


Our mental health impacts how we respond in conflict, of which there is no shortage in any community of believers. Doing life together in community is not easy; responding well from a place of mental wellness helps us reach that place where “brothers dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1).


Our mental health impacts how we participate in communal activities like worship, small group, and acts of service. We were meant to do “life together” in this way. Mental health insures that we can join together in worship, study, and serve together well.


Finally, through mental health we become more effective for the Kingdom of God.


Paul’s instruction in Romans 12, “to be transformed by the renewing of our mind,” has a purpose “that we may discern God’s will” (v2). Ultimately, our glorification of Christ reaches its culmination in obedience to God’s will and use of our talents for His service. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15) and later, “’Do you love me? ...’feed my sheep’” (John 21:17).


In your pursuit of mental health, orient your progress toward the only thing that matters, the only thing that lasts, the only sufficient explanation for pain and suffering: that Christ may be glorified.


Visit www.aoavirginia.com for more mental health and Christian psychiatry resources.



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