If you are a believing Christian, you may have heard it said that there is a huge battle for your mind. According to Ephesians 6:12, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness – basically the devil and his angels. Some wrestle not, period. But those who do can be quick to point out that not every sickness is caused by evil spirits.
Most of us who know our Bibles are probably familiar with the story of the man who had the Legion (see the account in Mark chapter 5). He had a mental illness that was clearly demonic. I don’t know how modern psychiatrists would have diagnosed him, but the forces behind his insanity could not be tamed by anyone. Then Jesus came along, cast the devils out, and restored the man to his right mind.
It seems that practically everywhere Jesus went, he cast devils out of people.
“Well, modern medicine has come a long way since then,” some may argue. “We have doctors for these things now. We don’t have to cast out devils.” Even those who agree that devils (or demons) do exist and can influence people will note that mental illness isn’t always spiritual. It can be caused by a chemical imbalance.
Yes, I do agree that chemical imbalances can cause mental illness. Obviously if someone isn’t well mentally, then something is out of balance somewhere. But what is behind the imbalance? Do chemicals alone cause the brain to act a certain way, or might there be a deeper issue at hand? Could chemical imbalances have a spiritual cause?
If the chemicals in your body are out of whack, then something doesn’t feel right. If that something is in your brain, it can cause pain. But where does such pain originate? Well, think of how you feel when you hear a disturbing news report. Your head aches, your stomach churns, your heart may skip a beat. The pot of chemicals in your body start going crazy. It’s like heating up a pot. The more you feed the fever, the more it grows. But what causes it to heat up in the first place?
Ephesians 6:16 speaks of using the shield of faith to extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked. Could those fiery darts be a cause of chemical imbalance, leading to mental instability?
James 3:6 describes the tongue as being a “world of iniquity” set on fire by hell. If that’s not a fiery dart, then I don’t know what is! Angry, unkind words, whether spoken by others or by ourselves, can obviously affect the chemicals in our brain. If we want to be sane, then we need to do like the man who had the Legion: run to Jesus. If we’re desperate, we will make it there. So, don’t give up in your pursuit. He wants to clothe you in His own righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; II Corinthians 5:21) and fill you with His Spirit which is a Spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7)
Our job is to submit ourselves daily to Him, renewing our minds in His Word, according to Romans 12:1-2. As we do this, we can trust that He will set us free!