Attaining and Retaining Mental Health

September 14, 2022

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 John 1:2 NLT

The Bible is a tremendous gift to us in living life because it is so practical. In the stories told and the directives given we find practices that will lead us to attaining and retaining strong mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Yesterday we considered living in the message of Christ, finding community with “helpers,” and cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

A healthy thought life is also essential. Philippians 4:8 tells us to fix our minds on the right thoughts. That will mean we treat our thought life like driving a car on a curvy mountain road. We don’t just leave it on cruise control. We constantly have our hands on the wheel. We are making sure we make course corrections moment by moment. We purposely turn away from negative and destructive thoughts. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Taking breaks to intentionally focus on spiritual matters is central to our health. Jesus exampled that for us. Even though He was God Himself, He took breaks from the busyness of life to focus on uninterrupted time with His Father. He called His disciples to do the same (Mark 6:31). We see Him over and over inviting them to come with Him away from the crowds to spend time with Him and the Father. If we never get away from the crowd and alone with God, we will eventually be stripped of strength.

Paul acknowledges that spiritual self-care and exercise is necessary, but he also says physical exercise is helpful (1 Timothy 4:8). In Paul’s day bodily exercise was naturally easier to come by because they had no vehicles, and most places they traveled on foot. But he spent weeks at a time on board ships and many, many days in prison. No doubt he became very aware of the toll little to no exercise took on his spirit and mental health. Paul was such a disciplined, wise, and godly man, I would love to have a peek inside those cells to see what he did to get some exercise. We know that when he and Silas were in shackles in prison they encouraged themselves and each other by singing worship songs (Acts 16)!

We have resources to improve our mental and emotional health. They won’t work unless we choose to work them.

  • What resources do you need to begin using in your life consistently that you are not employing regularly? What will you change?