What I Believe

As I sit here behind my computer screen, I often wonder who will find their way to my blog. Some of you are friends from Facebook, Linked In or other social networks and some of you are perfect strangers from who knows where! No matter, here you are and I give you a hearty, “Welcome!” As you can tell, this blog is about my spiritual journey living with someone with clinical depression and how that has affected my world and my view of God.

Some of you have no idea, after reading a post or two, what in the world I am talking about when I say that God whispered to my heart or that His words came alive to me. Not only do you have no idea what I'm talking about, but you may think I’m the one with a mental illness :)!

Then, there are others of you who have some understanding of God. You may view Him as an aloof, spiritual being somewhere in the cosmos, but you have never had a personal encounter with Him. You may even think that sounds a little “extra-terrestrial”, am I right?

Lastly, there are those of you who have encountered God in one way or another and your spiritual walk is somewhere on a continuum from cold and dead to alive and vibrant.

Wherever you find yourself in the descriptions above, we all find ourselves on a journey through life. Life is a sacred journey, a spiritual journey. God is a spiritual being, that is true. No one has ever seen God, but he has made Himself know to us because we are created in His image. We are spiritual beings and God desperately longs for us to know Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Who is God, anyway? God is the creator and the sustainer of the universe. He created everything in the world, including you and me and because He created us, He knows everything about us (John 4:29). He knows what fills our heart with joy and He knows what causes us to grieve. Yet, we were created for just one purpose and that purpose is to have fellowship with Him.

Unfortunately, we cannot have fellowship with Him in our present condition because God cannot have fellowship with unholy beings. However, He has made a way for us to have fellowship with him, by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to reconcile us to Himself. Because Jesus was completely holy and sinless, He sacrificed His life, taking our un-holiness, nailing it to the cross and dying in our place, so that our fellowship with God could be restored. And the best part is that God raised Jesus from the dead and now He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, in Heaven, praying for you and for me that we will believe! Now, under those conditions, we are able to come into the presence of a Holy God.

Alas, there is another step. You must believe! Believe that Jesus is who he said He was, the perfect Son of God, and you must receive His holiness into your life. "How?", you say. Simply, by expressing to God, through prayer, the desire of your heart.

Here is a prayer, very similar to the one I prayed to express the desire of my heart to God . You can use my words or express your own:

“Heavenly Father, I understand there are things in my life that have separated me from you. I want to open the door of my heart and receive your holiness into my life. I believe that Jesus is your Son that you sent to die in my place so that my fellowship with you can be restored. This is the desire of my heart. Amen”

If you just prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I have to tell you, you have just made the single most important decision of your life! More important that who you marry, more important than bringing children into the world! You have just passed from death to life. This is the day of your re-birth. Your first birth was of blood and water, this is your second birth, the birth of your spirit!!! No fireworks, no hoopla, just a beautiful, spiritual birth.

Can it really be that simple? Yes, quite simple! This is the first step in your new spiritual journey. Take off your shoes, my friend, the place where you are standing is Holy Ground!

You are now spiritually alive, a child of the King of Kings, with full inheritance!!! “So, what do I do now?”, you may ask. First, tell somebody - tell me, please! I want to rejoice with the angels over you! Secondly, find a Scripture-based church where you can bloom and grow. Thirdly, follow the example of Jesus in the waters of baptism. Lastly, take your shovel, and dig into the Word of God (see Year In Review) and God will speak to you.
This is what I believe about Mental Illness:
I have come to realize that the apostle Paul was speaking to every believer, including me, when he said,

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:11 & 12)

My own journey into the reality of the dark side did not come by choice.  Even though I had been a Christian for many years, I was never curious about demonic activity or the occult.  The lure of this knowledge and occultic power never appealed to me.

On the other hand, I was on an intense search for understanding as to why my husband was so depressed and my search one day lead me to Ephesians 4:26 which says,
 "In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold". 
It was as if I heard the voice of God, not an audible voice, mind you, but that quiet voice that speaks into the depths of your soul.  He said, "Your struggle is not against your husband, but against the spiritual forces of evil".

In his book Bondage BreakerNeil Anderson explains a misconception we have been duped into believing, "What the early church called demonic activity we now understand to be mental illness.  Terms such as depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, psychosis and so on are merely labels classifying symptoms.  But what or who is causing the symptoms?  Is the cause spiritual, psychological, hormonal, or a neurological imbalance?  Certainly all these options must be explored.  But what if no physical or psychological cause is found"?

He continues, "We should not be surprised when secular psychologists limited to a natural worldview attempt to offer natural explanations for mental problems.  Their worldview does not include God or Satan.  Even many Christians who vociferously reject the scientific community's explanation for the origin of the species naively accept the secular psychologist's explanation of mental illness.  Research based on the scientific method of investigation of human spiritual problems is not wrong; it's just incomplete.  It ignores the influence of the spiritual world, because neither God nor the devil submit to our methods of investigation.  We need to learn to distinguish between organic or psychological mental illness and a spiritual battle for the mind.  Depression is a body, soul and spirit problem that requires a balanced body, soul and spirit answer".

I believe our problems are both psychological and spiritual.  Neil Anderson goes on to say, "There is no inner conflict which is not psychological because there is never a time when your mind, emotions and will are not involved.  Similarly, there is no problem which is not spiritual.  There is no time when God is not present".

I have finally accepted the fact that the spiritual world is just as real as the natural world, "for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18), nor is there any time when is is safe to take off the armor of God.  With this in mind, I was able to stop polarizing toward medical and psychological answers only and face the fact my husband and I were in spiritual bondage.

The battle is real!  Much of what is being passed off today as mental illness is nothing more than a battle for our minds.  But take hope,
"for though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ".
Freedom from spiritual bondage and conflicts is not a power encounter with evil spiritual forces; it's a truth encounter.  Satan is a deceiver, and he will work undercover at all costs.  But the truth of God's Word (the Sword of the Spirit - the Bible) exposes him and his lies.  He and his demons are like roaches that scurry for the shadows when the light comes on.  So, let's out-truth him with the Light of the World!  Sword Fight!!!