February 2, 2021

The Gospel and Mental Health: Spiritual Attack

Chris Cipollone writes: “In my experience, one of the most difficult things when dealing with the pain of mental illness is that our mental and spiritual health are so closely intertwined.”

In other words, our mental health impacts our spiritual health and our spiritual health impacts our mental health. Therefore, it’s hard to know where one begins and the other ends. They are that closely aligned. This makes it difficult because it’s hard to know exactly what help we need on a day-to-day basis.

However, what is clear from Scripture is that we are in a spiritual battle. Paul reminds us that we do not battle against flesh and blood, but evil spiritual forces.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

(Eph. 6:12)

Satan Takes Advantage

That means Satan is at work in those who struggle with mental health, just as is the case with any other Christian who may not face mental health battles. Now, don’t mishear what I’m saying. I’m not saying that your mental health is primarily caused by Satan. In an earlier blog, I addressed that we have fallen minds because we live in a fallen world.

But what I mean is that Satan is in the background sowing lies and deceit. He loves to take advantage of what’s already broken, seeking to cause further damage. He is actively at work, accusing us of our past sin and telling us that we’re worthless. Satan uses our warped sense of reality to drive us deeper into lies we are already believing.

Again Chris Cipollone helpfully writes: “The very nature of depression and anxiety are that they tell us lies about what is real, and what is not. In my own case, mental illness has told me lies such as these:

  • My life is never going to amount to anything.
  • I’ve got nothing to be thankful for.
  • I don’t know if God is even there.
  • I’m always going to feel this way.
  • I am unloveable.”

I wonder: Have you ever thought these things in your life? I wonder if you are thinking these things today? These are thoughts that we battle with daily when we struggle with mental health.

At its core, we battle with these things because our brains are not quite balanced. There is a general physical brokenness. But as Christians, we need to remember that these are also lies that Satan sows. He is the accuser. He twists God’s Word. He wants to rob us of joy and peace.

To Whom Will You Listen?

And that is why it’s important to listen daily, not to the twisted logic of our mental health, or the lies that Satan sows, but the truth of God’s Word. The Bible tells us that Satan, our enemy, has been defeated by the cross of Christ, and one day he will be thrown into the lake of fire. Therefore, as Christians, the victory in our spiritual battle has already been secured. We need to rest in the finished work of Christ on our behalf. We need to daily renew our minds with the perfect Word of God.

If you are in an almighty battle today with negative thoughts and twisted logic, then turn to God’s Word and remind yourself of the truth again. Remind yourself that God loves you, that He hasn’t abandoned you, that He is there, and that there are many things to be thankful for today, not least your salvation.

Pray against the attack of Satan and that you will be able to look up from the stubborn darkness you are feeling to see the glorious light of Christ. Satan is at work, but remember brothers and sisters, to stand firm in the Lord and in His mighty power.

This article is part of an ongoing series on mental health and the gospel. See other installments in the series—on brokenness, feelings, and hopelessness.

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