According to a 2019 article, the mental health of teenagers is at risk. Based upon a recent study, 15% of teenagers seriously consider taking their own life. Another 12% actually make a plan to commit suicide. Nearly 8% of teens make at least one attempt to implement their plan. Meanwhile, 2% of these botched attempts of suicide result in medical intervention. This healthyplace.com piece has motivated me to contemplate sin’s impact on mental health.
For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. 6 Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; 7 the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God, Romans 8:5-8.
According to the apostle Paul, sin’s initial impact influences minds. Human minds serve as a bodies compass. When minds fixate on fleshly desires. decisions gravitate toward pleasing your own body. Meanwhile, individuals whose minds are directed by biblical principles are more likely to listen and obey God’s still small voice via the Holy Spirit. Inside of human beings there is a spiritual gravitational pull, tugging at hearts and minds. The hardest part of this decision making process is that sinful pursuits gradually results in minds actively hostile toward to God.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives? 10 “I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds, Jeremiah 17:9-10.
An Old Testament prophet adds to sin’s impact on mental health in the passage above. Known as the weeping prophet after proclaiming bad news given directly to him from God, Jeremiah reveals another troubling problem. Human hearts are deceitful and extremely sick. Jesus expands upon this diagnosis in Luke 6:43-45. Mouths speak out of the overflow of your heart. Depending upon what your heart stores up inside will reflect your vocabulary, the content of your words. Thus, anyone who holds on to roots of bitterness will negatively influence and impact your mental health.
However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]. 10 If Christ lives in you, though your [natural] body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness [which He provides]. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:9-11.
Based upon the passage above, the apostle Paul points to daily spiritual decisions, who or what are you going to live for? You don’t have to live in bondage to a flesh that craves humanism, whatever feels good must be good. However, those who possess any empty heart, void of any meaning have an option to choose life by becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus. Yet, words mean nothing until you act upon your faith. Therefore, if you are tired of feeling spiritually dead, may the power of the Holy Spirit free you from sin’s impact on mental health.
by Jay Mankus