1 Corinthians 2, 2 Corinthians 3:18, 2 Timothy 1:7, Christians and antidepressants, Dr. Candace Pert, Dr. Caroline Leaf, Dr. John Sarno, Ephesians 5:26, Ephesians 6, Full Armor of God, Renewing the Mind, Rick Renner, Romans 12:2, Sound Mind, The Helmet of Salvation, The Mind of Christ
Imagine with me for a second that you have no bad memories. It’s not that nothing bad ever happened to you, but you don’t remember anything bad. You don’t remember that someone hurt you, slighted you, or was unkind to you. You can’t recall that someone gossiped about you or was abusive emotionally, physically, sexually, or otherwise. Like a victim of amnesia, it’s not that something did not happen to you in the past, there’s just no memory of it and no emotion associated with it. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine not feeling the pain of a memory? Can you imagine that memory gone? Can you imagine the pain gone? The depression’s gone, the anger is gone, the frustration, the fear. Can you imagine what you’d be like without that pain? Without that memory? Just imagine…
I’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies (they’re like eating junk food–not a lot of substance, addictive and can make you sick–LOL) these days and a popular theme appears to be that of “amnesia.” It’s incredible to watch how a person had been controlling or confused before, BUT after hitting their head and losing their memory, they are now more relaxed and calm. BEFORE they were angry, now they are forgiving and kind. They WERE workaholic, now they have time for family and friends. They WERE successful and rich, now they don’t know it and don’t care about fortune or fame. It seems that in these fictional stories that with the loss of memory and the emotions associated with that priorities become more clear and what really matters stands out.
You see, our memories and their accompanying emotions are what make us who we are. Each memory has an emotion attached to it so that each time you remember that memory, that same emotion attached to that event is relived when you access that memory. In other words, you feel and relive that memory every time you think about it. So, if we lost those bad memories and therefore, those bad emotions too, we would be different….wouldn’t we? We wouldn’t snap anymore when someone questions us or freeze with fear when faced with a decision or get moody when someone in particular walks into a room or eat too much chocolate when depressed or nitpick when things aren’t the way we think they ought to be or hide in our room when worried.
Memories however, don’t just go away like that. They and their emotions linger and literally gain a stronghold in our minds. And the bad emotions attached to those bad memories have very physical manifestations in our bodies.
I haven’t just been watching lots of Hallmark Christmas movies, but have been reading books by neuroscientists and doctors of medicine concerning the mind/body connection. Scientific researchers have discovered that upwards to 87% of diseases are caused by our negative emotions and thoughts. Our emotions may be unseen, but they have a very real physical manifestation. This is because emotions cause the body to release very real chemicals and hormones into our bodies, and these can either change us physically for better or for worse. Because of this, pharmaceutical companies have come up with drugs to alter the brain by the creation of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
Therefore, what we think and feel are hugely important!! Our thinking does not just stay in our heads. Our emotions do not simply stay put in our hearts. Our thinking and feeling affects our bodies in very real ways when not dealt with properly. This is not a theory. This is not a guess. This is a scientific fact.
This is why God says in Romans 12:2 that we are to, “…not [be] conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
We have been learning about the full armor of God. We have learned that we are in a very real spiritual war, and we have been given spiritual weapons to battle the enemy of our souls. We have learned that we’ve been given a helmet, the helmet of Salvation for the protection of our minds. By Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross those who believe on Him are instantly, spiritually “born again”. Thus we are immediately spiritually saved (at a set date in our past). Furthermore, by His resurrection we are offered future hope of bodily resurrection, thus our physical salvation. Thirdly, there is the daily salvation of our minds. We are saved spiritually, will be saved physically and are being saved mentally/emotionally.
Like amnesia patients act differently when memories are forgotten through a blow to the head, Christians are to be “transformed by the renewing” of the mind. To “renew” the mind means that it is to be made new again, to be renovated, “to renew qualitatively.”* As an old building is renovated, even so, our minds are to be renovated. A renovated building looks different than it first looked because it is restored to another form, and may function in another capacity. Like, an old firehouse when renovated no longer looks like the firehouse. Instead, it is turned into a coffee shop and art gallery. At one time the building was the old firehouse, but it is now renovated into a different form; instead of hoses and firetrucks there is now an espresso machine and paintings on the walls. The old building was not torn down and then another put in its place; it’s still the old building, but it is now made of a different quality and for a different purpose. This is the “renewing” spoken of here in Romans 12:2. We do not do this “renewing,” but rather, it is done to us by God.
When we are renewed in our minds by God, we are transformed.** The word in the Greek for transformed is metamorphoo, meaning, “to be transfigured, to change one’s form.” This happened to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17 and Mark 9 when He radiated and glowed with a supernatural, heavenly appearance of light. Even so, we are being radiantly “transfigured” and “changed in form” as our minds are “renewed in quality.”
God has given us the Spirit of a “sound” mind (2 Timothy1:7). To condense the meaning of this amazing “soundness of mind”, it means, “safe in mind.”*** But there’s more to it than that. This safety of the mind also has to do with “wholeness, preservation from danger, loss and destruction, and deliverance”. According to Rick Renner, “When the words sodzo and phroneo are compounded into one word, they form the word sophroneo, which pictures a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, and protected and is now safe and secure. Thus, even if your mind is tempted to succumb to fear…you can allow God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to work in you to deliver, rescue, revive, and salvage your mind. This means your rationale, logic, and emotions can be shielded from the illogically absurd, ridiculous, unfounded, and crazy thoughts that have tried to grip your mind in the past. All you have to do is grab hold of God’s Word and His Spirit…Second Timothy 1:7 could be translated:
“God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love — He has given you a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, protected, and brought into a place of safety and security so that it is no longer affected by illogical, unfounded, and absurd thoughts.”
You see, when your mind is guarded by the Word of God, you think differently. When the Word of God is allowed to work in your mind, it safeguards your emotions; it defends your mind from demonic assault; and it shields you from arrows the enemy may try to shoot in your direction in order to arouse a spirit of fear inside you.”
Over the last 20 years, antidepressant use has risen 400% in the United States according to phychcentral.com.**** The body of Christ is riddled with this sickness too. The body of Christ is on anti-depressants. The body of Christ is on anti-anxiety drugs. As Saint Augustine once said, “the Church is a hospital for sinners”.
But, the Church is not supposed to remain sickly conformed to the deformed, depressed, angry, worried, fearful image of the world, for we have been given the helmet of salvation and the Spirit of a “sound mind”. We have the helmet of wholeness, the helmet of a new beginning, the helmet of preservation from wrong thoughts, the helmet of safety and of security. It is the helmet of renewal, renovation, and right thinking. It is the helmet that shields us from destructive mindsets and poisonous emotions. It is a helmet that enables us to change our form and be transfigured from the earthly to the spiritual, from darkness to light.
No matter what memories we have, no matter what we’ve been through or are going through, God is still in the transforming and renewing ministry. The helmet is not so old that is is out-dated or obsolete, but rather, is still powerful enough to save and make us completely whole in our minds if we’ll allow Him to do so. He longs to “sanctify and cleanse” us “with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26), to change us into the image of Christ “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). So, let’s not keep allowing for toxic emotions and memories to rule us when we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2). We just need to eagerly take hold of the helmet and put it on!
End Notes and Sources:
*The Complete Word Study Dictionary, pg. 151, anakainosis #342 from #341 anakainoo which is in turn from two words ana (#303) “again” and kainos “qualitatively new” (#2537),
pg. 804 kainos (#2537) meaning, “qualitatively new” as compared to neos (#3501) “temporarily new”, and pg. 1007 under the term neos (#3501) kainos is also described as “novel or strange”, “The kainon is the heteron (#2087), another of a different kind, the qualitatively new”.
**The Complete Word Study Dictionary, pg 968,# 3339, metamorphoo, “To transform, transfigure, change one’s form” from meta #3326 “a change of place or condition” and morphoo #3445 “to form”. Used in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2 of Jesus’ transfiguration).
***Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Rick Renner http://www.renner.org/mind/what-does-it-mean-to-have-a-sound-mind/, and The Complete Word Study Dictionary, pg 1362-1363 and 1353 and 1454. Sophronos comes from two words, sozo (4982) “to save, deliver, make whole, safe from danger,” and phren (5424) which has to do with the diaphragm and breathing (the diaphragm determines one’s breaths and thus also has to do with the spirit and emotions) which was believed to have to do with the seat of mental and emotional activity and had to do with the ability to think and to control one’s thoughts and attitudes.
Other sources include:
Who Switched Off My Brain? by Dr. Caroline Leaf
Mind Over Back Pain, by Dr. John Sarno
Molecules of Emotion, by Dr. Candace Pert
Sparkling Gems from the Greek, the website of minister Rick Renner, http://www.renner.org/