Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today we're beginning a short series on developing a healthy mind.
Today's speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, President of Bob Jones University. This morning I'd like to speak on the theme of just a foundation for solid, healthy thinking, developing a healthy mind. And so as we begin this morning, as we talk about our theme, and of course specifically I'm looking at it from a biblical worldview, a healthy mind. I don't have a problem with the phrase mental health, but it's more coming from the secular world. And as we look at the Bible, I think we see it a little differently, definitely, and that is the development of a healthy mind.
So let me begin with some questions this morning. First of all, is mental health a big issue today among college students? Well, the data online is limitless from the secular college world. Currently, there are 22 million young people today who are enrolled in US colleges and universities. The survey was done by Boston University researchers, and the name of it is called the Healthy Minds Network, and it was taken among 33,000 college students. They concluded that depression and anxiety are now reaching its highest levels because of health issues, political issues, and racial issues in the country. Half of the students screened positive for depression and anxiety. 83% say that mental health has affected their academic performance, and two-thirds struggle with loneliness or feeling lonely. Colleges and universities across the country, in another report, report an explosion of mental health problems. A new book argues that college life might be more stressful today than ever.
Dr. Anthony Rothstein, co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives, notes that today's college students are experiencing an inordinate amount of anxiety, and much of it is centered on surviving college and doing well. So the question, is mental health a big issue among college students? And the answer is, of course it is. Yes, it is. So here's a second question. Is mental health considered a big deal in the Bible?
Well, let me give you some facts. Let me start by saying that there are 31,102 verses in the entire Bible. 75% of those verses are in the Old Testament. 25% of those verses are in the New Testament. Out of all of the verses in the Bible, the word mind in the English translation of the Bible is found in 6,218 verses, or if I could put it this way, 20% of the entire Bible speaks about the mind. One out of five verses. And in the New Testament, it's 37% of the verses uses the word mind. The Bible is a book about your mind. It's about how we're supposed to think. Proverbs says it this way, for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. So if someone says that the Bible doesn't say anything about mental health, then that means they're mental.
If that helps you. It is a book that clearly addresses how we're supposed to think. So let's begin this morning with a couple of definitions. And that is when the phrase mental health is stated, what do we mean by that? And I'm going to begin with two secular definitions and we'll come to a biblical definition.
The first one comes from the World Health Organization. And here's their definition of mental health. It says, it is a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mentalhealth.org says, mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think and feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices in life. Mental health is important at every stage of life from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Now, I don't know how you think, but as I read those definitions my immediate thought was that these are good definitions. And in one way, these are working statements that help us to understand good mental health. So the question then is what not what is good mental health? The question is what if our mental health is not good?
What do we do when we don't realize our own abilities or we don't cope with the normal stresses of life? How many of you in the last five weeks at Bob Jones University have felt somewhat stressed out? Raise your hand. Okay. That's the whole student body.
Thank you. What do we do when we don't work productively and fruitfully? How many of you have ever stared at your work and you stared at it and it felt like no brainwaves were there?
Anybody have that experience? Of course. Or what do we do when we don't contribute to our community? And more specifically, if the Bible is a book about the mind, of course it's a book about God, of course it's a book about Jesus, of course it's a book about the world, of course it's a book about life, but it is a book about the mind, then what constitutes a healthy mind from a biblical worldview perspective? How do you have a healthy mind amidst so much depression, anxiety, and loneliness, and other multiple negative thoughts? So my focus this morning is primarily on the spiritual elements of a healthy mind. And I'm saying that not to neglect to other aspects of a healthy mind, things such as simply your physical wellbeing, like getting enough sleep.
How many of you feel like you need more sleep than you're presently getting? Raise your hand. Thank you. The whole student body.
All right. I'm talking about eating properly, getting exercise, being outside. I'm not talking here about primarily social health.
That's including having good friends, positive friends in your life, a stable home, a network of people who are supporters of what you're doing. All of those things I'm not going to include because we only have so much time. My focal point today is primarily on my mind in relationship to my God. So today I want to talk about two basic ideas. One are just some general statements about the mind from a biblical perspective. And then secondly, more specifically, I want us to look at one of the most important verses in the Bible that speaks about a healthy mind. And I want this to be something that you can think about and meditate upon as you leave chapel today. So let me begin with just some general statements about the mind. Of course, this is not exhaustive.
This is just very few statements. But first of all, the first thing is that the mind is a part of our creation. When we were created, we were created in the image and the likeness of God. And to put it simple, we can think like God because we're made in his image. Secondly, the mind was totally affected by the sin and the fall of Adam so much so that the human mind has been completely enslaved to sin.
Listen to Genesis 6 five. For the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. We come to the New Testament. Paul writes in Ephesians, he says before we are saved, we live out the passions of our sinful flesh through the desires of the body and the mind. And in chapter four of Ephesians, he says before we were saved, we pursued in life things that were meaningless because of the futility or the emptiness of our mind. We could not think the way God wanted us to think. And then we read in Romans eight that the natural mind of a man is in conflict with God so that it is impossible for the natural mind to know God and to follow God in obedience. But that leads me to this statement. However, the mind is transformed.
It's changed through salvation. And what's one of the most important illustrations in the Bible is the maniac of Gadara. You remember the man who ran around without clothes on. He was a cutter.
He cut himself. He was powerful. He would break chains.
Nobody could control him. But when he got saved, we discovered that he's sitting at the feet of Jesus. He put on clothes and the Bible says he was in his right mind.
There was a change within his thinking. Paul says in first Corinthians two six, for who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him. And then Paul says, but we have the mind of Christ. When you got saved, there was a transformation of your inner person, your heart, that includes your will, that includes your emotions, and that includes your mind.
And one of the most beautiful things about salvation is the ability to know and understand God, to read the Bible, not just with comprehension, but the Bible becomes the very bread for your soul. And that leads me to this, and that is spiritual growth is the transforming process of your mind, the renovation of your mind. Romans 12 to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It's like renovation. Here at Bob Jones, I'm probably not going to build new buildings.
We're going to take the old ones and renovate them. That's what's happening to our mind. Ephesians chapter four twenty three, be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Second Corinthians ten four, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought unto the obedience of Jesus Christ. Bob Jones senior said it this way, that most of the issues of the Christian life can be resolved by proper mental adjustments. What he meant by that is we have to change the way that we think, and we can do that. And then let me say one last thing, and that is the greatest commandment that we have is to love God. And how do we love God? We're to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And I think the point I want to make is this, that we are all personally responsible for the way that we think.
That's a general statement, because if God holds us accountable in judgment, then we have to be judged for the way that we think. Now, with these faults in mind, I want you to take your Bibles and turn to Isaiah chapter twenty six, verses one through four, that I believe is the most, one of the most important texts in the entire scripture concerning a healthy mind. I'm going to read it this morning from the ESV. The reason I'm going to do that, because I want to focus on some important words that we find here as we translate it and come to understand it. It says in verse one, in that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah.
We have a strong city. He sets up salvation as walls and borgs. Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Now, as we look at these verses this morning, there's two questions I want to try to ask and answer. First is, what is a healthy mind from a biblical perspective, from a biblical worldview? Secondly, how is it that we come to have that healthy mind? And the answer to the first question, what is a healthy mind, is found here in verse three when he says, you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
A healthy mind is one that is kept in perfect peace. Thou will keep him in perfect peace. The word keep there means to protect or guard. It is like a goalie in a soccer match because he is called the keeper.
He protects the goal. So he's talking about the way you think. And it says he will keep you, he will guard you in perfect peace. Now, what does perfect peace mean? It's almost as if we read the word perfect and we think, well, that's not something I can have because I can't be perfect. So what does the word perfect peace mean? Well, in the Hebrew, it's two words and it's the two exact same words. It reads this way. Thou will keep him in shalom, shalom.
Why? Why would God say something twice when obviously once probably should be sufficient? Well, it's the Hebrew way of making a point of emphasis. Do you remember reading your New Testament when Jesus said, verily, verily, I say unto thee, what is he doing? He's making a point of emphasis. It's like your mother saying, sit down and be quiet or listen up to what I'm about to say.
It's a point of emphasis. And here's what Isaiah is writing. He says, God will keep you. Now listen to me, listen to me.
I'm telling you where you're going to get it. God is going to keep you in shalom, shalom, peace, peace. So what is shalom? Well, it's one of the coolest words in the Bible because it's so broad, you can't use one word to describe shalom. It means the following, wholeness, wellness, completeness, prosperity, favorable circumstances, free from danger, healthy, lack of disease, contentment, friendship, blessing, kindness, success.
It's kind of what we all want. We all want to live in shalom. God is called the God of shalom. Jesus is called the Prince of shalom.
What did he say to his own disciples? My peace, I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. So the concept of shalom is this idea of wellness and wholeness and fullness.
Now when we consider words like depression, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, what's the opposite? It's shalom. And what Isaiah does in this passage of scripture is he gives us two images. He wants us to use our imagination. And these images are given to give us an emotional understanding of peace because peace is just not what we would call mental knowledge, but it's definitely an emotion of the soul. And what are those two images he gives us?
The first one is found in verse one. He says, in that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah. We have a strong city. He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. The first picture we have here is a strong city.
Now in ancient times, many people lived in a fear of attacks from either marauders or invasion from their enemies and their safety was found in a castle or a high walled city because they lived outside of the walled city. And what Isaiah does is he presents for us an image to touch our emotions of what is it, what is peace. He says it's like a strong city, but he presents it in the most emotional way.
And what is that emotion? Notice what he says, in that day, this song will be sung. He presents it in a song. Why a song? Because singing music touches us. It touches us first of all because we like it.
How many of you enjoy music? Whether playing it, listening to it, or singing in the shower. It's a form of pleasurable experience. It also allows us to emphasize something that we think is important, like something that's good or something that's beautiful or something that's true.
And in this case, what's good is our safety. So he's saying to sing about this. And it also reminds us of things that we need to remember because the purpose of singing is to teach and that teaching is form of remembrance. That's why we repeat songs over and over and over.
It's a form of learning. And Isaiah is writing a song for us to feel, to focus and to remember that our God is like a strong walled city. And who are the people who experienced this shalom? He tells us it is the people of faith.
We have a strong city, he says. Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. It is the people who have been justified by faith. These are the ones who have peace with God. And is it not interesting that the New Testament addresses this same idea, but the New Testament gives it in a direct statement. Philippians 4, 6.
Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. What is he saying? He's saying that in the Lord, we have a strong city. But he uses a second image.
And what is the second image? Look at the last verse. It says, trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. The King James says an everlasting strength. The word everlasting there is a very interesting word. It's the Hebrew word olam. We speak about the everlasting God, El Olam. It refers to something that's very old, that's existed for a long time in the past. It also refers to something that will continue on in the future. And the word that we use for it is that which is ageless, or the ages. So what he is saying here is that the Lord God is the rock of ages.
Do you know a song named that? And the word rock there means a high rock cliff. And the best example I know is a high rock formation in Israel called Masada. It stands 1,500 feet above the ground.
It exploded straight up as a plateau. And it was there that Herod the Great built a fortress to protect him if his throne was ever threatened. It was a high rock.
It was a rock of ages. And I've been there many, many times and I thought about this verse. What is our God like? He gives us mental pictures to touch our emotions. That our God is a strong city. That our God is the rock of ages. And it is here in this rock of ages that we find shalom, shalom. And that leads me to the second question. That is how then do I experience a healthy mind?
Well let's go back and look at the text. He says in verse three, you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusts in thee. God gives his shalom, shalom to the one whose mind is stayed on the Lord. Now that word stayed means to support, to sustain. A missionary raises support.
When you lay on the bed you rest. I used to take my oldest daughter who's 39 years old who lives in the land of Israel. She's teaching a class there right now. And when she was young she was very afraid of water and so I would take her out into a swimming pool and I would hold her and she would squeeze my neck and I want her to learn to trust and not be afraid. And so I'd say sweetheart lay on top of the water and I'll put my arms underneath you and I'll hold you up because underneath are the everlasting arms. What do you think she did?
She freaked out and rolled over and squeezed my neck. What does it mean to trust? It means to rest in the Lord.
That's what he means. When the mind is stayed on the Lord this is what causes you to trust in the Lord. So a healthy mind is developed through choosing to rest your mind on or trust in the Lord. Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace.
Speed up on Jehovah. Hearts are fully blessed. Finding as he promised perfect peace and rest. It's your spiritual response to all the issues of life.
The storms, the stresses, the strains, the fears, the anxieties, the threats, the pressures. It's the harbor where you go to find that shalom. So what is meant then by the word mind when he says that thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee. The word mind is a very interesting word. It means imagination. Now there's other words in the Old and New Testament have different meanings when the word mind is mentioned but this word is the word imagination.
What is your imagination? It's the ability to create reality. Do you know that a lot of the fears in life are legitimate and a lot of the fears in life are illegitimate?
Somebody said fear is false evidence appearing reality. What is a pessimist? It's somebody who daydreams of a nightmare.
You ever met anybody like that? They create reality in their own imagination. It's also the place of hopes and dreams, of fears and insecurities. So the way to a healthy mind is when the imagination is actively being supported or sustained through right thinking about God and these thoughts are the basis for your trusting God. You can't trust God if you don't think correctly about God.
Does that make sense? How can you confide in a God you don't think about? You have to think about God and the way this happens is more like taking medicine than having a miracle.
What's a miracle? Something that happens instantaneously. Don't you wish that all of your stress went away instantaneously? Don't you wish you could take a pill that would just zap you and you would think right?
Well it doesn't work that way. It's more like taking daily medicine that has effect on you day after day after day. The medicine for your soul is the thinking process you have about God and as you think upon God on a daily basis, what does that do? It begins to change the way you think.
So what is the process for developing a healthy mind? It's always daily meditation on biblical truths found in God's word. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth but thou shalt meditate on it day and night. That's when you'll be prosperous. That's when you'll have good success. That's the pathway to shalom.
His delight is in the law of the Lord and therein doth he meditate. Now let me close very quickly because I think it would be inappropriate for me to talk about this and not talk about that which is one of the greatest conflicts today to a healthy mind especially for college students and that is the ongoing meditation you have in the use of your cell phone. Now I'm not going to sit here and I'm not throwing cell phone under the bus.
I'm just saying this is where we all are. 99.8% of college students have a cell phone. The average college student spends anywhere from a minimal to four and a half hours to eight to ten hours a day on a cell phone. That's an average and that's everything. Text, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, media, music, phone calls, whatever. The average smartphone user checks his or her phone 150 times a day.
That's an average of ten times an hour or once every six minutes. It is estimated that two-thirds of the people today have some form of nomophobia. Know what that means? That's shortened form of no mobile phone phobia. That's the fear of being without access to your cell phone. The issue today I don't think it's so much that the phone is distracting. I think the phone is addicting.
I think that's a bigger issue and I think we have to be honest with it. I didn't write all this. This is just right off the internet. It's off the phone and the problem is it affects your brain. Some say it changes the chemistry of your brain but there is a direct correlation between depression, anxiety and impulsiveness and the use of the cell phone. So today I'm not throwing the cell phone on the bus.
I'm just simply saying what our problem is and I'm going to give you the answer to that and that is you've got to change the way you think because you're responsible for your thinking. And I can tell you this, that if you would take one verse a day, one verse a day, try it. If it doesn't work then come tell me. But if you took one verse a day that reflects on the aspects of the nature of God and memorize that verse or just read it and think about it. Put it on your cell phone and pull it up and just think about it and chew it over. What would it do for your soul? I'll tell you what it will do for your soul. Thou will keep him in perfect peace. Let me close with this thought. As we look at the last verse, look at what he says.
He's being emphatic here. He says, trust ye in the Lord forever for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Remember I said perfect peace is shalom, shalom? The phrase for the Lord God is actually two words of God's name but it's the exact same words.
If you look it up in the Hebrew it's Jehovah, Jehovah. And I think the Lord's being emphatic to us because he needs to be really direct to us and here's what he's saying. If you want peace, peace, you have to trust, trust in Jehovah, Jehovah.
Got it? That's what he's saying and that's the foundation for the believer to have a healthy mind. Let's pray together. Father, thank you for your word and help us Lord to rest and find support in our minds on who you are as you have revealed yourself in your word. Thank you that we can have a renewed mind. Give us grace Lord and Lord we pray for shalom and peace in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a message preached by BJU President Dr. Steve Pettit. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series Developing a Healthy Mind here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 14:58:07 / 2023-05-21 15:08:23 / 10