How can Australian’s ‘go well beyond blue?’ In other words, how can we decisively win the battlefield of the mind and even see revolutionary break throughs in areas of mental health?
God had laid on my heart the importance of biblical meditation to beat anxiety and ‘go beyond the blues’ in February of 2018. I recall sitting in a library contemplating how I would preach about meditation later this year. Knowing that about 1 in 5 people are afflicted in their mental health in our nation was a real concern. The rise in popularity of certain secular meditative strategies to handle stress, which leave Christ out, was also a concern.
As I sat there planning suddenly, I heard a stranger behind the shelves in front of me. He asked a librarian for books about meditation. I immediately asked God that if he had brought him to see me. I said to God “if he comes my way, I will take it as a sign and make conversation.” It was indeed a divine appointment. Interestingly, he came nearby. We chatted and then by God’s spirit, he opened up about areas of shame and associated depressive thoughts, and told me he had never shared about it before. He also shared of his interest to know God.
I want to summarise what I got from this encounter, to help empower robust mental health. Our roots determine fruits and our meditation; I recall Psalm chapter 1 to mind:
1 Blessed is the one...2... whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.
Meditation from Psalm 1
Firstly, the word meditation, from Psalm chapter 1, literally can mean to ponder, to loop or to utter. I summarise it by saying God wants us reflect over and over and chew on the God-thoughts or revelations released by the spirit, so we can declare his will by faith and accomplish it. In this way roots go deep down. Rooted in God and personalising his living words releases God’s kingdom reality and feeds the fruits of identity, hope, creativity, joy, gratitude and subsequently we become sound minded and purposeful. We prosper. Depressive thoughts die in this atmosphere. Where are our roots today?
Also, what does it actually mean to ‘prosper?’ This word can literally mean to advance or cut through. I see meditation on God’s truth helps us cut through our everyday problems like grass, because God’s presence is with us. However, prospering in this way is conditional that we meditate on his words and law; we become like a tree planted by the waters.
Christ is like this tree and we also need to draw upon the waters, which is the spirit. The spirit prospers us by revealing the love of God and our righteous standing in Christ as He strips away all shame and brings emotional healing and health in our hearts and minds. Pure meditation flows naturally.
Shame is tamed and eventually beaten and in his renewed mind we start to encounter God and prosper in all areas. We “forget the shame of our youth” knowing that “our maker is our husband.” (Isaiah chapter 54). Self-contempt and inferiority are broken off as we are forgiven in Christ and we become established and rooted in his glorious love.
I recently was pondering on Isaiah 54 and despite walking with God for many years I felt God exposed my insecurity. I could identity with the wife abandoned in her youth in verse 6; a major rejection had brought deep hurt and rebellion. I began to declare that all the shame of my youth was removed in accordance with God’s promise. Something shifted! Salvations are breaking out more and supernatural healings in my ministry of late.
Like Peter and John we speak with great courage, despite perhaps being unschooled and ordinary people; people will take note that we have been with Jesus and He is in us! Spirit led meditation with God-encounters, releases this full restoration of our soul to be more like Christ. Surely, “he make us lie down in green pastures,” in new areas of the word and leads us “beside still waters;” the spirit refreshes us as we meditate on the book or the chapter he gives us!
Interestingly, I met several times with my friend from the library, to discuss the gospel, and how it involves taking responsibility; he craved to hear what said. I recall the second time we met outdoors in the park to talk about faith, and it was over forty degrees Celsius, but we were hardly deterred by the sweltering conditions. Oh the joy of meditating on his words and the hope we find! We become 'like a tree planted by the waters whose leaves do not wither in the time of heat.'
Great things await in 2019
Great things await you in 2019. Jesus said His work was finished at the cross. God has finished preparing the way and opened doors ahead for us too. Let us rest in him and be the tree planted steadfast by the waters. As we meditate on his words and seek him with all our hearts, expect to find closure on past hurts and restoration of your soul.
I also feel this message is a seed. I sense God’s kingdom is set to revolutionise the area of mental health for his glory! May he use you, especially the professionals of mental health, which we may need to consult at times, while growing up in our faith. These include therapists, doctors, counsellors, psychologists, pharmacists, psychiatrists, nurses and others which can apply God’s insights and be salt and light for him.
Before we discount psychological insights due to ‘faith,’ what if we consider the ancient literature of the bible literally states in Genesis that after Adam did wrong God first said “where are you.” This obviously implies an invite to take responsibility. Is there anything wrong with that idea? Or should we say why is that gold for this generation?
I hope this article has been of benefit.
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor in Mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many suffering great hardship on Madura island in Indonesia for about 4 years in the early 1990’s. He has worked as a pastor doing social work over the past 17 years. Mark is also an artist and author and has also written two books which are a collection of his own paintings, photography and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia with a voice to release your giant potential within.’ He has been counted among some of Australia’s best-selling authors since 2014 and is a frequent public speaker in various community groups and churches, with a special grace to encourage indigenous Australian peoples and to inspire hope to all. His passion is to help people find and release what they are born for. Mark is happily married. If this article encouraged you do email Mark with your comments on email@example.com.