HOW TO BE SANE & HOW TO NOT BE INSANE - Bible Study
HOW TO BE SANE
- "Sane" means healthy. Think of how we use words like "sound", and "sanitary". (The opposite - Insane - is dirty, unhealthy, unsound.)
- Is insanity a problem – in this world? Of course. Among Christians? Yes. Here are some examples of both:
- Customers walk over dead body after Michigan man killed in store doorway
- Proposed monument to Satan in OK state capitol. Publicity stunt? Maybe.
- “The Great Virtue Shift.” Almost every act regarded in the mid-20th century as a vice was, by the opening of the 21st century, considered a virtue. As gambling, obscenity, pornography, drugs, divorce, homosexuality, abortion and sneering disaffection became The New Virtue, government at all levels began to move in on the action, starting with casinos and currently involving, in several states and the District of Columbia, an officially approved and bureaucratically managed narcotics trade.
- In churches, we see following the world in morals instead of setting the standard that should be followed. “Cool churches” of today seem to be cleaned-up imitations of the world’s entertainment: a rock band for the music, a smiling motivational speaker for the sermon, and various accouterments that are intended to make the experience of going to church very untraditionally “churchlike”.
- The natural outcome of this has been an abandonment of Biblical standards of behavior among believers, an ignorance of Biblical teachings (doctrine), and acceptance or tolerance of sinful behavior. Even the self-imposed “moral code” of Hollywood in the 1940s is stricter than what modern Christianity holds sacred. Don’t believe me? I guarantee that you will see more immodest clothing in most churches than in the Hollywood movies of those times.
- Christians of all times are just people who came out of – yet remain a part of – their nations and cultures. But the clear scriptural teaching is for there to be a difference between the believer and the unbeliever, for there to be a separation between light and darkness, and that Christ and Belial are not buddies.
I. WHAT IS A PERSON? (Who are we?)
* "...Ye MUST be born again" John 3:7 KJV
* "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6 KJV)
Jesus said it was ESSENTIAL that each of us be BORN AGAIN. But most people haven't ever taken the time to think about this or attempt to understand what it means. It is simple, but also has some complexities. I think this whole study on "sanity" and the concept of being born again - will make more sense if we first take a look are what each of us "is".
A. You are a trinity.
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2. "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen 1:26). Each of us is made in the image of God, and part of what that means is that we are formed as a kind of "trinity": body, soul, and spirit. Each part of us has a different purpose, and a different level of importance.
B. You are not your body.
1. The body is the physical part of your being - the part that can be seen and felt. The part that will deteriorate and eventually die. It's made of "flesh" which is nothing more than an unremarkable collection of elements, assembled together - and given life by God. Are bodies are literally made of the "dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7) and that's what our bodies return to again.
2. Your body is only PART of you, and does not define who you are! - A mistake when people focus on their appearance as their identity. It indicates both that person's way of thinking, and their focus. "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8
3. The body is temporary and actually fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of your existence...
4. When your body dies your soul (YOU) will leave the body of flesh.
C. You ARE your soul. After God formed the first man and breathed the breath of life into him, he "became a living soul". God's spirit gave life (then and still does now). Your soul is no different in that it actually defines who you are and is connected to a spirit - hopefully God's Spirit.
1. Your soul is eternal and will exist forever.
2. Your soul is the true you: your mind. The center of all your thoughts, the part of you that is conscious, and self-aware and that makes decisions.
3. The soul is also referred to as the "heart". It is the center or core of who you are.
D. You also have a spirit.
1. This is the source of power and control for both your soul (and by extension, your body); it is either...
a. evil or good
b. darkness or light
c. unholy or Holy
d. unclean or clean
e. of Satan or of God - the god of this world or the God of all the universe
* ONLY two religions! Everyone has a religion - every single person.
2. Speaking on that, WHERE your soul spends eternity after it departs your body is determined by your personal relationship to God (saved or unsaved).
* Romans 8:9-10 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
* What are we?? Each of us is a body, soul, and spirit (Heb 4:12) - but the real conscious "you" is your soul.
II. WHY IS SANITY IMPORTANT?
* Remember - the word "sane" is used when talking about a person's mind (which again is the SOUL or HEART). "Sane" means "sound", "correct", and "healthy".
* I'm not concerned about any of the world's definitions of sanity from a medical perspective or from a cultural perspective. Only a Biblical perspective. "Sane" means to be in line with God's standards of thinking.
A. Sanity ("health") is shown by person's way of thinking. "Thoughts" are an exercise of our souls. (Remember that thinking takes place in the mind/soul/heart.)
B. Because "sanity" concerns how you act, behave, and the decisions your make - AND "sanity" concerns your soul, which is eternal. So: sanity is an issue that influences a person's eternal state of existence as well as their earthly life.
1. Prov. 21:5 - "The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness". They determine whether you will have a little or a lot.
2. Prov. 23:7 - "as he thinketh in his heart, so is he"
C. Because sanity is an indication of spiritual state. A SOUND MIND is evidence of the work and presence of Jesus in someone’s life.
Luke 8:35 “Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”
D. Because sanity changes. A soul's level of sanity can be altered. How can we know this?
1. Your soul is shaped by influences (both direct and indirect).
2. Your soul is taught. You (your soul) learns things both consciously and unconsciously. You learn things that are both obvious and subtle.
3. Your soul has an attitude that is formed by experiences, influences, and decisions.
4. GIGO - "garbage in, garbage out"
D. Even a person who has God's spirit can have an unhealthy (i.e. insane) soul. A believer in rebellion against their Father (God). A believer who chooses to go their own way. [Prodigal son]
E. An unhealthy soul can be healed.
III. HOW CAN YOU TELL THE STATE OF YOUR SOUL?
A. You can examine yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5) "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
1. A person who has decided to rejected or ignore Christ has a totally unhealthy soul. The “natural man” has a totally unhealthy soul. The “lost” person has a totally unhealthy soul: the soul is dead. We learned that a person = their soul. Their soul is not sound, not healthy, not clean – so therefore a proper word for the state of their mind (soul) is insane.
2. For a person who HAS accepted Christ has life, their soul may or may not be in the right state or "right with God".
A. FOLLOWING CHRIST. We know from Romans 8:29 that the will of God is for each of His children to be Conformed to the image of Christ. "conformed to the image of his Son". That is God’s will for your life, simply put.
B. FOLLOWING OTHER CHRISTIANS. 1 Corinthians 11:1 "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (and other verses) Examples of believers are mentioned throughout the NT, sometimes given as commendable examples.
B. You can look for the signs (the fruit).
1. SIGNS OF INSANITY
a. You are seeking happiness outside yourself. Esp. material.
b. You have doubt, confusion or lack of knowledge about what to believe, what is right, what is good, what is true. Do you have anything you can stand on as being absolute TRUTH? Can you defend it? Would you fight for it?
c. You don't have conviction, solidity or groundedness. Do you have anything you are willing to die for?
d. You are driven about with the winds of change. If a trend, fad, popular opinion, advertisement, or some other outside influence comes into your mind, you go along with it. You don't give it any critical thought.
e. You are more concerned with, in love with, and fascinated by “this world” than anything else.
- Study to gain perspective: Cares of this world, wisdom of this world, god of this world, darkness of this world, end of this world, kingdom is not of this world, wisdom of this world, etc.
2. SIGNS OF SANITY
a. Inward joy and contentment with your life – what you’ve been given.
b. Clarity of thought - able to know and discern.
c. Self assurance. About what you believe, where you stand with men and with God. *Be suspicious when someone tells you that you must be like them, or do more, or do more works. John 6:29 (the work has already been done)
d. Confidence. Not just in what you believe and your own state of being but in the ultimate authority you have above you. Unhealthy minds don't know who their authority is - they often think they are their own authority, or they pick the wrong authority (whether it be government, a cult leader, an ideology, or a popular movement).
e. Wisdom. Common sense lacking in liberalism. Why?
f. Focus on eternal matters, not this temporary world.
C. You can look at your authority.
1. The world? THIS WORLD WANTS YOU TO BE INSANE. It switches things around.
Isaiah 5:20,23 - "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!...Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!"
2. It celebrates things that are bad.
Romans 1:28,30 "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient...Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
3. It inverts the things of God, says lies are true, and says things that are natural are not.
a. "Man is his own God" - Government is god.
b. "Do not populate the earth" - we have too many people. Save the planet.
c. "Don’t get married" - live together, be homosexual, etc.
d. "Islam is a religion of peace" - even though most terrorists are muslims and they kill non-muslims
IV. HOW CAN YOU BE SANE?
A. Know that you ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SANITY. You are not responsible for your salvation other than believing. But you are responsible for the state of your mind afterwards in that you choose how to BE.
Romans 12:2 And be not 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 are responsible for controlling our thoughts. (Romans 12:3) "For I say...not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
B. Decide to obey God. GOD TELLS US HOW TO BE SANE
1. Walk in truth. 3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
- Always seek the truth. No matter if it's unpleasant, or difficult, or causes others to be your enemy. (Gal. 4:16, Jn 8:45). Learn it and love it.
- Tell the truth. Don't lie to yourself. Be honest.
2. Keep your thoughts in order! (2 Cor. 10:5) Put things out of your mind that shouldn't be there.
3. Focus on positive things. Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
4. Fill your mind with God's Words. Psalm 1:1 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."
- Do you seek God's will? Good. Throughout your day, do you give thought to what GOD wants from you? I hope so.
- Do you want to be SANE? Then you have to walk in truth - and all truth emanates from the LORD. You must put yourself - your soul, your mind, in subjection to His authority. You must do this by making God - and His WORD - your final authority.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.