For several posts now we have been looking at the various causes of emotional problems from a spiritual perspective with the aim of equipping people to help those who are challenged in these areas. (More of the tools in a later post.)
The ground where the battle needs to be won is the inner man–which as we saw in a previous post, includes the mind, will and emotions. If a person can win the battle there, and have these areas of life controlled by the Spirit, then he/she can be set free from oppression, fear, depression etc. So someone may have been set free in response to our prayers for them, but they need to know how to continue to win the battle in their daily lives.
There are two especially relevant verses here.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Scientists tell us that our brains are wired so that if we develop a habit of thinking a certain way, it becomes automatic. It's as though there are channels in our minds that our thoughts may run along. So we may be healed, for example, from fear, but we have to retrain our minds in the opposite direction to fear. Meditation and proclamation of various verses from the Word of God is especially relevant here–for example, in the case of fear, 2 Timothy 1:7 is a useful verse.
The second passage comes in verse is 2 Corinthians 10 and shows that there is a battle for the minds of men:
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Although this is primarily talking about seeing unbelievers come to faith, the principles apply to seeing people set free in their inner man too. If we want to see changes in the inner man, spiritual warfare may be necessary. What are our spiritual weapons? Praise (Psalm 149:6-9), the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11), our testimony and the blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).
Many years ago, back in the UK, we had a trainee nurse staying with us. She had developed abdominal pain that was so overpowering it would cause her to black out. Despite full investigation at her teaching hospital, the doctors had been unable to find a cause, and had decided to send her to see a psychiatrist. Obviously her nursing training was in jeopardy. But before referring her to the psychiatric department, her Christian doctor asked if she could spend a few days with Tony and me in the hope that we might find a cause for what was going on.
One morning as I was praying for her, the thought came into my mind, "Ask her if she hears voices!" When I did so, her reply was immediate: "Yes, but they've told me never to tell anyone!"
The following story came out. As a teenager, she became troubled by voices in her head. These became more and more insistent, and the only way she could find to block them out was to lose consciousness. It was very simple to pray for her and see her delivered and set completely free.
Thankfully, we had warned her that Satan might try and attack her again, and we taught her how to use spiritual weapons if the happened. About a week later, she experienced another attack, but she was able to praise and pray her way out of it. It was the last attack she ever had. We heard from her around 10 years later. She had been completely set free since that time, and her nursing career was going well. Praise God!