Peace of Mind Through Accurate Knowledge
Mental illness is the biggest single health problem in the world. What you can do to guard against mental breakdown is explained.
HOW can you protect yourself from insanity and neurosis in a world gone mad? The number of books and movies that have catapulted psychiatry into the news have not supplied the answer. Nor have the countless experiments through hypnotic medicine paraldehyde, electric shock, miracle drugs, barbiturates or bromides, group therapy, vapor baths, etc., provided adequate remedy. More than half of all hospital beds in the United States are now occupied by the mentally ill—more than the victims of polio, cancer, heart disease and all other illnesses combined. Statistics cruelly predict that one out of every ten Americans will at some time be hospitalized for severe mental illness.
How to guard the mind against mental crack-up should, therefore, be of serious concern to all. The Creator of the mind showed man how this can be done. It is primarily by building the mind up with right kind of knowledge, knowledge capable of resisting the heightened tempo of modern living and its nerve strain, knowledge that will still the anxieties and fears stemming from wars and failing world conditions, knowledge to cope with the growing number of problems that multiply faster and reach critical climaxes more sharply, knowledge that will give assurance and create peace. This means that the information we store in our minds must be of the choicest, the very best for upbuilding. Certainly, this would exclude propaganda, gossip, lies, false religious traditions and any other kinds of degrading ideas, influences or impressions. What should be put in the mind is told to us by the apostle Paul: “Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things. The things which you learned as well as accepted and heard and saw in connection with me, practice these; and the God of peace will be with you.”—Phil. 4:8, 9, NW.
After applying the mind to accurate knowledge and right thinking, there is the need of following up knowledge with a complete reliance and trust in God and what he says. As Paul further explains: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God, and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” Only to the extent that we rely on God and trust him and his Word shall we have peace.—Phil. 4:6, 7, NW.
One truth cannot be overemphasized, namely, that words, whether good or bad, symbolize ideas. And ideas are what move men to act. God’s Word the Bible contains his words, his ideas. It is God’s words, his ideas, that we must get into our minds. In order for them to be powerful they must have an effect upon our thinking and our course of life. If these words are received into good and honest hearts and minds they guide the servant of God in a proper course of action, which will result in lasting life to him and to the exaltation of the God whose commandments are obeyed. Simply to have a book called the Bible in their possession without applying the things that God has caused to be set out in that book is of no benefit to the possessors. The following of theocratic principles is what brings peace, not simply the knowing of them. Because the Bible is true, living and powerful, it stands in the world as a bulwark against the flood of hurtful propaganda. It alone offers a safeguard for the minds and hearts of men.
The Bible is a book of spiritual and mental health. How so? Because not only does it build up the mind with appreciation for God and his purposes, inspiring faith, confidence and trust in him, but also it helps guard the mind against subtle encroachments by demonic expressions and wiles and builds it up to stand in this evil day. We are not in doubt concerning this. Paul admonished Timothy: “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words which you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus.”—2 Tim. 1:12-14, NW.
Healthful words? Yes, most definitely. Healthful in the sense that God’s words create hope in us and bring joy and comfort, which are healing. Jehovah is the living God. His words are living, effective and powerful in our minds. They strengthen and brace up the mind to a point of peace that excels all thought. This too is healing. In his first epistle to his companion, Paul said: “If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up with pride, not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words.”—1 Tim. 6:3, 4, NW.
It is obvious that the old world does not have this peace. Neither do the wicked have it. They are puffed up with pride. Their minds are diseased, not understanding anything. “I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that is near, saith Jehovah; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea; for it cannot rest, and its waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”—Isa. 57:19-21, AS.
Perfect peace of mind is attainable, but it necessitates our being in total agreement with the God who gives peace and with his righteous nation. Note the prophet’s words: “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth faith may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in Jehovah for ever; for in Jehovah, even Jehovah, is an everlasting rock.”—Isa. 26:1-4, AS.
Take in right knowledge that you may learn to trust in the great Jehovah. Build up your mind with his Word of truth. Rely confidently on it. “Hence brace up your minds for activity, keep completely balanced and set your hope upon the undeserved kindness that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” and the God who gives peace will be with you.—1 Pet. 1:13-16, NW.