According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness and goes far beyond being “happy” or “sad.”
Any Christian who is suffering with bipolar disorder should take it seriously, seek medical attention and counseling. From a Christian perspective, those who suffer from bipolar disorder or manic depression should handle it like other psychological diseases. Those suffering are reminded through their disease that God is sufficient. Mental illness tends to raise many spiritual questions that believers have trouble answering. Author Amy Simpson names a few of these: Does demon possession cause mental illness? Why does God allow the kind of suffering that can cause despair, delusions and overwhelming anxiety? Why isn’t following Jesus enough to heal mental illness?
In Simpson’s book “Troubled Minds,” she addresses the question, tuning to the advice of Dr. Archibald Hart, Professor of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary: “Unless you are trained in psychopathology…the most reasonable action you can take is to refer the troubled person to a psychologist or psychiatrist for diagnosis.” In many cases, a person may have both mental and spiritual issues to deal with, she says. This is why finding godly counsel and spending time in God’s Word is so important for those who are suffering with bipolar disorder.
Scripture is God’s communication to us, giving us wisdom to guide us in all situations, including a psychiatric diagnosis like bipolar disorder. While the Bible may not address bipolar depression directly, Second Timothy 3:16-17 reminds us, “All Scripture is breathed out by god and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This wisdom is real and relevant to us. Because bipolar disorder has an impact on the way a person thinks, it’s important that those suffering with the disease are rooted in God’s truth.
One of the first things someone dealing with bipolar disorder should do is place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. A great portion of Christ’s time was dedicated to healing the sick and downtrodden. He healed all kinds of people including the blind, the paralyzed, the deaf, the lame, lepers, those who had fever, and many with chronic illnesses, among others. If you have any question of His healing power, turn to Scripture.
There are many instances where the Holy Spirit enables divine healing in everyday people. There are times when a person (or people) has prayed over a lifeless body. Despite everything we understand, this person wakes up, and their health is restored. These things can’t be explained without attributing it to the healing power of Jesus. After these miraculous experiences, the people who saw it happened witnessed and testified to who Jesus was. We know in these instances that Jesus is still healer and can do wonderful, miraculous things. In the Book of John, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I am doing. He will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12). We know from Scripture that healings did not end with Jesus. Jesus told the disciples they would do greater things. That same power is enabled in us as we look toward the healing of others.
Jesus healed so many people, not only to meet their physical needs, but to also get the door open to speak about His great mission: salvation. This is seen throughout His ministry. Who else had the power to say that He was the bread of life and feed 5,000 people with only a few loaves of bread? This same power is also working through us. This power comes from Jesus alone. This healing ministry continues through His body, the Church. With so many reports of sickness and devastation in our country and around the world, it’s hard to imagine ever living in a restored world, but it is possible. It’s important that we pray for healing, whether it’s our own or the healing of others. If you are looking for personal healing, pray that Jesus will heal you because you want to serve Him more. Ask that this healing be a testimony of His power and your faithfulness. If you are lifting up someone else who is in need of healing, pray that Jesus would heal them and enable them to serve Him more so that they may glorify our Father in Heaven.
One thing that those suffering with bipolar disorder should not do is blame their illness for their actions. John 15:22 says, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” A person with bipolar disorder should view sin the same way believers without bipolar should. As Christians, we are called to acknowledge our sin, repent and seek forgiveness. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.” If those suffering with bipolar depression have hope in Jesus Christ, then they will have abundant life in Jesus.