2 Timothy 1:6-7New International Version
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
During my first adult manic episode, I almost lost my car, entered into massive debt, threw money away like I owned the mint, and lived like a woman with superpowers. I moved to an unfamiliar rhythm and felt the consequences daily. The impact of mania reaches beyond our little spending spree or out of character behavior. It takes hold of our family and friends as well.
What about the times we are not experiencing active symptoms of our disorders? There are days I am short with my words. People struggle with impulses toward lust, food, or money. The Bible warns if we don’t practice self-control, we will become slaves to the worldly things that control us. I didn’t surrender my life to Jesus for the freedom to live as a prisoner. Especially a prisoner who attaches her shackles herself.
As a Christian, God equips his warriors. We are fighting every day. Whether mentally ill or mentally healthy, the war of self-control is a big one. Those of us suffering from illness, it is more significant than that. We have to fight the world and our mind, and it can be hard. The good news is God gave us strength and courage, a mighty Spirit that comes directly from above. I once walked in fear, believing I could not manage the war. I was so focused on defense that I lost sight of my offense.
We are stronger than we think, probably stronger than we will ever know. Satan tries to convince us differently and relies on our brokenness to get control. He dangles selfishness in front of us like a gift. He whispers how we are right and deserve this or should say that. All the while, we are moving further away from God as we listen to Satan’s lies.
Many of God’s truths for our lives point to the subject of surrender, and self-discipline is one of them. We do not need temporary worldly power. We have the gift of the Spirit, which carries us through to eternity.