Overing Depression Biblically & Naturally
The Bible has much to say about depression; interestingly, the causes and solutions are not what are commonly thought in Christian circles.
My hope is that this conversation(Sermon) will be helpful and help erase the stigmas associated with depression and to see it in a new light. When seen correctly, there is no more Mental illness carries with it a stigma and shame rivaling none even those that of S.T.D’s.
Depression is no joke. Oppression is a very real form of bondage. Many of us as Believers have been afflicted with depression and it is imperative for you to
understand that “You are not alone in your struggle!”. No! You’re not losing your mind!
Speaking confusion; is a common tool and trick of the enemy, and I guarantee you that bullying huckster of a demon along with that looming black cloud can be defeated.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
James 3:16For where envying and strife is, here is confusion and every evil work.
A sad commentary reads like this: “There are far too many Believers suffering from depression that refuses to look at the systems for 3 reasons:
1. Unable to identify what makes one is miserable, lacking drive or energy
2. Admittance would mean that somehow one is spiritually flawed.
3. Somehow one’s fate is not in-tact or the problem would have been prayed away by now.
Many Believers suffer in silence hoping and praying for deliverance, but the consequences of doing most assuredly lead to much more severe conditions.
To be the comforters of2 Corinthians 1:6 “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.”
To be of any comfort or help we have got to understand the cause and effect and affects of depression! It’s worth it to not subject yourself to the Devil and be used as his joy ride and move over into victory by simply standing up to that Booger Bear!
“Avoid false assumptions!” Beloved “our brains malfunction like any organ or system of our body. No different than diabetes, heart attacks, or tonsillitis!
Stop with the belief structure that supports or equates depression with SIN or FAITHLESSNESS!” It’s the enemy’s intention to place you in a position where hope deferred makes it’s ugly appearance in your life and you get sicker and sicker.
Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
Romans 8:24 – For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
You’ve got to be able to see your way out! “DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK AT IT!”
What is Depression?: Depression is a prolonged emotional tone dominating an individual’s outlook and mood. Normal moods of sadness, grief, and elation are typically short-lived and part of everyday life, but these can progress into a depressed mental state.
When asked “what brings you pleasure in life” most non-believing , depressed folks most commonly will look away and suggest that “nothing brings them pleasure.” On the other hand; believers are more guarded. Why? Because they fear if they admit “nothing” they will be perceived to be unspiritual, so they say something like “being saved” or “knowing Christ.”
The saved, depressed person generally knows about their eternal and heavenly blessings, for which they are thankful, but they feel trapped now by inexplicable emotional tones and moods.
This is an excellent example of being caught by the grip of depression.
“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would be not one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully (regretfully) forebode (foretell) I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better it appears to me.”— Abraham Lincoln
Biblical Occurrences: Depression is the ascendancy and tyranny of our emotions over our lives. Thus, Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
Often an initiating discouragement leads to sadness, which leads to prolonged grief, and then into a downhill spiral to depression. Depression is a universal problem, but no one really knows if Biblical characters had what we call depression, or if it would be more appropriate to say they suffered emotionally. However, Paul in I Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able…”. Temptation can mean trial, calamity, or affliction. Accordingly, we should understand that our present-day afflictions were also common to the great Bible characters.
David was overwhelmed with grief and sadness, his heart was desolate, and his tears fell all night (Ps. 61:2, 77:2-3, 142:4, and 143:4). Jonah, (Jeremiah:15), Job, and Elijah (I Kings 19) are other examples.
When we see these characters i the Word express rejection, loneliness, self-pity, hopelessness, overwhelming grief, and wish they had not been born, it seems they are expressing more than temporary sadness but classic symptoms of major depression.
Paul had classic symptoms: his flesh had no rest, he was troubled on all sides, he was cast down, he had fears within, and he despaired of life. We talked about how “it isn’t always sunshine in the Believers life”
2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
“IT IS NECESSARY THAT YOU LET FOLKS KNOW WHATS GOING ON WITH YOU!”
2 Corinthians 7:5-6 – For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But sGod, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,
We need one another! Hannah (I Samuel 1) had many of the symptoms of depression and her spiritual leader instantly and incorrectly accused her of a spiritual problem.
It seems there is a universal truth concerning depression, that is, the non-depressed rarely understand the unrelenting pain involved, the feelings of hopelessness (in this life, not once delivered from this body), and think the person should just pick themselves up and get over it.
It is not that easy. In fact, when that part of the brain that mediates emotions is not functioning properly, medical help is what is most definitely needed (not criticism).
Considerations about Depression:
- Each year depression strikes ten million people in the United States.
- Older Christians have more depression than younger; does this mean that spiritual maturity is of no avail?
- No, what this indicates is that older people have more biochemical and brain malfunctions as they age; depression is a natural consequence.
- Similarly, more women (two to three times) have depression than men.
- Women do not have more spiritual problems than men, but they do process adverse events differently than men, and, they have a complex body chemistry that can get out of balance, both leading to depression.
- Women tend to take adverse events and internalize them and take the blame—this is a thought-processing problem.
- Men tend to react to the same events with escapism (sports, TV, sexual obsessions, alcohol); which can later result in heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.—again, a thought-processing problem but with different results.
- There is another difference: women tend to feel their depression (sadness/guilt) while men act it out in their behavior (rage, hostility, and frustration).
- Someone said: “As fog veils a beautiful meadow, so depression clouds life itself; existence becomes dreary and dark.” It has been described as darkness visible.
- One can go to bed feeling fine only to wake with an overwhelming gloom that cannot be explained or escaped.
“He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.” (Proverbs 17:21).
The point is clear, depression should be addressed early or it may lead to fatal consequences. However, because of their illness depressed persons have diminished ability to combat their own disease, so help is often needed to lift them out of the pit of despair.
If depression were primarily spiritually induced, people should not get better from medications because medications do nothing about the spiritual problem. If the medications merely treat the symptoms and do not get to the root spiritual cause then the depression should always come back once the medications are stopped, which is not the case.
Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that God has promised us perfect peace at all times; that will come to those in the Kingdom (Isa. 26:1-3). The instruction and blessing of Philippians 4:6 & 7 are applicable for today. Always understand these verses in light of Paul, who had plenty of struggles and afflictions but God brought him through and kept his heart and mind in the process.
Finally, Philippians 3:13-14 reminds us, “…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul is using a runner’s analogy to put the past and future in their proper perspective. He reminds us about the danger of runners in a race that looked back to see where the other runners are, for if they do they may stumble or get out of their lane and be disqualified.
A runner must only look ahead and stretch forward, making the focus the finish line, not what may be behind, or surely there will be suffered a loss. We are on a track, running life’s race. The most incredible thing is that each Christian is the only person on his/her track. One does not have to be all that fast, but steady.
The only thing that is behind us on our track is our past (forgetting those things that are behind), with its failures, abuses, hurts, regrets, accomplishments, or fame. If you have your eye on the prize the past cannot hurt/catch you.
The past contains the thoughts that Paul says to forget about, certainly do not ruminate about them, if you do you will stumble (have mental problems). He implies a Christian’s greatest point of failure in running the race is letting the past keep him/her from running well. Look ahead, stretch forward toward a new day and thank God for all you have in Christ Jesus our Lord.