Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christians and Depression

Being a Christian does not make us exempt from troubles and depression. Let's face it; everyone is depressed at some time or another. Even Jesus was depressed and had anxiety before going to the cross.
Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be one. 43 And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Don't let anyone tell that your depression is not real or that if you just had enough faith you wouldn't have it. Although some depression is because of sin not all is. The causes of depression can be both physical and psychological and spiritual. If we can find the cause of the problem, there is a good chance of being able deal with it or remove it entirely. Merely treating our symptoms with pills and or alcohol may bring some temporary relief, but recognizing the cause could help bring about a more permanent solution.

Our greatest enemies are those of fear, guilt, anxiety, depression, discouragement and loneliness. Satan will use these things against us. But realize he is powerless to do anything unless we give him that power. The greatest sin is not believing that God has the power to deliver us. Satan wants you to let go of your faith. He wants you to believe that no one cares and that there is no hope for you. If he can fill you with unbelief then he has succeeded in his mission to destroy you. God never walks away from you, YOU walk away from HIM!

Depression can stem from guilt.
David had committed adultery and was depressed until he confessed his sin.

Psa 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was healed.

Psa 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightiest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me 12 Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

David went to the Lord with a broken heart and confessed his sin. If our depression is from guilt, go boldly to the throne of grace and confess your sin and deal with it.

1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Holy Spirit responds to your broken heart.

Heb 12:1 .. . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What can we do when we have depression?
Call upon God. Keep your eyes upon Jesus, not the circumstance. If we let the circumstances overwhelm we limit God.

2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Psa 50:15 And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

When we call upon the Lord we can be assured that He hears the cry of every child of God.

Do not isolate yourself and close yourself in darkness. The devil wants to isolate you. He can bring you down to the very bottom when we do not have contact with other Christians to encourage and pray for us. Talk with someone in your family or a friend that you trust. Ask them to pray with you. Choose someone who understands. Sometimes God will use our loneliness for us to reach out to Him. So sometimes loneliness can be a good thing. Dr. Carl Menninger once gave a lecture on mental health and was answering questions from the audience. Someone said, "What would you advise a person to do if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?"Most people thought he would say, "Go see a psychiatrist immediately," but he didn't. To their astonishment, Dr. Meninger replied, "Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find somebody in need, and help that person." To overcome discouragement, "Don't focus on yourself, get involved in the lives of other people."

Light has a definite impact on our lives.
Christ and the word are often referred to as light. Let us be reminded that there will be no darkness in the new heaven and earth.

Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Stop thinking Negatively
Depression can be caused by always thinking negatively, flesh controlled thinking. Reach up and turn that little radio off in your ear that keeps playing the same tune over and over. Make this a conscience choice that you will not listen to negativity.

Phi 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Rejoice even when you don't feel like it.
Nothing can make the devil flee from you faster than praising God. He will take advantage when you are down. Get the body in gear and the mind will follow.

Phi 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Jam 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.

Remember the devil doesn't mess with those he already has.

Choose to be thankful.
Have an attitude of gratitude. Make a list of all your blessings. And thank God for each one. Sometimes when we see all the blessings we do have it can be uplifting.

Sing and give praises to His name.
Singing and worship music can be very uplifting when we are down. It is hard to be depressed when we are singing. Stay away from old music that brings unpleasant memories to you.

Psa 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Psa 21:13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

We can sometimes procrastinate about things that are not even going to happen.
Give God time to move in our situation. Mat 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Let go of self-hatred and anger with others.
Depression is anger turned inwards.

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Many diseases are caused by an unforgiving spirit. We need to learn accept ourselves as God made us. If we cannot love ourselves then we cannot love someone else.

Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Remember you are made by God in His very image. To reject yourself is to look upon what God has made in criticism. Accept yourself as God does.

Stop looking to self and others or things in which to place your hope and happiness.
When we buy things to bring us happiness it is only a quick fix. We should not depend upon people to bring us happiness. All these things will forsake you but hope in Christ is everlasting.

Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

When our happiness is dependent upon human relationships and that person fails to meet your needs you will be unhappy again. Your needs are spiritual and only God can fill them. The truth is until you are a whole person within yourself you will make the same mistakes over and over again in all your human relationships. So many marriages end with each trying to fulfill their needs by leaning on the other. When your relationship with God is not right then all your relationships will be affected. We do need one another, the comfort and love of our families and friends, but they cannot make our happiness last. Only God can do that.

How often I have heard, "If God would just put someone in my life I would be happy. I wouldn't be lonely anymore." Until we come to the realization that our happiness is not dependant upon someone we will repeat the same mistakes over and over.

Forget the past.
We should not constantly be living in the past. Although we should remember and learn from our pasts we should never live there for it can be depressing. Christians go forward not backward. Remember you have a whole new life before you in Christ and he can heal all those past hurts if we let Him.

Phi 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, Phi 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Learn from your depression, and when you have come out of it God will be able to use you to minister to others. You can't understand depression until you have been there. Let it produce love in your heart for others instead of bitterness and an uncaring attitude. Would you turn your back on someone with diabetes or cancer? Depression and mental illness is just the same!

Mental illness and depression
Depression is sometimes caused by chemical imbalances. God sometimes uses medicine to heal but, drugs can mask the symptoms instead of getting to the source of the problem. Seek help immediately for prolonged depression or if contemplating suicide. Seek professional help. Have a good physical to rule out any medical problems. And pray for God to lead you to the right sources. God loves you and He will supply those you need if you only ask.

Those who suffer need Christian support and the love of their families and friends. It could happen to any of us. A lack of support and encouragement is the last thing one needs when faced with emotional problems that have overwhelmed them. Find someone who understands that you can confide in. Be careful when choosing someone. They need to be Godly people that can be trusted. The last thing you need is a fair weather friend who will abandon you. The devil uses people like that to bring you even further down.

We can look at the book of Job to see how the wrong friends and an insensitive family can make things even worse. Few of us will ever enter into sufferings like Job did. Job lost all his possessions. His children were killed and his body was racked with horrible sores and his friends judged and condemned him, and his wife told him he should curse God and die. Job's pain was almost unbearable. Yet when his trial was over God increased
everything to Job two-fold. Would your character stand if satan were to challenge God over your reasons for serving Him.

The problem is that many are not sensitive enough to the emotional problems of others. They are too wrapped up in self. I pity these people for they may find themselves alone some day. Look at what friends and family did to Jesus. The devil will use other human beings. We need to love one another no matter what!

Some Biblical instances of depression.
Isa 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 15 And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. 17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. 18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. 19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. 20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. 21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. 23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed.

In 1 Kings 19 we see Elijah's depression and how it was dealt with. Elijah's mind was focused on Jezebel instead of the LORD. He took his eyes off the Lord and focused on his problem. He got on his pity pot with a poor me attitude. Self pity leads to depression. In reality God had many other faithful believers. Elijah was not alone as he imagined. Instead of trusting in God as he had done in the past years, he ran for his life. He left God out of the picture. He wasn't thinking rationally. But God provided for Elijah and lifted him out of his depression. In his time of need God gave him a friendship with Elisha. When we have mistaken thinking then we have all the wrong emotional thinking.

Look at Jonah 4. Jonah became depressed and angry when God had mercy towards those of Nineveh when they repented after Jonah had prophesied their destruction because of their evil ways. He wanted to die. He was more concerned that he might be losing his credibility as a prophet. Jonah did the right thing but with a wrong attitude. God will deal with rebellion in our lives. He works in our lives in order to work through our lives to other people. A burden for the lost.

Our hope is in God.
Psa 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time

1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Even when your family and friends forsake you, God never abandons you. God remembers you. Tell the Lord you are going to wait upon Him. You will come out a better and stronger person in the long run.

The apostle Paul was focused on the eternal rather than the temporal.

2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

You were not created to live a life of discouragment.
Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.

Don't let your circumstances bring you down.
His will can be revealed to you in these circumstances.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

We cannot trust in self, but we can trust in Christ.
Lam 3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.

Jer 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

You are valuable to God.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

You will never be released from discouragement and depression until you have a truly personal relationship with Christ.

Psa 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Without God in our lives we are lonely and depressed for we were made for God.

2Th 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, God can use our sufferings to prepare us to be in His service of helping others.

Precious promises
Joh 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

2Co 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

1Pe 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

1Pe 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Psa 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Psa 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

Psa 27:5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

Psa 40:17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

Psa 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Psa 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Isa 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

Dear Christian, if you are at the point that you are hurting so badly that you are crushed under the load then reach out to God. He will show Himself strong in your weakness. The Holy Spirit will impress someone into your path that will reach out to you and help you with your burden.

Heavenly Father, Help me to remember that I am created in Your image and that I am a somebody. Help us to turn to You in simple childlike faith, knowing that we will find You all sufficient. We pray for those who do not know that they can rest and trust in You, and who may not be able spiritually and physically, and we pray that You will give us an opportunity every day to do good in Your name. Let us be Your messenger of hope to this lost and dying world.

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