Could It Be Possible That What We Are Dealing With Is Actually A Spiritual Issue
This principle lines up with many other passages in scripture that indicate that evil spirits are able to influence how we think, speak, and act. To understand this further, lets look at the story of Peter when he rebuked Jesus:
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Matthew 16:21-23 KJV
Here we see Jesus preparing His disciples for the things which will shortly come to pass. Peter did not like this it didnt make sense to him why bad things should have to happen to Jesus. And he told Him so. Now look at Jesus response he said, Get thee behind me, Satan. Was He talking to Peter? No. Was Satan standing in the room? No.
Help With Depression Through Biblical Truths
The good news is that God is no stranger to depression. He has been supporting His children through depression, and helping them to recover, since Old Testament times. We can and should embrace several Biblical truths during depressive episodes:
We Have Joy In Salvation
We live in a fallen world, one in which good things may come to an end. The tragic dimension of life will be present until the kingdom of God comes fully in Jesus’ return.
The joy of salvation comes from realizing, again and again, that our sins have been forgiven and that we will live forever with the eternally happy God, who desires that we share in His joy. We should never “get over” the gospel.
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What Is The Primary Cause Of Depression
Research suggests that depression doesnt spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.
Should A Christian Take Medication For Depression
Many Christians, pastors, and teachers are against medication. I am not. I believe the Biblical approach to overcoming depression requires us to be able to think clearly. We must be able to take captive our thoughts and force them in obedience to the truth of God taking into account the unseen reality of work God is doing on our behalf. Gaining control of our thoughts can be difficult when the emotions run too hot. There is a place when the emotional struggle of depression prohibits a person from having the ability to take captive their thoughts and focus on Gods truth. When it gets to this point, I believe it is a place for medication. Never take depression medication or any other medication without consulting your physician. You may need an appointment with a Christian psychiatrist to get a prescription.
It is true that many people are over-medicated. However, a Christian psychiatrist will help you to find the balance you need. But the medication must also work together with Christian counseling. Medication without counseling will not end well. To overcome behavior, we need to learn the psychology of the behavior and find interventions to curb and finally stop the behavior. When combined with regular Christian counseling, along with the pattern given to us from Scripture I have already shared, the medication will more than likely be a temporary help to think clearly so you can comprehend the principles being taught in counseling.
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It Helps To Admit What Youre Feeling To Those Youre Closest To
Isolation is a tool the enemy uses to discourage people. With some people, it is easy to know when they are discouraged. But when people are vivacious and life-giving, it becomes more difficult to discern when they are struggling with discouraging thoughts. These people can project such confidence and victory that we dont see the signs when they are in great need. As Christians, we are called and commanded to be involved in each others lives. Depression wants to get you alone. If youre dealing with depression, turn to those who love you and share your feelings of confusion and anxiety with them. This gives them permission to love you at your most vulnerable point.
Satan Is The Father Of Lies
The way to defeat the lies he tells us is to combat them with the truth of Gods Word.
When Satan whispers the lies of defeat, fear, anxiety and despair in our hearts, we must drive it out with our sword, just like Jesus did , using the truth of Gods unchanging Word :
So what does God say to combat the lies of despair, depression and defeat?
Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 46:1-2 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
Psalm 139:7-18 – Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 34:17-18 – The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
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Jesus Set The Example For Us
What does the Bible verses say about depression? The Bible verses says that Jesus came as a servant. He came to show us the love of the Father, to serve us, and to bring healing and restoration to us . Then He told us to do the same.
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Once we have recovered ourselves, God wants us to take the gifts that we receive from Him and share them with others.
As every man hath received the gift, minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, as the oracles of God if any man minister, as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 KJV
Using Essential Oils For Depression
Essential oils are finally reaching the mainstream, and with good reason. They are often immediately effective, highly concentrated, shelf stable, easy to administer, pleasant to use, generally have less side effects, and they are generally safe if used with common sense according to safe practice guidelines. There are many essential oils and blends may be helpful for relieving depression symptoms.
Here are a few of the most important essential oils to help with feelings of depression:
1. Rosemary Essential Oil Rosemary has been shown to help both stress response and clinical depression when inhaled or diffused. It not only demonstrates anti-depressive effects within two weeks when inhaled for as little as 30 minutes daily, it also shows promising neuro-protective activitymeaning it helps to protect your brain neurons from harm.
Many people use smaller amounts of rosemary for daily use homemade lotions, or in diffuser blends as an aid to help bring mental clarity and focus.
2. Lavender Essential Oil Lavender is renowned for its anti-anxiety properties and ability to calm and relax you. If your depression has been impacting your sleep habits, this might be a beneficial essential oil for you to use in the evening. Its another essential oil with studies showing its ability to lessen symptoms of depression.
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What Does The Bible Say About Depression And Anxiety
Talking to Christians about mental illness is like a box of chocolates: you never know what youre going to get.
Some Christians will tell you that depression and anxiety are purely spiritual battles to be heroically conquered with more faith, more Bible reading, and more time spent hunkered down in the proverbial prayer closet.
Others will say that its only a physical issue and that the only sure solution is going to the doctor and loading up on meds.
And still, others will come up with wild theories about demonic attacks and the end times and the Illuminati. Talking to them makes you wonder if something is wrong with them.
But what does the Bible say about depression and anxiety?
Its the million dollar question, right? Depending on what you believe, you can end up with wildly different approaches on how to think through mental illness.
Its important to get this one right.
So lets take a look. What does the Bible have to say about depression and anxiety?
Facing Depression As A Christian: Beware These Misconceptions
Not only can depression make you question God or feel distant from Him, but it can also make navigating Christian community more difficult. Depression can be even more challenging for Christians because, unfortunately, there are misconceptions and stigmas associated with depression in many Christian communities.
When you or the people around you do not understand the reality of depression, it makes seeking help more difficult. Depression can already distort your perception of reality or make you doubt your judgment. Its crucial to be able to recognize what is and is not true about depression.
Many well-meaning people may actually give you bad advice because they dont understand depression.
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Who In The Bible Suffered From Depression
We know that many strong, Godly characters in the Bible trekked their valley of sadness. From Hagar to David to Elijah, depression is seen in the lives of people who loved God and whom God showed favor. Marthas depression led to anger. Job wept and cried aloud. Jonah was bitter in depression. Moses suffered deep depression for a long period of time.
One of the greatest tools of the enemy is to make us believe we are the only ones that feel the way we do that we are the only ones who struggle as we do. But the Bible is clear that no temptation has seized us that is not common to man.
We Live In A Sin Fallen World
All creation, including each one of us, is broken and stained with sin and imperfection because of the fall of man.
Romans 3:23-24 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:18-21 – I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
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It’s Not A Works Fight It’s A Focus Fight
Paul is reminding us that we have a WHOLE new identity, a new humanity always full of grace .
Because of this, we can “fight” to stay focused on the eternal security we already have,even in depression, anxiety, or any other challenge.
It’s not a works fight, it’s a focus fight. Because a great identity-value focus always leads to new ways of living, not vice versa!
Paul follows up the call to “fight the good fight” by saying, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” This means your true identity and grace in Christ are already within reach for any journey, condition, or circumstance. So, fight the good fight really means
Youre already interconnected and lovingly secure in Christ! Dont give up or give in to anything contrary to what Christ has already fulfilled in you!
Despite the condition , take hold of what you do have and rest in your new creation reality! Create life around that, not working to try to get it – as if it were far off.
Misconception: Depression Is Not Real
Reality: Depression is a real illness that impacts the brains ability to function as it should.
The idea that depression is not real is a very dangerous misconception that prevents many people from getting help.
I remember sharing about my depression with a friend. He shared that he had similar experiences. He even felt so bad in high school that his mother took him to the doctor. The doctor diagnosed him with major depression and prescribed antidepressants. When they got home, his mother threw the medication sample in the trash and said that depression was not real. They never went back to the doctor or mentioned the diagnosis again.
My friends mother is a strong Christian who cares deeply for her son, but she bought into the myth that depression is not real. She seemed to think it was something shameful. Sadly, my friend to needlessly suffered from depression for years and even despaired of life itself. He finally got professional help for his depression a few years ago and is now thriving.
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Truths About Depression And Faith
God comes close to those who suffer.
Theres no shortage of troubling circumstances in life that can make you feel anxious and depressed. Whether youre anxious about the future or depressed about the past, your negative emotions will prevent you from living the healthy life God wants you to enjoy right now. Depression can weigh heavy on you. Many Christians feel that their depression is a result of a lack of faith or spiritual shortcomings. Those times when we feel our faith is fruitless can be incredibly frustrating. The more we believe weve fallen short, the more we think God cant help us through our suffering. But God can. Depression is not a spiritual deficit, the result of a lack of faith or a sin in your past. There is nothing you can or cant do in your spiritual life to change how your brain functions its completely out of your hands. But you can understand that God is with you, especially during your darkest hours. He understands your depression and will walk beside you through it. Here are six truths about depression and faith.
Remember: You Are Not Alone
About one-fourth of Psalms in the Bible is to minister to those afflicted with depression and despair.
The author doesnt plead for relief from the circumstanceshe pleads for intimacy with Jesus! This is the point of the Psalms. This is the point of suffering, grief, pain or depression. No one else will tell you this other than Scripture. There is meaning in your depression! There is value in fighting for joy! There is a purpose in holding fast to hopeSo that you may long for what really matters. Cry out in desperation to the only one who can satisfy, Jesus!
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Read Ephesians 1 over and over and over. Write out whats true about you in Jesus!
Read Romans 8 over and over and over. Write out the Hope you have in Jesus!
If you are Suicidal: Dont keep your thoughts hidden. Talk to trusted leaders in your church immediately. Your church family is a crucial part of the safety net God has created to help us fight depression and anxiety.
This content was originally presented in a SWO19 summer breakout, Dealing with Depression by Rob Conti.
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