Many years ago I received a call from a sister where I preached who wanted to talk to me about a problem she was experiencing.
She was an attractive lady in her 30’s. Her husband owned a successful business. They had two lovely teenage daughters. They lived in a fashionable part of town in a beautiful home. They wore stylist clothes. Drove luxury cars.
As I drove to her home, I wondered what could possibly be her problem?
When I arrived, I was even more astonished to learn that she was suffering from depression! Really? As a 20Something, novice preacher, I doubt that I was very much help. But I did listen.
In looking back, I’ve come to realize that the causes of her depression involved the three major reasons we discussed yesterday–anger, self-pity, and guilt. Fortunately, she received the proper counsel. Years later I learned that she was doing well.
Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, in Happiness is a Choice, claim “Depression is 100% treatable. In fact, depression is 100% curable.” That’s a pretty bold claim! And I’m sure some will disagree. But, let me share some thoughts on how we can win over the demon of depression.
To overcome depression we must first accept that we are spiritual beings. Too often counselors only treat the emotional symptoms of depression through psychotherapy. Or psychiatrists treat the physical and mental symptoms through drug therapy. What is missing is spiritual therapy!
Tim LaHaye was right when he wrote, “One of the great tragedies of our times is that theistic humanists have so brainwashed our culture into thinking man is an animal without a spiritual dimension.” As a result LaHaye says, that “most people possess few spiritual reserves upon which to draw in times of mental, emotional or physical distress.” He concludes that “the giant God-void within them seriously compounds their problems and hampers recovery.”
Let me suggest four things you can do that will provide some spiritual therapy.
(1) Lean on God’s Source of Power.
I believe in God. I believe He is all-powerful. All-knowing. And Ever-present. He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).
Peter promises that we are “kept by the power of God” (1 Pet. 1:5). The word “kept” is a military term that means “to guard, protect by a military guard, to prevent hostile invasion…”
God knows how to protect and guard us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But we must lean on Him. God’s infinite power will lift the fallen. Strengthen the weak. Comfort the sorrowful. Love the unloved. And save the lost.
(2) Learn through Scriptures of Promise.
We are given “great and precious promises” (2 Pet. 1:4). When we neglect the promises of God, we do so to our own peril. Jesus, the incarnate Word, came to give us an abundant life (Jn 10:10). Through the revelation of His Holy Spirit, we can find comfort, consolation and encouragement in time of emotional distress.
The Psalms have been called “God’s antidepressants.” 48 of the 150 Psalms speak to the condition of the depressed person.
More than once in his life, David dealt with depression. He suffered rejection. Loss of love. Guilt. Feelings of inadequacy. And helplessness. Once he wrote, “If I had the wings of a dove, I’d fly away and be at rest!” Ever felt that way?
But here’s what David concluded: Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Ps 55:22)
(3) Look to Serve Others.
Depressed people tend to be overly introspective. They spend hours analyzing themselves, and being overly critical. Get outside yourself. Your life. And your problem. Focus on how you can help others?
The Bible encourages us to look beyond our own interests and for the interest of others (Phil. 2:3-4). Serve others. Do good. Look for ways to minister. H. Norman Wright in Beating the Blues wrote, “One of the best remedies for depression is to become more active.”
(4) Live in the Spirit of Positiveness
It is true that some people literally think themselves into depression. Our feelings come from our thoughts. So, if our thoughts are negative, hopeless and hurtful, that is the way we will feel.
Paul, while in a Roman prison, wrote, “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 3:1). He further admonished us to think upon things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable. These thoughts of virtue and excellence will positively impact our feelings and produce peace of mind, heart and life.
I hope these five posts will offer some encouragement to those who need it most. My personal prayer for you is that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
You can enjoy victory over depression!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman