Clinical Depression

Clinical Depression

God’s Word has much to say about depression and how you can have victory over it. 

But first, let’s ask the question, “Is it possible to get out and stay out of depression?” The answer is yes! Because the answer is “yes,” there is hope. There is hope because of what you are doing right now, seeking a biblical solution to this problem. Don’t stop. Keep reading this article. You are on the right track. 

Now, just what are the steps to finding God’s way out of this problem? There are three. 

Number one, you must know God personally before you can expect Him to give you the help you need. In Luke 21:26 we read that the time will come when, “…men’s hearts fail them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth….” These failing hearts are discouraged and depressed hearts. They are depressed because they fear for their soul. If you do not know Christ as Savior, you have much reason to be depressed and fearful. The solution to this type of depression is repentance of your sins and faith in Christ who died for sinners at Calvary. If Jesus Christ is not your Savior, you must make him so, or your depression will never go away for all eternity. 

Number two, you must not put “feeling better” as your primary goal. Your feelings are not trustworthy; this is true even when you feel good. This is especially true during this depression. However, God’s word is always trustworthy. Then what must your primary goal be if it is not to “feel better?” It must be the desire to please God by doing what he says. God must not be treated as if He were on-call to insure that you “feel good” all the time. No, He is God, and He must be treated as God. We read in the Bible, in the third chapter of the book of Daniel, of three believers who were required to go through a “fiery furnace” and later in chapter 6 Daniel himself was required to go into a “lions den.” Those were difficult times for these godly men. But that was God’s will for the lives of those men. On occasion God wants you and I to go through “fiery furnaces” and “lions dens.” If that is where God wants you, then you must be willing to be a Daniel. It rarely feels good to be a Daniel, but it may be God’s plan for your life. If it is, then be a good soldier of Jesus Christ and persevere in your faith through the difficult times. 

I have seen many people who look to God as a possible way to deal with their problem of depression. They have tried drugs – both legal and illegal, alcohol, sex, material possessions, the power of positive thinking and many, many other false solutions. None work. “So why not try God,” they think? “Maybe that will work.” Such an attitude will surely bring failure. Christ is not a way; He is the way. You must trust him, and him alone, to get out of this depression. He will never agree to be an add-on to your life. He will only agree to be Lord, nothing less. Make Him Lord. Put His feelings ahead of yours. 

Number three; you must do exactly what the Bible tells you to do, no matter how you feel. Many people want to find out what is expected of them by God in order to determine if they want to do it or not. That must not be your attitude. Approach this problem with the attitude that whatever it may be that God wants you to do, then it is a forgone conclusion in your own mind right now, that you are going to do it. 

Let’s summarize. Number one, you must be a believer to solve problems in a Christ honoring way. Number two, you must not depend on or pursue your subjective feelings in working out of this problem. Only God’s Word is trustworthy. Number three; you must do exactly what the Bible tells you to do. Disobedience to the Scripture is not an option for the believer. 

We have now come to a critical point. Two things will just about guarantee depression. The first is an irresponsible disobedience to the Bible. The second is a lack of discipline in your life. Let’s build on these thoughts. 

How does depression start? Depression starts with disobedience to God’s word. At some point in your past you have been faced with a responsible, godly option and an irresponsible ungodly one. You took the irresponsible, ungodly one. Maybe you were faced with discouragement in your marriage, and dealt with that discouraging, difficult problem, in a godless way. Perhaps you had a violent fight with your husband, perhaps you committed adultery, and perhaps you smothered your problem with drugs or alcohol. Maybe you had an abortion. The point is your actions were not what God would have wanted of you. The result? You spiraled down in defeat and discouragement; you became depressed. As the days and weeks passed you kept taking the easy, but irresponsible and godless option with problem after problem. And, as a result, you spiraled further down, down, down. 

King David of Israel did the same thing. He sinned against God by committing adultery and murder. After a while he said in Psalm 32, “Day and night your hand was heavy upon me.” He had acted in a sinful way. He was feeling great guilt, which is often what depression is. He did not handle this sin in a Godly, responsible way by repenting of it to God. Instead he tried to cover it up and, as a result, he was soon saying, “…my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.” Can you relate to that in your life? Is that the way you feel?

Now, depression starts with disobedience but it is made a permanent part of your life by a lack of self-discipline. Women suffer most depression. Why? 

1)    Women go through incredible hormonal changes every month that creates opportunities for depression.

 2)     Unfortunately most women now work in addition to being wives and moms and still end up carrying the load of maintaining the home. 

3)    Women tend to ruminate and discuss a problem excessively, and do so without taking essential steps to solve the problem. 

4)    Women are more emotional and thereby feelings oriented. 

5)    Many women do not have structured schedules for their lives. A lack of structure produces an undisciplined life-style. This added to the irresponsibility of sin, opens women up to severe depression. 

Is discipline a Biblical concept?  It is.  One of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is self-control or discipline. In I Timothy 4:7 you are told to “…exercise (or discipline) yourself toward godliness.” You must pray and ask God for the fruit of self-control in order to deal with this problem of depression Scripturally. 

Discipline, in the face of negative feelings, is so critical. Christians want to feel better before they act obediently and responsibly before God. That is wrong. When Cain sinned against God, by offering an unacceptable sacrifice, the Bible says his countenance fell – he was depressed. What was God’s counsel? Was it, “try to feel better so you can do the sacrifice again?” No! It was, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” God’s counsel was “do well,” do the right things, no matter how you feel, and do it now. If you do, your countenance will be lifted up – you will feel better. Obedience precedes feeling. Remember that, obedience comes before feeling. 

Now, here is where we are. We have identified the two central elements that produce this problem of depression, an irresponsible response to the obedience of God’s word and an undisciplined response to doing what God requires of you. 

So, what is our plan of action? It is a strategy of godliness, responsibility, and discipline. And it is a plan that you must do regardless of how you feel. 

Let’s summarize. To get out of depression, first you must face up to your sin and repent of it. Next, you must pursue a godly disciplined and responsible plan of action in putting this behind you. 

Do two things right now. One, act responsibly by making a list of some Biblical actions that are long overdue in your life. These actions should include the disciplines of your thoughts as well. Do it right now. Maybe that list will include repentance of a sin. Maybe it will include doing the laundry, or cooking supper for your family, or filling out a late tax return. Whatever it is, make a responsible, godly decision-making list right now. Two, follow through no matter how you feel. Be disciplined. Do it because it is the right thing to do. That is all the reason you need. Remember Paul’s words in I Timothy 4:7, “…discipline yourself to godliness.” Next, find an accountability partner to help you stick to your list of needed actions. Perhaps your pastor or one of the leaders of the church will fill that roll. Get started on this project today. 

Conclusion 

If you are committed to do the things mentioned above, you have made an important first step in overcoming the problem of depression, but just a first step. Besides the practical steps given in this brochure there are some other important things you must do. 

First, you must pray about this problem. God tells us that prayer accomplishes much. Jesus Himself spent much time in prayer, and you should also. Pray that God will help you “put off” the old Adamic patterns of your life and “put on” patterns of righteousness. 

Second, you must find a Bible believing church, if you are not in one already, and join it. Tell the pastor what you are dealing with and what you have learned in this brochure. Ask for his help and the help and support of the church.