Heavy hearts and sustained sadness are just two characteristics of depression. The psychological condition affects the whole person-body, soul, and spirit-and generates a pervasive sense of hopelessness. For those in the ditch of depression, it can feel like the walls are closing in.
But depression doesn’t have to be permanent. Healing is possible, and joy can be restored.
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so
Disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I
Will yet praise him, my Savior and my God”
Is Depression the Result of Sin?
Depression is not a result of sin when you…
- Grieve over normal losses.
- Experience natural deterioration due to the passing of years-your body chemistry can change and become compromised.
Depression can be a result of sin when you…
- Suffer consequence of sinful choices, yet continue without change.
- Don’t take necessary steps for healing, seek biblical counseling, our memorize Scripture, read Christian materials, get medical help when appropriate.
- Hold on to self-pity, anger and bitterness instead of choosing to forgive.
- Use depression to manipulate others.
- Continually choose to blame God and other for your unhappiness.
- Are depressed because you choose to let other control you instead of choosing to obey Christ. Allow Him to be in control of you.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depressed persons display sad, discouraged, joyless dispositions. Major depressive episodes often involve five or more of the following classic symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks:
- Pervasive depressed mood
- Diminished pleasure in usual activities
- Significant change in appetite or weight
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, evaluate, or concentrate
- Slower or more agitated movements
- Too little or too much sleep
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Suicidal thought/attempts
Does Taking Medicine for Depression Mean a Lack of Faith?
No. Various physical conditions can contribute to depression. In bipolar and postpartum depression, a biochemical imbalance exists that can generally be treated successfully with medication. Unfortunately, many Christians fear being labeled unspiritual if they seek medical help for depression. Yet by doing nothing, they suffer needlessly.
Sometimes medication is needed for period of time to “level out” mountainous swings so those in the throes of depression can see truth and walk on level ground. Ezekiel 47:12 explains that God made “leaves for healing.” Medicine is biblical. However, medicine should be used not to numb pain or to escape it, but help a person process pain. Also, medication should be the last avenue tried only after all other steps have been taken-and always in conjunction with counseling.
What Are Physical Contributors to Depression?
Hormonal imbalance: Depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Hormonal changes during puberty, postpartum (after childbirth), and peri-menopause (around menopause) can lead to depression.
Medication and drugs: Certain legal and illegal drugs can cause depression, such as analgesic, antidepressant, steroids, contraceptives, and cardiac medications.
Chronic illnesses: Medical problems such as a thyroid deficiency and even a bout with the flu can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, which can cause depression.
Melancholy temperament: Orderly gifted and creative, the person with a melancholy temperament can, at the same time, be moody, overly sensitive, and self-deprecation. Because they are analytical, critical, and hard to please, they can take everything, too seriously-too personally-and quickly become depressed.
Improper food, rest, exercise: A deficiency in physical basics of life can contribute to a chronic sense of fatigue, lack of energy, and social withdrawal.
Genetic vulnerability: Based on statistical data, those with family members who suffer from depression are two times more vulnerable to depression than those with no family history of depression. Likewise, “50% of those with bipolar have at least one parent with the disorder.”
If you are concerned about depression, learn what you can about your family history and treatment options.
“A simple man believes anything,
but a prudent man gives thought to his steps”
What Are Emotional Contributors to Depression?
Some people say, “Depression is anger turned inward.” This is not always true, but is true when anger is repressed. Repression occurs when unacceptable desires and emotions are blocked from a person’s awareness and left to operate in the unconscious mind. This stuffed or swallowed anger causes masked depression and keeps underlying bitterness from being exposed. Bitterness is a major cause of depression.
“Each heart knows its own bitterness
And no one else can share its joy”
Are you repressing anger over the loss of…
…a loved one, expectations, self-esteem, respect for other, control, health or abilities, possessions, personal goals? If so, read Ephesians 4:31: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Are you suppressing fear of…
…losing a job, abandonment, dying, growing old, empty nest, being alone, failure rejection? If so, read Isaiah 41:10; “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Are you internalizing stress over…
…work difficulties, financial obligation, relocation, family, responsibilities, marital problems, troubled child, workload, alcoholic spouse? If so, read 1 Peter 5:7; “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Even our deep disappointments must be resolved or our bitterness will cause trouble. Unresolved anger and bitterness can hurt those who are close to us.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no
bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”
Are There Spiritual Contributors to Depression?
Disobedience and guilt provide enough fertile seed o turn any white cloud into a dark storm.
You can’t harbor the guilt of displeasing God and still experience the full joy of His salvation.
You can’t withstand the schemes and attacks of the enemy without knowing and appropriation the Word of God.
Unless you apply the remedy of confession and repentance-a change of mind and a change of direction- you may find depression sweeping over your soul and spirit, and, like the disobedient Israelites, “you will find no repose, no testing place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart” (Deuteronomy 28:65).
When you ask God to forgive your sins through the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He becomes your Savior.
You can’t lose your relationship with Him, no matter what you do, think, or feel.
You can’t destroy what God protects, and He is the One who secures your salvation and guards it.
At times, you will be disobedient and need to confess and repent. This is not a renewing of your salvation, but a maintaining of your relationship with the Lord. On the other hand, if you’ve never confessed your sins and asked Jesus to become your Savior….
You can’t know you will spend eternity in heaven.
You can’t know true joy in this life.
True joy from God is greater than a life without struggle. It’s a peace that remains when life falls apart. It’s an assurance deep within that enables you to find satisfaction in Him, to trust in His sovereignty through the most harrowing storm. This is possible because God, and no one and nothing else, becomes your greatest delight. And right now, He wants to share this joy with you.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now
remain in my love… I have told you this so that my joy
may be in you and your joy may be complete”
What Can Help Defeat Depression?
Allow the light of God’s love to permeate your “ditch of darkness” and guide you to the Road to Transformation. Here are the steps you can take to C-O-N-Q-U-E-R depression:
C-Confront any loss in your life, allowing yourself to grieve and be healed.
“There is a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance”
O-Offer your heart to God for cleansing and confess your sins.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just and will forgive us our
sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
(1 John 1:8-9).
N-Nurture thoughts that focus on God’s great love for you.
“I have love you with an everlasting love; I
have drawn you with loving-kindness”
Q-Quit negative thinking and negative self-talk.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy-think about such things”
U-Understand God’s eternal purpose for allowing personal loss and heartache.
“We know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose”
E-Exchange your hurt and anger for thanksgiving, and give thanks even when you don’t feel thankful.
“Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this Gods will for you in Christ Jesus”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18).
R-Remember that God is sovereign over your life, and He promises hope for your future.
“For you have been hope, O Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth”
When your heart feels weary and deeply pressed down,
let the weight of your depression press you closer to God.
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