|Dealing with Depression Spiritually, Part I|
Christ in You, the Hope of Glory
by Filoiann Wiedenhoff
December 12, 2008
Category: Christian Living
| DON'T THINK that I could continue to write "How to Deal" articles without dealing with depression. I understand that no one wants to talk about this issue much less read about it but I felt I needed to address this for the simple fact that it is one of the most common issues world wide. I personally have experienced it and know plenty of people who also experience it on a daily basis so it is comforting to know that if you are experiencing depression you are definitely not alone. |
There are different causes of depression such as; chemical, hormonal, trauma and sin. Since I am not a doctor I will address depression biblically with some practical ways to help people deal with depression regardless of what the cause may be.
In this article I hope to address this issue biblically first laying a solid foundation on Christ as our rock and our strength and in "How to Deal with Depression Part II" I will address the practical side to help you work through the depression.
The hard part about depression is that it affects your feelings and emotions and if you are one that is driven by your feelings and emotions or have a hard time in controlling them, it is that much harder to deal with. So what can we do about it?
First I want to share with you a couple important people in the bible who also experienced depression at one time or another, such as: King David when he wrote some of the psalms and Elijah when he ran from Jezebel, collapsed by a tree and wanted to die. I encourage you to read the story of Elijah and how the Angel of the Lord would come to him and feed him while he was exhausted without any food or hope.
In both instances God was with them and never left them. Yes they experienced grief and times of sorrow but they also experienced victory and times of celebration and God loved them and took care of them.
Let's take a look at a passage from the bible that deals with this particular situation.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. "NIV
As we look at these passages it may describe symptoms of depression such as;
- Hard pressed on every side: To feel overwhelmed or under a lot of pressure by your situation. Every where you turn it seems as though things are not working out or going wrong and you feel like the world is caving in on you.
- Perplexed: To be filled with uncertainty, difficulty, puzzled. It usually occurs when a traumatic situation happens and your initial response is to feel numb, confused, you feel weak at the knees as though you have no strength and at the same time frozen as if you can't move.
- Persecuted: To receive punishment, grief, affliction and suffering for a cause or belief.
- Struck Down: To feel attacked, humiliated, put down, demeaned, brought down low. Feelings of unworthiness, hopelessness or condemned.
Can you relate to any of these feelings or symptoms? Let's look at what Paul says to address each one.
1. We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed.
2. We are perplexed but not in despair.
3. Persecuted but not abandoned.
4. Struck down but not destroyed.
To recap what the Apostle Paul is saying here is that although we are going through these situations we are not crushed, in despair, abandoned or destroyed. Why does he say this? The key is in the prior verse 7 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us"
Paul is explaining that this treasure that is in jars of clay which is all surpassing power from God and not from us is what keeps us from being utterly destroyed. The treasure he is talking about is Christ through the Holy Spirit and the jars of clay are our bodies. He is referring to Christ who lives in our hearts by faith empowers us with all surpassing power that comes from Him and not from us.
So how does this happen? If you are a born again believer the bible says you are new creation in Christ, that He lives in your heart by faith and that through the Holy Spirit Christ lives in you. If Christ lives in you then He also lives through you and lives for you.
Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. "NIV
So what is Paul saying in plain English here? He is saying, that you will go through trials BUT you have a treasure within your heart which is Christ living in you by faith through the Holy Spirit that empowers you and preserves you to endure being hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. That it is not of yourself so no one can boast but of God and comes from God.
A great example in the bible is when Daniel, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire; as the soldiers looked in there were four walking around in the fire not three. Although God allowed them to be thrown into the fire, God was right there in the fire with them and they survived the fire with no burns at all. It's important to note that God does not promise that we will not suffer on the contrary, he may allow us to be thrown into the fire but He promises to be there with us and that we will not be burned or destroyed.
Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead."NIV
This is one of my favorite passages in the bible because it reminds us of God's faithfulness, that He cares for us and is with us. It is because of God's great love for us. God is faithful and He will do it.
Now let's turn back to our original passage and look at the last scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:10 "Always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. "NIV
So how does this knowledge help us in depression? It helps us in everything not just depression but trials, tribulations, trauma, persecutions, in everything we go through.
"Always carrying about" in this passage is referring to perseverance by faith. To not give up, to continue moving forward, continue carrying on in spite of how you may feel; understanding that you have Christ living in you and interceding on your behalf, empowering you from the inside out to carry on in the midst of your trials.
If you are a born again Christian and never have thought about Christ living in your heart literally in this way please take some time to meditate on this truth and on His Word and ask God to help you receive this in your heart by faith. It lays a foundation in our hearts that it is God working in us and through us and it is not from us but God that no man can boast.
Col 1:27-29 "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. "NIV
I hope these biblical truths have given you much hope that you are not alone and that Christ is right there with you, living in you and through you. I will share in Part II next on how we can practically apply this knowledge and understanding to our personal life living through depression.
Filoiann Wiedenhoff is a Pastor’s Wife, Work at Home Mom, Woman’s Biblical Counselor, Bible Teacher and Writer. You can subscribe to her monthly newsletter and visit her website.
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