Depression is a mood marked by sadness and gloom – sometimes appearing for no apparent reason – which produces unusual disinterest in life and sometimes a deep sense of despair.
The symptoms of depression are not hard to detect:
– Loss of appetite
– Loss of sleep
– Inordinate fatigue
– Overindulgence in food, beverage, or sleep
– Disinterest in life in general
– Hypochondria (always whining or complaining about some real or imagined physical ailment)
– Unkempt appearance
– Occasional loss of sex drive
– Loss of any drive to achieve
– Unexplained crying spells
– Feelings of heaviness and oppression
– Extremely negative self-image
– Anti-social behavior (including withdrawal from people)
– Lack of long-range plan
If these are symptoms, what are some of the causes of this dark spirit of gloom and despair?
– Physical Causes – Occasionally a person will experience extreme depression because of a change in his or her physical well-being.
– Women – hormonal imbalance
– Men & women – prolonged illnesses or traumatic injuries
– Work (Job 7:3-5)
– Unresolved Guilt – Guilt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It’s a built-in alarm God has placed within us that goes off when we’ve sinned. If unresolved, that’s when depression can follow. David experienced this after he sinned against Bathsheba (Psalm 32:3-5a). Persistence in sin with no remorse, not contrition, and no repentance will bring a spirit of depression that won’t let us go.
– The Loss of a Loved One – Normal grief follows the loss of a parent, spouse, child, or close friend (John 11:21). Long after the normal period of grieving has passed, waves of depression can come back to constrict the survivor.
– Boredom – Life becomes a “hum-drum” affair for some and afflicts all classes of society, not just the poor. Solomon in Ecclesiastes 6:3 is a great example. Try investing your life in others to help the boredom.
– Direct attack from the enemy of our souls. Satan brings attacks of depression upon believers and non-believers alike, through various means (1 Samuel 18:10). God allowed an evil and demonic spirit from the devil to enrage Saul. Saul’s anger and jealousy led to his deep depression.
– Self-pity – Moses experienced this while dealing with God about the troublesome nation of Israel (Numbers 11:11 & 15). Elijah felt this way when Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kings 19:4).
What is the cure for depression?
Acknowledge the source of your depression.
Since Jesus came to give us life to the fullest (John 10:10), and since every good and perfect gift is from God (James 1:17), it’s obvious who the ultimate source of depression is.
As the accuser of the brethren, Satan wants you to feel badly, think badly, act badly, and be convinced that there is no way out – that you’re trapped in your depression.
Claim what you have.
Remember, you’re a child or God, the apple of His eye, His heir, and the one on whom He has promised to lavish His love. “The one who is in you is greater than the one in the world” (1 John 4:4b). As the object of God’s care and concern, you can rest assured that your well-being is His highest priority. (1 Peter 5:7)
Give your depression over to God.
King David once confessed to the Lord (Psalm 55:4-8). Many people with depression think a change of scenery would help their depression to disappear; but all that does is rearrange it. It’s better to officially hand your depression over to God (Psalm 55:22a).
Verbally speak as you offer your situation over to the Lord.
Say: “Lord, I hereby relinquish all my depression to you. I know it doesn’t belong in my life, and you’re not the author of it, so I hand it all over to you and ask that I never receive it back again. Amen.”
Worship and praise God with great intensity.
Even though this is the last thing a depressed person feels like doing it’s a vital step to take, nonetheless. God’s people praised Him in the day of Babylonian captivity (Psalm 137:1, 4).
How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a state of depression? Praise and worship lift depression faster than anything else. The Bible teaches that praise and worship are like a divine layer, prying the spirit of depression off our back and shoulders (Isaiah 61:3). The presence of praise produces the absence of depression.
Start serving others in ministry.
Part of the way God lifts your depression is allowing you to serve others. Get into the habit of continually giving thanks to God. Even though it’s hard, this is the very time we need to thank God (Ephesians 5:20 & 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Make this Your Prayer:
Lord, I would never have asked for these circumstances, but I thank You for them. Teach me what you want me to learn through them. Amen.
More Biblical Counsel
2 Chronicles 20:20-28
2 Corinthians 4:17