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Overcoming Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God

 

Overcoming Depression: Lesson #9

Adopting God's Hope

Discipleship Level 2: Reaching Beyond Mediocrity

Rev. Paul J. Bucknell

Depression in the News | Obtaining Hope | Emotions, Feelings and Depression
Gaining Discernment | Root Cause| The Path (5Ds)
Hope Through Obedience | A Strong Shield | Rebuild Foundation
Deeper Trust | Two Truths | Deliverance Cycle

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Depression in the News

DepressionLooking for relief from depression or find a cure to help the depressed? 'Adopting God's Hope, Overcoming Depression' carefully examines the root sources for depression from a Biblical perspective. If a person avoids dealing with the sources of depression, his or her depression will continue to disturb one's life. Learn how to overcome depression, and God will use you to bring His hope into your soul and others!

Depression in the News is part 1 of 12 that describes depression in today's society. 'Adopting God's Hope, Overcoming Depression' is the ninth lesson in a series on "Reaching Beyond Mediocrity."

Depression is commonplace in today's society.

Like a dark fog depression rolls over a person's life so that confusion, despair, isolation, burden and a spirit of giving up invades one's thoughts and wrecks havoc on one's life.

Those caught in depression feel as if there is no escape. But is there?

Are we not as God's people called to bear forth the fruit of hope and joy? This article on overcoming depression brings us face to face with a huge problem in our society, one that could be largely avoided.

What is this misty unknown fog clamping down on my life? I try to escape and sometimes this ‘downer’ disappears. But as I give in, the shadow encircles me. I confess no hope. No one likes me. No one can help me. It would have been better if I never lived. – Personal Reflections

I remember once writing a paper on depression during my college days. The teacher wrote a comment on the edge of the paper in response to my descriptive introduction of depression.

"Is this a quote from somewhere?
Or did you write–from
experience perhaps?"

I never had an opportunity to respond to my teacher. That description was from my own real life experiences. I had to deal with many torturous dark thoughts which clouded over my mind. They all pushed me in one direction – give up. These clouds were surrounded with mists of downcast, despair and defeat. If God had not led me into the joys of inductive Bible study early on in my Christian life, I surely would have given into the persuasion of those dark voices.

Certainly, I was not the only one combatting such oppressive spirits. Even back in my college days during the 1970s, depression was called an emotional epidemic. What would it be called today? A scourge.

Be Wary of the World's Advice

The problem of depression has worsened since the 1970s. In 2005 the largest number of prescribed medication in the United States was antidepressants. This is bad, but it is made much worse by the world's hype (though the connection between hype and number of prescriptions is obvious).

First, there is hype.

Let's look at one example. People associate depression with menopause and its flux of hormones. Wolf in sheep clothingBut careful studies have shown that the two are non-related. The problem is not the change of hormones but perhaps other changes that occur at that age in the way a woman looks at herself, her beauty and her life. The lessening of hormones takes the flair of life away and unless one has learned to live and think rightly, depression easily can settle in.

Mistakes from poor choices such as in parenting now are faced head on with their disrespectful grown children. We have too quickly blamed the chemical changes and far too hesitantly accepted God's prompting for life awakening in our later years. It might just be God's last effort before we die. The question is, "Will we learn to live by His love and grace or continue to just live off our weakening self-confidence?"

Second, there has a been a blind trust in the world's analysis.

There are perhaps some pure physical changes due to an improperly functioning thyroid (I am no doctor) that might induce a spirit of depression.

But most depression, and even in these cases induced by physical anomalies, gets worse by not rightly discerning the root spiritual cause of depression.

We need to be much more critical on the world's analysis. Even now, even though medication is a common way of dealing with depression's symptoms, it professes that these medications do not really often work. Do get a physical checkup and see if there is a physical problem with one's thyroid glands, but carefully examine the report and proposed solution. Usually they cannot solve the root problem because the counselors do not understand or believe in the soul where the problems usually occur.

Third, we must be much more quick to adopt God's analysis.

With the world's message whirling about our minds, 'take an antidepressant' is the only way to find treatment, we actually subtly reject God's cure. An imbalance of brain chemicals does not prove that the problem is not a spiritual problem. Dr. Robert Smith importantly states, "Lithium does not correct a chemical imbalance, for none has been proved to exist" (The Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference by Robert Smith, p. 219.).

Once we hear it is a physical problem, we tend to resign the problem to be beyond our own sphere of responsibility. This actually not only worsens one's despair ("I'll never get better") but torments them with no hope. We act as if these things are beyond control, but when we look at God's Word, we can find lots of hope and do lots of things that make a significant relief and cure to depression. When a believer's hope is diminished through counsel, we need to be very, very wary. Depression lived on in Jesus' age too. We need to see how the power of the Gospel relates to these issues.

Fourth, we need to face our true failures.

People tend to shift blame. It is much easier on our conscience. Instead we should welcome the conscience's work and face up to the ways we have disobeyed God. Isn't this the point of the cross? We have failed God and that in His marvelous grace and mercy He has provided a way to forgive us through Christ!

Why should we still hide form our sins and void the power of the gospel in our lives? Healing comes from our confession for there we begin to look anew to God's grace and He is so willing to help.

Summary

There is no doubt many chemical swings in a person's life can somewhat alter a person's feelings and perspectives, but we should think of them as stages or fluxes in one's life than causes to our problems. They more often reveal unresolved problems rather than cause them.

If we are mishandling something while going through different seasons or challenges of life, then we might be all the more unwilling or unable to cope with our circumstances. If during these times, we give up, then we will end up on a blind alley with all sorts of dangers lurking about. Now is the time to fully turn to the Lord and seek His hand in reshaping or reviving our lives. If we want to handle depression, we need to start with identifying the real problem or we will forever be removed from a genuine solution.

"Those who trust in the LORD are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever" (Psalm 125:1).

We need to be those who trust in the Lord. Note from Psalm 125:1 how firm God's people are when they trust in Him. They are not moved by their circumstances, emotions and feelings. But many of God's people do not trust the Lord as much as they believe. Their circumstances will at times reveal this. Do not look at depression as an enemy but as God's agent to help one grow closer to Him.

But how do we find help for depression? How is it that one can find these root causes? This is what we will begin to focus on in the next section.

Continue on to discover how to obtain hope for those influenced by depression.

Reaching Beyond Mediocrity book

Reaching Beyond Mediocrity (Click here)

Discipleship at the 2nd level

by Paul J. Bucknell

God's Word comes alive as you learn how to use it to overcome personal struggles like anxiety, depression, pride, lust and anger. God has made you strong! Many worksheets! (300+ pages). This is the full resource with all the complete and updated pages included!