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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
Sharpening our shield is part 8 of 12 shows through Ephesians 6:16 how truth helps a person overcome depression. 'Adopting God's Hope, Overcoming Depression' is the ninth lesson in a series on "Reaching Beyond Mediocrity."
Let's look closely at God's Word, the truth, as found in Ephesians 6:16. God wants to build up our confidence in His wonderful ways.
"In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one"
The flaming missiles are targeted against God's people. These flaming missiles of the evil one are, as I understand it, those ways that the evil one distorts truth so that we further disbelieve God and disobey Him. This is understood partially through the defensive means given, that of faith.
Satan has set himself and his devices to overthrow the strength and welfare of the believers. Paul here is not alluding to things like poverty or lack of jobs but Satan's temptations through which the evil one tears down the faith of God's people. Some believers will go through famine, disease and persecution. Others need to weather materialism, wealth and entertainment. These are not the temptation but the circumstances in which we will face temptations.
These flaming missiles are temptations that cause us to doubt God in the midst of those difficult circumstances. A flaming missile was one which they put tar on the end of an arrow and set it on fire before sending it forth. Not only is the initial impact dangerous but so is the increased dangers through the fire. Doubt disintegrates faith. It destroys our strength as a believer. Please get the message: Satan seeks to destroy us and he does it through temptations which shake our faith.
Our resolve is to fight back with the truth and not to give in. When the missile comes, you do not put your shield down! No!! Instead we hold the shield of faith in place and extinguish those flaming missiles. (Read here for more on understanding how the missile attack works).
So you ask, "How does a person hold that shield of faith up?" It occurs when you keep believing. Which is more powerful? Satan's doubts or God's truth?
As light dispels darkness so truth dispels falsehood. Faith is the trust that what God said is true. You stand by it. You are committed to it. All the doubts that try to make us believe and feel this or that way fail.
Satan's flaming missiles are being thrown at us. We need God's spiritual armor to protect us. Go forward even if all looks black. Trust God even if He does not seem to care. Focus on obedience.
Try to convince a depressed person that she does not need to be depressed and you will end up getting depressed! Depression is almost like a poison which is easily passed on. Their thoughts are so forlorn, so full of emotional, irrational excuses, that one has a difficult time not to join in with the depressed person and become depressed. "Nothing we can do."
Whenever someone has lost their confidence in something, it is hard to regain. They have put their shield of faith down. The person's foundational thinking that formerly supported that truth has eroded away. That foundational thinking needs to be rebuilt step by step. Depending upon the depth of depression, more of that foundational trust in God and His ways will need to be reestablished.
We should be encouraged to discover that the troubles can be healed. What a person normally believed or trusted needs to be restored. As trust regains it position, so does the brain chemicals. Physical and emotional healing follows spiritual healing.
I personally have found that drugs dull people's minds and lulls them into an erroneous belief that the real problem has to do with their chemicals in their brain. This makes them believe that they can do nothing about it. They then further resign themselves to despair and long term medication. This is exactly the opposite to what they need to gain faith. They can never find healing unless they trust the Lord and His ways in their lives.
Can drug therapy help? It can help the symptoms but not resolve the spiritual unbelief. Since the antidepressants are meant to be used for a long term, they can not easily be used for short term serious cases of depression. Remember our battle is against the flaming missiles of the evil one. Chemical treatment of depressed people leave those individuals in difficult long term wanderings, never confident about God's work in their lives. Their testimonies are gone.
So how do we help such a depressed person? -> Next