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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
The Cycle of Deliverance for Depression, part 12 of 12, provides a five point summary on the steps to overcome Depression. 'Adopting God's Hope, Overcoming Depression' is the ninth lesson in a series on "Reaching Beyond Mediocrity."
Let us close by summarizing five steps as seen on the cycle of deliverance chart.
Try to identify the things that you have neglected, wrongly done or broken dreams of success. Sometimes they are difficult to spot because we have fixed our focus on others. If you sense bitterness in your heart, turn before the Lord and ask Him to point out your own fault.
Many things can be fixed quickly if we would but repent and start doing the right things. If not, guilt piles up which confuses and blinds our minds. If you cannot find anything wrong, just move on along through this cycle until something resonates with you.
We have focused on two main areas that lead to a spirit of resignation for the Christian believer. Unbelievers need to be led to salvation before they can find the comfort of the Heavenly Father. We must make sure we do not just agree with them as doctrine but think through what the truths practically mean to our lives.
These are the two truths: God is all powerful and He cares for us His people. There are no doubt many other relevant truths to help us from many problems, but these two will keep His people from giving up. For if God is all powerful and He has set His heart on caring for you and me, then He will use His almighty power at His special timing and manner to help me. Depression's greatest problem is giving up because one can not cope with a problem. But when God is on one' side, there is no reason to give up.
In fact, if one does give up, one can be sure that he has doubted God in one or two of these areas. Trust is built on confidence of God's character and ways towards my life. Sometimes one might have to carefully test our faith. We can do that with these two statements. You finish them.
Or you could put both of them together and say,
Since the all powerful Lord carefully watches over me, I will cry out to Him and He will help me through this particular situation.
The evil one knows we can find grace to overcome with the truth (although he no doubt hates to admit it). He brings lies into our minds to cause us to falsely think and not rely on the Lord. If we doubt God's ability to help us, then we are very prone to his temptations. If we are suspicious toward God, His motives or His close involvement in our lives, then we will not trust Him.
Another way we can spot our doubts is in the lines (groups of words) that go through our minds. At first, one will not even recognize them. But pay attention to what one is thinking, especially when depressed or moody, and you will begin to see the doubts that the evil one has seeded into your minds.
He keeps us in deceit away from truth by placing these doubts about God's care for us. There are two kinds of lines that commonly go through our minds when facing depression.
￼The first phrase that go through our minds support the doubts we have of God.
"I guess He doesn't care for me."
"I didn't think He could help me here."
These might be a bit more subtle once a person has gone into depression. Another layer of thoughts will become more apparent with careful discrimination.
"I am not good enough."
"I can never be that good."
"I guess I may as well give up."
These are the thoughts of resignation. A depressed person has the hope squeezed out of him. People hate depression and look for hope to break its bind around them. So the evil one has to keep these thoughts active to keep up the persuasion.
We might step in and out of mild depression for a bit but Satan's purpose is clear. Destroy. Shoot those flaming missiles because he wants our end. I stress this because unless the person with depression, or maybe us who will at some time in the future face depression when we are exhausted or undisciplined in our minds and lives, must realize this is a spiritual warfare and only the shield of faith can rescue us. Breakthrough comes when we follow through with step #3.
Confession has two parts. Confession is known better for acknowledging our sin. This is one important side of confession. Guilt is cared for when we acknowledge our sins. All our sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ. That sense of fear and intimidation is gone. We are accepted by our gracious Lord. Our faith and trust in Him is strengthened. Let's note a bit closer what is happening here.
Before our confession, we are suppressing our guilt and hiding from the Lord. Our mind does not want to entertain the truth of God or the truth of our situation. Some might feel that to point out the sin of a depressed person is wrong because it will get them further down and depressed. I think we can understand and applaud this kind of concern. The problem is that by not confronting the depressed with the truth, he or she will remain in the spirit of depression. Truth is the way out.
As to the first part of confession, a person is confessing the truth of his sin before God and others. The foundation for depression occurred when guilt was hidden in the soul. We must be careful, though, not to draw the wrong conclusion about our sin.
God wants us to notice how bad we feel (consequence) to recognize that perhaps we have done something that has offended Him. The Spirit's conviction leads us to the cross where healing can be found.
Do you see the difference?
There is a second level of confession and repentance. This is where we acknowledge the truth about God and His ways. In one sense, these two stages are the same. They are different in that one leads to acknowledging sin while the other is recognizing the truth.
John meshes these together in 1 John 1:5-10. Notice how he begins this section.
"And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).
Notice how he states the powerful truth of God's holiness. God is light. True confession must not focus on self but extend itself by confessing what is true, good and holy. Yes, we must confess our sinfulness, but our thoughts do not remain there.
Confession will naturally move into prayer. This is our fourth step of the cycle of deliverance for depression.
Confession has to become prayer. We need to proclaim the truth about our sin, God's forgiveness through Jesus, God's holiness, but we also want to state the person God has made us to be. The Lord lives in us. He is holy and lives out His love and righteousness through our lives. Or just take the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and tell the Lord how you want Him to develop these in your lives. "Love, joy, peace, patience, …."
Actively seek God to develop these things in your life especially where you have found failure. Do you see the different mindset here? Instead of resigning to defeat and self-pity, you are seeking God's grace to do those things which are good and delightful before Him.
Let me give an example of a prayer of someone feel depressed.
Dear Lord, I thank you for your love. I don't feel your love but I know you are there constantly caring for me. You care for me even more than I do at this moment. Please forgive me for giving up on caring for my husband. I shouldn't be so mad at him. Even if he did wrong, which he has, you have told me to be quiet of heart and kindly submit to him. I was more like a roaring lion. This is so wrong of me.
I have given up on our marriage but today I am welcoming your help in my life and our marriage. Things look so bleak, partly through what I have done. But you are a mighty God who does wonders. Forgive me through the blood of Christ. Strengthen me to be that woman you called me to be. Instead of giving into a spirit of defeat, I am stepping into the truth of your light. Shine, O Lord. May your Name be glorified even in my life and marriage. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
Although some people stay away from reading prayers, sometimes they can help break us from a self-focused spirit. Use and adapt it! But do pray. Pray the truth.
Depression worsens each time we feel overwhelmed. We feel overwhelmed by being reminded of those things which we have neglected to do or things wrongly done. As long as the laundry pile remains high, you will easily be discouraged. Your solution in part is to simply do one or two loads a day. Get someone to keep you accountable. Ask God for help.
If you feel that doing what you have neglected is too much (you have neglected much), start somewhere. It might be that you will brush your hair, get dressed and make breakfast for everyone. Perhaps you feel going to work would be too much, if possible try to go in for several hours. If that does not work out, do some things around home.
It helps to talk to someone that will help you schedule what you should do each day. This schedule helps some people live by that schedule rather than their feelings. It presents a goal for each day which they think by God's grace they can do. Do a bit more each day.
There is no magic here but just start doing what one had stopped can go a long ways in revealing that one's former conclusion was not true. You can do somethings. And if you can do some things, then the evil one is perhaps wrong on other things he whispered into your mind. So step by step you pray the truth of what you should be and walk in that pathway.
There are many things that can be said in summary, perhaps too many. The Cycle of Deliverance for Depression is a summary in and of itself. But let me just list some more general points here to keep you focused.
Remember that the Lord has made you an overcomer! He wants you to testify to His greatness. As you learn these truths, God will bring others who have similar needs into your life. You can share what He has done in your life and how. By first telling about your own life, they know you are not just bragging or emptily speaking about religion. You are telling about the power of the Gospel!
"Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said,
I will sing to the LORD,
for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God,
and I will extol Him.
The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name."
This concludes lesson #9 on Overcoming Depression: Adopting God's Hope. Since the issues surrounding depression go deep into the heart, we encourage you to take advantage of the exercises supplied with this lesson. They will challenge you to further examine your own life as part of the learning process. Consider going to our resource center to have all the materials and much more in one place including powerpoints.
Continue on to look at the exercises that accompany this lesson on overcoming depression. Or check the sidebar for further resources related to spiritual development.