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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


Exercises#1-5 | Handout | Video Podcast | D2 Index | RSS


Gaining Discernment of Depression

Gaining Discernment of Depression is part 4 of 12 that helps identify and improve our perceptions which influence our susceptibility to depression. Learn also how we can train our mind senses. 'Adopting God's Hope, Overcoming Depression' is the ninth lesson in a series on "Reaching Beyond Mediocrity."


If we are going to consistently gain victory over the evil one's devices, we must train our mindsets or perception of things. The mature believer is marked with discernment. Hebrews 5:14 says, "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."

What a person feels or thinks is not necessarily true. Our perceptions can and will distort reality and misguide us.

Satan tries to shape our judgments by influencing our minds and thus guides us down the road toward depression and suicidal thoughts. Lack of confidenceThe mark of maturity is the fact that we have mastered or consistently trained these senses. How does a person do this?

This whole Reaching Beyond Mediocrity D2 series coaches you through the training that is needed to properly mature. Each topic, including this one on depression, is a mini 'training program' to help a person rightly train his or her senses to overcome some personal problem. The training does not stop in a course that we studied. It must not if it is to be successful.

We must move on and shape our senses and perception to understand and adopt God's hope. That is, we are to allow the hope that comes from God's Word influence our perceptions of things. In other words, we must have a full and proper perception of things if we will succeed.

'Solid food,' strong biblical teaching based on God's Word, is necessary for this training. As long as a believer hangs around in kindergarten class, he will not properly mature in his understanding so to become a mature believer. We are not to be as waves tossed to and fro but affirm a strong biblical mindset (Ephesians 4:14 read more).

We must understand the choice between living by the Spirit or defaulting into a worldly mindset. Depression definitely derives from a lack of confidence in the way God might care for them. In many cases, a person first has been lured by his dreams or temptations into that promising career, marriage, ministry or ideal life only to find out that it is not ideal at all.

Broken dreamsBroken dreams cause a lack of vision or focus. We have said that though some of these dreams are okay, they should never have been the key focus in our lives. If we believe our success is dependent upon this dream, then we should see how we have too high elevated it. Jesus says that we need to die to ourselves. It is fine to want a good marriage and family or even career. But the moment, we exalt that ideal as our dream, it becomes our idol. God will, in His grace, crush it during our time on earth before Judgment Day.

When our dreams break apart, we are susceptible to other idols. "If this does not work, I will try this!" At some point, though, when success is not found, we will be tempted with regressing into a mindset where depression easily enters in. Let me further explain what happens when depression sets in.

Depression's Problem

Depression can be described from mild or moderate to very serious (manic depression) where it threatens one's life. It is proper to think of depression as a downward cycle, reinforcing itself itself at each stage with the purpose of going further downward.

depressive thoughtsWhat happens is that at each stage, we are giving in to certain thoughts that come to our mind and accept them to define our situation. Once we accept those thoughts, then we battle over another level of thoughts. The thoughts are not encouraging and helpful so they are not easily accepted. Here are some examples. Add to the list! The more clearly these thoughts are identified, the easier it is to understand where we are at in the downward cycle. In order to fight an enemy, it helps to know things about them.

Further convincing thoughts combined with strong feelings can easily persuade a person accept these unpleasant conclusions as true.

When a person regularly thinks this way, the downward cycle can progress very quickly down. The typical barriers have already been broken down in the past and more easily crossed over. The further we give in, the more dominated we are by the evil one's grasp. It is Satan, after all, who is behind these temptations. He wants our failure and defeat.

Continue on to get a better look at what this downward cycle might look like and how it is connected to a root cause.