DEPRESSION

(Disappointment And Discouragement)

 

DEFINITIONSDepression is an emotional condition characterized by feelings of continued hopelessness, inadequacy, gloom, dejection, sadness, and difficulty in thinking, concentration, and action.  Depression also causes loss of interest, hopelessness, and, in some cases, thoughts of suicide.  Discouragement and disappointment often result in depression.

FACTS ABOUT DEPRESSION:

Both positive and negative circumstances contribute to depression.  A great loss, death of a loved one, losing a job,  traumatic experiences, divorce, imprisonment, financial problems and other negative circumstances can cause depression.  Guilt is another trigger for depression, and struggles with addictions can cause it.  Discouragement and disappointment are related emotions also.  But positive circumstances may also cause depression:  A new job, geographic relocation, retirement,  a new baby.  These are positive things, but they produce levels of stress that can result in depression.

Depression is caused by negative emotional responses to circumstances, physical or mental conditions, or attacks by Satan on your mind.

Disappointment in others contributes to depression.  People disappoint you and don’t measure up to what you want from them.  Jesus told Peter not to be concerned about the performance or destiny of others (John 21:23).  The Apostle Paul declared:  “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Discouragement may be caused by difficult circumstances.  Poor health, financial problems, relationship issues, etc., can cause discouragement that leads to a diminished joy in life.

Unconfessed sin also contributes to depression (Psalm 38:38).

Errant spiritual decisions cause depression. The rich young man who refused to put all he had into the hands of Jesus went away “sorrowing” (Mark 10:22).  Sometimes the root of depression is a spiritual cause–a refusal to place some aspect of our lives, abilities, possessions, family and friends, or sorrows into the hands of the Lord.

Depression can affect anyone.  Male and female, young and oldeven children and teenagers can be depressed.

Depression affects every aspect of your being–spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It can cause a change in your sleeping patterns, weight changes, loss of appetite or overeating,  loss of interest in sex,  lack of energy, problems with concentration, poor memory, and difficulty in making decisions.  Emotionally it causes low-self image, self-criticism, hopelessness, anger, resentment, guilt, irritability, crying, fear, gloomy outlook.  You may withdraw from social relationships and your work ethic may be affected.  You may also be tempted to turn to drugs and alcohol–which only tend to further the depression.

Depression can lead to suicide.  If depression is not dealt with, it can lead to such hopelessness that a person contemplates or tries suicide to escape the pain. (See “Suicide” in this database.)

Depression is not sin.  It is a signal that change, a healing, or deliverance is needed in your life.

DEALING WITH  DEPRESSION:

Identify the root cause.  How did the depression begin?  When did it begin?  What is the main issue causing it?  Is your depression because of finances?  Loneliness?  Unconfessed sin?  Are negative emotions causing it–things like anger and unforgiveness?  Physical problems? An attack of Satan on your mind?

If unconfessed sin is the problem, ask God for forgiveness.  David said that day and night, God’s hand was heavy on him until he asked for forgiveness.  Ask God to forgive your negative thinking and wrong emotions.  If you are harboring unforgiveness, forgive!

Have a medical examination if you think your health is affecting your mood.  If it is a medical condition, you can then pray for physical healing rather than misdirecting your efforts by  thinking you are fighting a battle of the mind over depression.

Take these steps if your depression is due to negative circumstances and/or attacks of Satan:

-Pray and bind the spirit of depression that is operating in your life.  Jesus gave you power over all the power of the enemy, and that includes depression  (Luke 10:19).

-Eliminate drugs and alcohol–they only contribute to depression.

-Reprogram your thinking by immersing yourself in God’s Word.  The Word of God can change every area of your life–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Program your mind to think on good things rather than the negative (Philippians 4:8).

-Do not look at your circumstances.  Keep your focus on God.

-Recognize that God’s ultimate purpose is to do you good and that He is in control of your circumstances (Jeremiah 29:11).

-When depressing thoughts try to  return, resist the devil in the name of Jesus and he will flee (James 4:7).  How you react to these thoughts is the key to your deliverance,  as the battle of depression is in the mind.   As long as you allow yourself to think you are defeated and depressed, you will remain that way because…”As he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV).  Remember that with every temptation you face, there is a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

-Encourage yourself in the Lord.  Read 1 Samuel chapter 30 to see how David encouraged himself during a tragic event in his life.  Read the book of Psalms and you will note that David is often discouraged, but finds encouragement in God.

-Praise and worship the Lord.  Satan hates praise and worship and will flee in the presence of your sacrifice of praise.

Get proper rest, sleep, exercise,  and nutrition.   These all help with the physical aspects of depression.

Make positive changes in your life.  What changes can you make that will eliminate stress?  What changes will bring joy back into your life?

Return to the basics of Christian life.  Be faithful in prayer, church attendance, and the Word of God.  These will encourage you and give you a more positive attitude.  The Word of God is effective to facilitate change in any problem or circumstance of your life.  Depression is a state of mind, and your mind can be renewed through the Word (Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10).

Cultivate friendships with positive people.  Avoid being a loner.  Satan wants to isolate you through depression.  Deliberately spend time with believers who are positive and uplifting.  Do not hang out with negative, critical, judgmental people, as this can contribute to your depressed state.  Christian friendships with positive people will help you when you are feeling down (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

Do something for others.  This will take the focus off of yourself and the joy you receive from doing acts of kindness can help your own depression.

Start a gratitude journal.  Write down at least one thing each day for which you are thankful.  This will help you focus on the positive instead of the negative.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT  DEPRESSION:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  (Deuteronomy 31:8)

But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.(Psalm 3:3)

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.   Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10)

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  (Psalm 27:13-14)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:7)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Read Psalm 38 as an example of depression caused by personal sin.  Read Psalm 51, a prayer of repentance which restored the joy of salvation to David.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.  (Psalm 40:1-3)

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,for I will yet praise him, my Savior and  my God. (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.(Psalm 55:22)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5)

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.  (Psalm 94:18-19)

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.    (Psalm 112:4)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.  (Psalm 138:7, NKJV)

The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.    (Proverbs 3:5-6)

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.  (Proverbs 12:25)

The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit? (Proverbs 18:14)

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down,
his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

Anyone who is among the living has hope. (Ecclesiastes 9:4)

You will keep in perfect peace  him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31)

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)

…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  (Isaiah 43:1-2)

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  (Isaiah 60:1)

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,”  says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  (Nahum 1:7)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.   (Matthew 11:28-30)

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  (Luke 10:19)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  (John 10:10)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John14:27)

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.   (John 16:33)

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  (Romans 8:18-22)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28-29)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”   No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:35-39)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:2)

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  (Galatians 6:9, NKJV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  (Philippians 4:4–9)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:15-16, NKJV)

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:12-17)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7-8)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Study the story of the Prophet Elijah’s depression in 1 Kings 18-19.

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