Every Christian suffers from depression from time to time.
Sometimes depression comes through no fault of our own. There may be severe problems which are imposed by outside circumstances. Sometimes physical exhaustion, a weakening of physical and emotional strength, serious disturbances or distress in life with a feeling of being trapped or a fear of what might happen can appear as one or more causes of depression. If the depression is not caused by a sin problem, confession is not required The techniques of the Christian way of life are equally useful in combating depression in whatever form it comes.
Sometimes depression is self induced because it is caused by sin. Mental attitude sins will bring on depression. Failure to exercise faith rest principles or failure to claim promises from the Bible can cause depression. If sin is the problem, the first step to the solution is to confess sin Biblically and use the techniques of faith rest, occupation with Christ, and the filling of the Holy Spirit to begin a quick recovery.
Depression may include one or more of the following:
- A feeling of dejection or sadness
- An attitude of self depreciation
- A reduction is quality or force
- A lowering of vitality or functional activity
The Bible deals extensively with the subject of mental anguish, sorrow and depression. There are many Bible words used to describe the thoughts and feelings people have when they are depressed. Studying these definitions, and the Bible passages where they are found, is a very important part of the therapy for many kinds of depression. Almost every Bible verse that has a word related to depression also has part of the cure for that condition somewhere in its context.
As you study the following verses, try to determine in each case the reasons for the state of depression and whether it was caused by personal sin which is self-induced, was the result of undeserved suffering, or came from some other source. Then, try to decide on what cure is being suggested. In some cases, the cure will show up in the context. In others you will have to decide on a solution from categorical doctrinal principles.
The Bible deals with depression categorically using the following words:
(lupei), meaning grief, sorrow, distress, suffering, a sad plight. The verb form is (lupeo), to cause pain, to grieve, to annoy. In military terminology, the word was used of troops in the sense to harass; to annoy the enemy. In the passive voice, where the subject receives the action of the verb, the meaning is to be sad, to be sorry, to be grieved.
- “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, “The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men; and they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall be raised again.” And they were exceeding sorry.” Matt. 17:22, 23
- “And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?” Matt. 26:22
- “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” Matt. 19:22
- “And He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.” Matt. 26:37, 38
- “Truly, truly, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20
- “For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.” Romans 14:15
- “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.” 2 Cor. 2:4
- “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” 1 Thess. 4:13
- “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,” 1 Peter 1:6
- “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Heb. 12:11
- “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” 1 Peter 2:19
(adeimonia), noun, in great distress or anguish.
- “My soul is exceeding sorrowful…”, Mark 14:34
- “because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.” Phil. 2:26
(anagkei), noun, necessity, constraint, natural desire such as hunger, bodily pain or suffering. When used with (thlipsis), signifies a condition of necessity arising from some form of outside compulsion.
From here on, look up the verses for yourself.
- Matt. 18:7; Luke 14:18; 21:23; Rom. 13:5; 1 Cor. 7:26, 37; 9:16; 2 Cor. 6:4; 9:7; 12:10; 1 Thess. 3:7
- Philemon v. 14; Heb. 7:12, 27; 9:16; Jude v. 3
(stenochoria), noun, narrowness of place, a trapped feeling.
(sunochei), noun, metaphorically for anguish or distress caused by a compressing together or narrowing of the way.
(thlipsis), noun, pressure, oppression, affliction.
- Matt. 13:21; 24:9; Mark 4:17; 13:19, 24; John 16:21, 33; Acts 7:10, 11; 11:19; 14:22; 20:23; Rom. 2:9; 5:3; 8:35; 12:12; 1 Cor. 7:28; 2 Cor. 1:4, 8; 2:4; 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 8:2; Eph. 3:13; Phil. 1:17; 4:14; Col. 1:24; 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3, 7; 2 Thess. 1:4, 6; Heb. 10:33; James 1:27; Rev. 1:9; 2:9, 10, 22; 7:14
(kataroneo), verb, to wear out with toil or suffering
(sunechw), verb, to forcibly hold together; to contain; to constrain; to oppress Used for holding rowers together on galley ships.
(odunao), verb, to cause pain. In the passive to feel pain.
(thlibo), verb to press; to distress; to trouble; to gall
- Matt. 7:14, Mark 3:9
- 2 Cor. 1:6; 4:8; 7:5
- 1 Thess. 3:4, 2 Thess. 1:6
- 1 Tim. 5:10, Heb. 11:37
(tarachei), noun, trouble, disorder, confusion
- Mark 13:8, John 5:4
(tarasso), verb, to stir up, disturb, trouble; to trouble the mind; to alarm; to frighten; to throw into disorder
Matt. 2:3; 14:26
Mark 6:50, Luke 1:12; 24:38
1 Peter 3:14
Bible Techniques in Dealing With Depression
The following ten principles are Bible techniques which you can use to deal with depression in your life, regardless of the cause. Each of these topics is discussed in more detail in other notes in this series, but this outline will give you ideas on how you can make specific application of categorical doctrine to help with real world problems.
Confession of Sin
Personal sin leads to depression. You must deal with sin on a daily basis by confessing and moving on. If you do not do this, sin becomes a burden which clouds your joy, drains your spiritual energy, and destroys your productivity and vitality. In short, sin is always depressing.
In privacy, make a list of your mental attitude sins, verbal sins, and behavior sins. Ask the Lord to make you aware of the habits of your own life. Respond immediately to the Holy Spirit when He uses the word to spotlight your sin. Name the sin to God; then rejoice in forgiveness and cleansing and your renewed fellowship with God. All the promises and provisions of God the Father are now available to you. Make it a spiritual habit to confess sins whenever they show up in your life.
The Filling of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit fills you and controls your life when you have no unconfessed sin in your life. You can trust the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you when you commit it, or even before. When the Holy Spirit is in control, He produces His fruit (Gal. 5:22). The fruit of the Spirit does not include heaviness, depression, discouragement, disillusion, anguish, sadness, dejection or loss of vitality. Consider these points:
- Impersonal love is free from depression.
- Joy pushes depression out.
- Peace does not coexist with disillusion in the soul of the believer filled with the Holy spirit.
- Long suffering gives the ability to deal with depression and trouble.
- Gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance are fruits of righteousness, which is divine good. Divine good takes the place of depression.
Living in the Word
By living in the word you are constantly reminded of God’s viewpoint, of His plan, of His provision, or His awareness of our spirit of heaviness and what He want to accomplish in us with the testing. Living in the sphere of human viewpoint is a source of depression. Living in the word gradually transplants you to a new sphere, a new environment for your life, in which there is victory over depression.
Orientation to Grace
Depression is often caused by people, most of the time by people we cannot escape, or people we love, or people we cannot confront, or people we trust. Grace orientation includes the ability to look at people and see them as God sees them. It includes the ability to let them live their lives as unto the Lord, and trusting God to make His way clear to them. This technique lets people make mistakes without your judging them. It enables you to accept criticism without hurt or bitterness. It enables you to esteem other better than yourself, to do nothing through strife or vainglory.
Occupation with Christ
The technique of occupation with Christ helps to cure depression because it gets your eyes off your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your friends and yourself. Instead, as you move through the day, you are thinking about the Lord Jesus Christ, His plan for your life, the Father’s provision for each incident in your life, and His provision of wisdom for each decision you must make. Occupation with Christ is a by-product of the faith rest life. Depression is a by product of occupation with self, with life, with problems.
The Faith Rest Life
Faith rest is understanding and believing the promises of God and then entering into the rest phase of Christian living by claiming and enjoying those promises. Therefore, you must search the Scriptures daily to remind yourself of promises, and to learn new ones. You must know who and what God is so that you will not hesitate to believe that He can do what He has promised to do. Study the attributes of God using verses about the essence of God. Know Him as He reveals Himself in the Bible. Believe Him when He tells you what He will do for you. Count on it. Let your faith rest on it. Cast your burden on the Lord.
Relaxed Mental Attitude
A relaxed mental attitude is based on knowing God and on having the divine production in the soul that comes with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. A relaxed mental attitude is one of the results of living in the word, Walking in fellowship, practicing the faith rest life and being occupied with Christ. All of the components of depression melt away when God provides this attribute.
Mastery of the Details of Life
We are all involved with details of life. Either we master them or they master us! If you are a slave to one or more details of life, your thoughts are devoted to them, and they drive you. They dominate your thoughts, your conversation, your decisions. Slavery to the details of life leads to disillusion, disappointment, and depression.
Mastery of the details of life means that you look to the Lord for every detail. When you are a master of the details of life, your happiness does not depend on people, circumstances or things. You have the peace of God that passes all understanding. You have learned to be content under any circumstances. You can wait for the Lord’s timing in providing the details you want; you can enjoy them when you have them; and you can remain happy when the Lord sees fit not to provide some detail.
Capacity to Love
There may be many depressing details that surround our relationships with other people or the circumstances of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit love deals with that depression by giving us the capacity to have a Spirit-produced love for God (1 Cor. 16:22); for their husband (Titus 2:4) and for other believers in Christ (Rom. 12:13).
Inner happiness is not possible for the believer who is occupied with himself and his needs. Inner happiness is a state of rejoicing based on knowing that God is everything He claims to be and that He can do what He has promised. Inner happiness is the joy of living where every provision for physical, emotional, and spiritual well being is being made by God in the life of a Christian who is walking in daily fellowship with Him.