Let me start by making it quite clear that the only qualification I possess that qualifies me to write on this subject, is the qualification of experience.
Depression is no respective of persons. It can and does effect more people than one realizes. We live in an age when more illness is caused by depression and stress than anything else.
I have observed three types of depression in people. There are those who are depressed because of a medical problem, e.g. chemical imbalance or a short-circuit in the brain. There are those who are depressed because of a particularly bad circumstance, e.g. the death of a loved one. And then there are those who are depressed and donít rightly know why. I believe this third category is a spiritual problem and effects more people on a long-term basis than either of the first two. Though let me hasten to add that, I believe, if the second point is left to go on indefinitely, it will become a spiritual problem.
The sad truth is that many people who suffer with depression donít even think to look in the spiritual arena for their solution. Most take the Psychiatristís script thinking thatís the solution. Now donít get me wrong Ė medication has itís place Ė but if your depression is a spiritual problem Ė a demonic oppression Ė medication is not going to set you free.
So what is? I have learnt (and am learning), that it is only through submission to Jesus and by obedience to His Word, that we can ever be free from the oppressiveness of depression. Is it easy? NO! Is it possible? YES! Most definitely. But it means you have to make a choice. The choice is quite simple really. You just choose to do the right thing. A series of right choices (obedience) will eventually bring you into a place of freedom and that means peace and joy too.
My friends, depression will make you sick. Physically sick. We know it affects oneís thinking process, causing one to become more and more negative, bitter, resentful and unforgiving, thus causing havoc with your emotional well-being. Ultimately, your body starts to break down. Illness sets in. One is tired and restless, unable to sleep peacefully and unable to stay awake. In truth Ė you are driven, never at peace. This is exactly what Satan wants. The enemy of our soul will drive us into the ground given half a chance. Jesus never drives us. He leads. Always.
So what are some of the steps we can take on the road to freedom? Firstly, realize that you will never do it alone. We need Jesus. We need His grace. The next step is to repent. ďWhat!? Iíve done nothing wrong!Ē you say. Actually, depression is a form of idolatry. One of the key factors in depression is self-pity. The Ďselfí says it all Ė Jesus canít be the focus if self is. Idolatry Ė there is no other name for it.
Having acknowledged your need for God and having repented, you are off to a good start. Now itís time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. If we are honest with ourselves, we know when we are walking in self-pity. The minute you recognize it, repent and ask Jesus to help you. Take your mind off yourself and go do something nice for someone else. Being a blessing is a good remedy for self-pity. You are also going to have to stop believing those lies the enemy has been telling you. Whether it is about what you look like, what people think about you, what you can and canít do, are you accepted, loved, etc, etc Ė you need to renew your mind with the Word of God. What does that mean? Simply, get to know what God says in the Bible, believe it and do it.
Ok, hereís a biggie. Stop complaining. I have found that the difficult part about this is that it has been so acceptable, that mostly we donít even realize we are doing it. Ask Father to make you sensitive to this. Complaining quenches the Holy Spiritís work in and through us. Try to see the good in all those areas that youíre prone to complain about. This is a daily exercise and youíll probably fall from time to time, as we all do, but donít be discouraged. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He has overcome and will certainly help you to overcome.
Moving on. Forgiveness is not manís good idea. It is Godís command. God says in His Word that if we donít forgive others, God will not forgive us. Think about that for a moment. Do you really want to hold onto unforgiveness knowing that it means you are deliberately choosing to reject Godís forgiveness? If you are, you are not being very wise. Choose to forgive and do it quickly. Donít let that hurt brew any longer, keep short accounts with God my friend. Itís safer and you will be happier.
Now comes the clincher. Submit to authority. How can you possibly learn to submit to God if you canít submit to those whom you can see? Ask God to help you trust others and stop believing that your way is the only way Ė itís not. Let God have your fears. Yes, others will hurt you at times, but God is on our side. He will never allow more to come your way than what He knows you are capable of handling. Trust God.
Finally, just as you need God and His grace, you need your brothers and sisters. Stay in fellowship and donít try to do everything on your own. We all need help from time to time. If it was not for some of the help I have received along the way from my brothers and sisters, I would not be this far done the road.
Am I free? Yes! Absolutely! But I have learnt that it is an area that the enemy loves to attack. He knows our weaknesses and he is an opportunist. A small foothold and he is in there. So Iíve learnt to be more alert in this area and these days I catch it quicker. And though it is not easy to go against my flesh and praise the Lord and sit at His feet, and though sometimes I have to be reminded that this is what I must do, Iíve also learnt that peace is a very precious thing - and obedience always brings peace.
So no matter what the flesh says Ė do it...I dare youÖbe free.