Adapted by Jack Danyá Kemplin, from an article originally written by Josiah Schmidt for GothsForJesus.com on May 30th 2003
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”Psalm 5:11
What is depression? Is it good or bad? What kinds of depression are there? What does the Bible say about depression and what can one do about it?
If you find yourself constantly sad, troubled, or distressed, it may be a sign that you are suffering from a serious condition known as depression. Depressed people usually find themselves constantly tired, apathetic (an “I don’t care” attitude), or unable to enjoy things that they would normally make them happy. Depression has become rampant among people in recent years. If you often feel overwhelmed with sadness, or suicidal thoughts, you may be suffering from this ailment.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know what depression is,” but please take the time to listen to what I have to say.
I, too, have suffered from depression, and if not handled, depression can get the better of you. I know all about depression–the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of it–not only by studying it, but by first-hand experience. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, let me say, that depression is usually caused by certain uncontrollable circumstances in a person’s life. These events cause stress, and when the amount of stress exceeds one’s own personal resources for coping with that stress, depression comes as a result. If gone untreated, depression leads to more serious physical and mental problems.
Depression weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to viruses and other carriers of illness. It is also the main contributor to most of the top causes of death, such as cancer and suicide. Prolonged and untreated depression can grow into mental instability as well. It is not healthy to stay in a state of depression.
If you are in that state, for your own sake, I ask you to please do two things:
1) Seek medical and psychological help depending on the seriousness of your problem;
2) Read on through this short article to find out how to treat this ailment. Also, though you may not be suffering from depression, you probably know someone who is, and reading this article can help you learn how to deal with it.
We must examine what the Word of God says about the topic, since the Word of God is our final authority in all areas of life (II Tim 3:16).
Jesus Christ, as recorded in John chapter 15, preached His message of love, so that we could have joy. In verse 11, He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
The Bible says that a natural result of accepting Christ into one’s heart and becoming a Christian is having one’s grief turned to joy. In John 16:20, Jesus promised that our “grief will turn to joy.” Places like Acts 8:8, 13:52, and 16:34 also emphasize this point. In Romans 12:12, the apostle Paul tells us to “be joyful in hope.” He also wrote in chapter 14, verse 17, that the kingdom of God is a matter of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Galatians 5:22 also lists having joy as an inevitable result of having the Holy Spirit in one’s life. And finally, I Thessalonians 5:16 tells Christians to “be joyful always.”
Now, there is a place for mourning, for being serious and sombre, but this does not mean we are to neglect being joyful. Joy is part of our testimony. Most people in this world are seeking to be happy and to be at peace; and when they start looking for this peace and happiness in religion, they will want to see which people of what “religion” are at peace and are happy, because they reason that the right faith will bring peace at heart. However, if they see Christians who are depressed all of the time, they will dismiss our faith because they think that it does not give us peace and is not making us happy. We are not to put on a false happy face when we are truly sad, however, we are to properly deal with our emotions so that we can be good examples of Christ’s love.
So, you want to be joyful again, or maybe you want to experience joy for the first time in your life. Either way, there is only one answer for those who want to have true joy and truly be at peace with themselves and others, but most importantly, with God. That answer is Jesus Christ. He is our Prince of Peace. He is the only One who can give us peace and happiness even during times of trouble and sorrow. The first step is to give your broken heart to the Fixer of Souls Himself.
If you have already done so, but are still suffering from depression, perhaps your relationship with God is in need of strengthening. Have you been reading His Word, listening to His Wisdom, and living it out? When we don’t spend time listening to Him and following His advice, it hurts our relationship with him, it breaks our fellowship–broken fellowship with God always results in melancholy. To repair this, throw yourself into God’s service, pray to God, speaking with Him, being silent and listening to Him, read His Word and meditate on it, do the Lord’s work, helping the less-fortunate always gives you a better appreciation of your position. Do these things frequently and you will soon notice the power of the Holy Spirit restoring and renewing your soul. You will feel the joy of Christ very quickly; but be prepared for a great revolution within your heart. It may take a while for old scars to heal, but God will speed up that healing a great deal, because He loves you and cares about you, and wants you to be joyful.
However, do not neglect professional medical and psychological treatment as well. If your depression is severe, God can sometimes do His work much easier through another wise and educated man or woman. However, the spiritual aspect of this is far more important. If you make an effort to restore your fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, you will be blessed with peace, joy, and love.
I pray this will be a blessing to all who read it.
Love in the blood of Christ,