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dougkristen
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Joined: 2004/1/28
Posts: 360


 Depression and Christians

Can anyone shed some Biblical answers to why Christians get depressed? Is it spiritual, physical, medical ?? all of the above?? Has anyone ever had to be delivered/helped professional/spiritually from "clinical depression" on SI and found help and freedom from this? Please feel free to email me privately if you would like. I look forward to a discussion on this topic. Thanks.

Doug R.
dougkristen@frontiernet.com


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a Jesus freak

 2004/5/3 14:08Profile
moreofHim
Member



Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: Depression and Christians

Doug,

Ahhh, the 'D' word. I have much I could say about depression - it runs in my family. To answer your question about 'spiritual, physical, medical,'... it can be all of the above- but the spiritual side is the most important! It can make or break someone living with depression (even just occasionally).

Personally, I have never taken medication for any bouts of depression- I have learned to lean on the Lord (sometimes for loooong periods of time) and I have learned that there are many lessons that I learn through these times. I believe there is always a reason we go through anything and God will use it to 'grow' us in maturity and also to "decrease" self in us.

I am almost finished writing an article - "Pit of Despair" (nice title, huh?) about my last major bout of depression and discouragement. It lasted over a month and it was one of the worst yet. The kind where I didn't want to wake up in the mornings- to another day of misery and drudgery. Much of it was spiritual and I just dug in my heels and held on to the Lord as best I could (even though I didn't feel He was around). Or at least I held onto 'faith'- that His purposes were being brought forth and that it couldn't last forever.

My biggest hope and encouragment (other than a dear friend) was the story of Job. I just kept thinking about his trials and how the Lord allowed Satan to blast him- but it was because the Lord knew that Job was a good man and wanted to use his life to prove to the enemy that God did have someone dedicated totally to Him.

I wanted to be like Job and prove the enemy wrong. That no matter what came my way, I wasn't backing off. That i wasn't going to buckle and give into the world or it's ways. Although I did do a bit of complaining. :)

I have more i could say- but it would take a long time. I will try to get that article done soon.

I can say that my mom also has many more bouts of depression that i do- because I have learned that the more i am in tune with God and not trying to hide anything, run away from anything, and just totally surrender everything over- I have, for the most part learned how to get out of my depression before it really starts.

On the other hand, my mom is living a more lukewarm christian life and is in denial about her spiritual condition- so she has some major bouts of depression all the time. Your spiritual life makes a dramatic impact on your mental state!

I haven't had an attack of depression like this last one in about a year. It started with discouragement and then temptation came around and then it was downhill from there . :(

Praise God I am free now and am all the better for it! He will never give me more than I can handle.

Satisfied in Him alone, chanin


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Chanin

 2004/5/3 14:54Profile
moreofHim
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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: depression

One more thing- I forgot that you asked for biblical answers. All I can say is that many Godly people (in the bible and not) have suffered from depression. (or at least seems like depression) Even David and many of the spiritual greats. I have a theory that many who are "deep" thinkers and are 'serious' about things (yes, even their faith) tend to lean toward depression. I guess they take things much more to heart. I think the Lord uses this though, for His good, if we would lean on Him consistantly.

You don't see many people who are happy go- lucky encouragers, or servers, or givers (talking about gifts here) depressed very often. Not that they are shallow, but maybe just don't go as 'deep' as some or take things to heart.

The Body of Christ needs both kinds. Just so I don't sound like one is more important than another.

Just more thoughts. :-)

In Him, Chanin


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Chanin

 2004/5/3 15:02Profile
rocklife
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Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323
usa

 Re:

Romans 5:1-5 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perserverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

To fight overwhelming discouagement, when it happens to me, I pray, pray, pray, sometimes I just ignore it and do something to make someone else's load lighter or better. Sometimes I read Fox's book of Martyrs, reading how others suffered and died for God, or I read the news about terrible atrocities, like child sex slaves, and remind myself things can be worse.

I do know one person, zealous on-fire for God who is still a babe in Christ (although 5 years converted now), but because of so much emotional abuse and some neglect as a child of an alcoholic, she has found medical help for her constant feelings of unstableness and fear. Because it's easier to see other's problems then our own, it looks to me she still needs some spiritual help and healing through obedience to the Bible, but she is growing in the Lord in His time. I do believe that as God uses surgery to heal physically sometimes, and many times He uses miracles, I also think (I'm not positive, but I think) he can use medication (if temporarily) to help some of those souls who have been through so much their brain and body chemistries have changed to support those hormones that healthy people do not have an abundance of. I do believe God can answer prayers about this, but I have been shown that sometimes He uses our technology to answer prayers too.

(A side note: I had depression as a teenager, but looking back as an adult, for me, it was having parents who didn't know how to love and I didn't know how to communicate with anyone honestly. My conscience also smited me for all the evil things I was doing- I was involved with a scam business, I was living in a fornicative relationship, I had run away from home, was doing drugs and alcohol, and stealing tremendously. Most of the depression was from my conscience, I think most can agree with that.)

God probably changes and purifies us all individually and uniquely with the fire.


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Jina

 2004/5/3 15:18Profile
Gideons
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Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 474
Virginia

 Re: Depression and Christians

Doug,

I would be very careful to paint those suffering depression with a broad brush. I'm not saying you're doing that but that's a trap we can easily fall into (e.g. He is depressed, so he must have some hidden sin or some deep spiritual problem.) Job's friends certainly misunderstood his suffering and oftentimes we make the same mistakes they did.

As for me, I was depressed for right at 20 years. In my own life, unbelief caused my depression along with unforgiveness. The primary fruit of unforgiveness is bitterness. Bitterness toward God and toward others.

That's not to say this is true for everyone. It certainly was not the case for Job.

I took medications for many years, went through analysis, cognitive therapy, and was an inpatient for a month. None of these helped me, other than to show me why at least in part why I was depressed (because of unforgiveness). The limitation of these methods is that they fail to deal with the core of the problem, which is often a spiritual problem.

I made the mistake of comparing myself to Job and once I read and re-read Job and prayed a lot about it, the connection wasn't there. I was depressed because I didn't believe God loved me, that He cared for me, that he couldn't change me... (I could go on but I believe you get the point.)

God delivered me from this condition once I truly returned (i.e. true repentance) to Him. When I reflect on it as I am typing this, I don't feel guilt I just feel sad (how could I misunderstood my Father so badly?).

This is simply my life but I'll be happy to provide this in a Biblical context if you wish. I feel like I failed to answer your question but feel free to Email or post and I'll be happy to provide more details.

Ed


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Ed Pugh

 2004/5/3 18:52Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re: Depression and Christians

I agree we should be careful about generalizing depression (or things called depression).

For one thing, deep Holy-Ghost conviction may certainly look like depression to the naturalistic eye, and it would be disastrous to try to medicate/counsel that away (and it's been tried).

My experience with depression was/is at least partly a chemical thing, though (whether or not the chemical imbalance is simply caused by a spiritual condition, I don't know). Periodically the bottom just drops out on my emotions, the major difference as a Christian is that I have the head-knowledge to realize it is irrational and not worth heeding (one of my favorite quotes is "trust not the certainties of despair," I think it's from William Cowper), and the Holy Spirit which gives strength to persevere even if the body, mind, emotions (etc...) are all against me.

I'd go into more detail, but I need to get something done.

 2004/5/3 19:52Profile
moreofHim
Member



Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: depression

In light of our discussion, my good friend sent me this great 'word picture' about recovery. It is excellent and very similar to an article I wrote called "Taking Responsibility".


Five Short Chapters in the Book of Recovery

1. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost . . . I am hopelss.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . . it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

Quote:
And the Scripture that leaps to my mind as I typed the above is, "but thanks be to God who always leads me to truimph in Jesus Christ..." - Lois


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Chanin

 2004/5/3 20:02Profile
sermonindex
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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37103
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Re:

Quote:
Can anyone shed some Biblical answers to why Christians get depressed? Is it spiritual, physical, medical ?? all of the above?? Has anyone ever had to be delivered/helped professional/spiritually from "clinical depression" on SI and found help and freedom from this?


Doug these are some great questions and really needed to be addressed for many I believe struggle with depression or at least with minor symptoms of depression at times. I have personally had problems abit with depression but as Keith stated we should be careful to classify what and what is not depression. Many from a wordly perspective would classify a person with a deep burden for souls as being a depressed sad character. But truly that person shares the grieve and sadness of God which is a healthy thing! I don't think much as been addressed from a biblical stance on this issue and I hope people delve into the scriptures in this thread.

I think a really interesting audio file to listen to about this topic is: [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=3145](Men of whom the World was not Worthy) Brainerd, David Oh that I may never loiter in my heavenly jou [/url] by John Piper. David Brainerd was a missionary used powerfully by God to bring revival to the indians. His journals have been one of the most inspiriational writings for many christians throughout the ages: Wesly, Whitefild, Edwards, Ravenhill, Piper, etc. He suffered from melachony (depression) its interesting to hear how piper explains this in context with his spirituality.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/5/3 20:33Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Great discussion everyone
Will throw my hat in the ring.

As Christian's I believe we will have a different take on things. I am in agreement with not overlooking the strong spiritual element. Considering there really was no term coined in scripture for it, there is still quite a bit of depression there.

When I am in that state, it is always straight to the Psalms. You can practically start anywhere and it won't be long before you find David there to commiserate with you.

Jesus was a man of sorrows as well as anointed with the oil of gladness.

The Holy Spirit is grieved and I would believe that it is more often in this day and age than perhaps ever before.

There is so many factors that could contribute to this. Diet. Past experiences, drug use, alcohol, abuse, loneliness, lack of finances, stress, anxiety, worry....Hereditary, even medications for unrelated symptoms could cause it.

I have had such a muddy mix of it all, I wouldn't know where to start. There was a time when I was so desperate that I finally went to a doctor...and left even more depressed. To what extent this has been a problem in comparison to someone like Ed who had been through it for 20 years...I doubt it would be on that level. I am a bit skeptical of trying to deal with this as a Christian in a medical way. By that I mean unless the doctor is a Christian there is no way he would be able to grasp spiritual issues. I think New Life Ministries can be very helpful in peoples lives in dealing with a lot of this. Sure it does leave me wondering sometimes about how you apply psychological and Christian philosophy's together but as it has been said you can't just broad brush the whole thing, certainly the Lord can use all of it as He sovereignly chooses.

Probably the most devastating is a sense of God lifting His Presence from your life for a season. Hard to explain and I know Chanin had touched on this somewhere, but I recently went through such a season, a true sense of helplessness...'suspended animation' a real feeling that the Lord had just left or was ignoring you. Now, I know better and it wasn't a result of sin that I know of, I just had to go through it.

Another thought to throw out for consideration. I believe it is the law of atrophy, that things are steadily going from bad to worse. If we take it from the garden and work out toward 2 Tim 3 it sure seems to be where we are. Self rules, to it's own destruction. I think the vast majority are really truly depressed, they just may not recognize it. Why else would they be trying to fill up their lives with things that have no meaning?

Let's not forget the devil and his minions...


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Mike Balog

 2004/5/3 22:26Profile
dougkristen
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Joined: 2004/1/28
Posts: 360


 Re: Depression and Christians

This discussion has been very helpful for me. Yes, I was really asking about myself, for I have been going through a season of "extreme highs - to extreme lows", (on fire for the Lord, doing great, to, severe depression, despair). I have counseled with my pastor and he thought that this was a physical problem as well as spiritual. Maybe depression is not the correct word and lable to place on it, but I see how in the scriptures, many men of God like David, Elijah and others went through seasons of "depression" but came out of it.

Doug


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a Jesus freak

 2004/5/4 6:00Profile





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