Last time we finished up with the thought that what is required for success in change of life is a change of focus. A person suffering from depressive feelings and from discouragement must stop looking at themselves and begin to focus on God. Remember that we are looking for heart changes that lead to life changes and when my heart is not focused on “me” and I am instead thinking about “how can I glorify God in this circumstance” I will begin to accept and understand certain things that God wants me to learn through the suffering. Then I must put into action the things that I know are right to do. I must be respectful, humble, demonstrate faith and trust in God in spite of how I feel.
Reading friend, I know that as much as we dislike suffering, it is the perfect place for God to do some of His best work in the hearts and lives of His people because it shows you your heart attitudes. Suffering reveals the heart! Once you get a glimpse of what is dwelling in the heart you can begin the renewing of the mind with Scripture that will enable you to put off the sinful desires of the flesh. These may be any kind of desires, and specifically the selfish desires that keep you focusing only on yourself and how you feel today. It is important to examine your belief system for what you think or believe about depression will determine how you respond to it. If you believe depression is largely biological, you may think the most you can do is get long-term therapy or take a pill to feel better. The truth is that very few cases of diagnosed depression are biological. Most are in fact not able to be medically/scientifically proven as all “testing” is subjective. (for more on this topic check out the psychology debunked website) If the depression is not a biological issue, a true alternative is to allow the Lord to affect your belief system. You must come to believe in your thinking that your behavior is ungodly and that living a depressed way of life is wrong and unbiblical. This will require a shift in your core beliefs! An attitude of repentance takes place when your belief system is affected.
The biblical reason to stop the behavior is that you have come to believe it grieves God and causes Him sorrow. A large part of how we understand something depends on the language used to describe it. It is important that you understand the terminology being used to describe your behaviors and feelings. Also important is to know what these words represent to you. It is helpful to define biblically the terms that psychology uses if you are going to approach your problem from a spiritual perspective. A paradigm shift will take place in your mind as you begin to understand that diagnoses like major depressive disorder are not life sentences but only words that psychology has created to define behaviors. For example, you will be unable to find “alcoholic” or “self-image” in the Bible, but you can find “drunkard” and “prideful.” Long before the psychological terms were invented, God knew the behaviors and had the remedy at hand. Consider these common words in the medical model and their biblical equivalents:
- Addiction—bondage to sin
- Anger—selfish desires withheld
- Anxiety—fear; worry; lack of faith in God’s love or care
- Can’t forgive self—unbelief; insufficient confidence in God’s Word
- Co-dependent—idolatry; fear of man
- Depression—sorrow without hope
Rather than seeing yourself through these terms, determine to know who you are in Christ. Check a concordance for words like “justified,” “sanctified,” “called,” “elect,” “blameless,” “holy.” Memorize the Bible verses that reveal how these words apply to you.
Look for God at work in your circumstances. Examine the life of biblical characters such as David, Samuel, Ruth, Naomi, King Saul, Samson, Elijah, and Paul. These people had many trials in life and they were all used by God and still testify to us today; how did they handle their crises and troubles?
What is your focus on today? Do you just want to be “feeling better”? If so, change your focus to “seeing Christ.” The goal of true change is to see only Jesus Christ. He is your answer.
Check in next time for more.