Here are some thoughts about depression. If you are depressed, chances are you came to believe you needed certain things or people to “make you happy.” Yet even though you may have gotten those things, you find you are still unhappy.
If your thoughts are all about you, then you can expect those thoughts to lead to equally sinful motivations. Self-focused motivations spurred on by the desires of the sinful heart will produce the kind of fruit you would expect—depression and discouragement.
What’s the cure for depression? I can tell you it is not in feeling good about yourself, pumping up “self-esteem,” being with the popular crowd, or having your own way.
It may surprise you that biblical counseling does not focus on the fruit of depression. It is not profitable to simply pull the bad fruit off the tree, because new bad fruit will soon grow in its place. The depression you are experiencing is the result of the problem, not the problem itself.
The way to deal with depression biblically is to determine the source of the feelings—your beliefs, desires, and thoughts. The Bible says that the source to examine is your heart.
Because the heart is set on pleasing “self,” your thoughts and actions are not naturally going to be like God’s. This presents a dilemma because God commands us to be holy.
“But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. For he himself has said, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’ ” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT).
Practicing holiness brings God glory. Glorifying God is to be the goal of our lives. I am often asked by my counselees, “Why am I here?” The simple and straightforward answer to this question could change your life: You are here to glorify God.
Glorifying God happens when the focus of my life changes from living for my own pleasure and glory to living for His pleasure and glory. It demands that my heart change from a me-centered focus to a God-centered focus.
As you address what is guiding and motivating your heart, you will learn to intentionally keep your mind focused on thoughts that are pleasing and edifying to God. This is the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).
This is how wrong thoughts and beliefs can be corrected by right thinking:
- Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- Find hope in the Word (Proverbs 13:12; Colossians 1:27;Titus 2:11-13)
- Focus on praising and thanking God for His provisions and promises (Colossians 3:1-4; 2 Peter 1:4).
- Forgive those with whom you are angry (Mark 11:25-26; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).
- Identify the idols in your life and turn away from them!
- Make it your desire to glorify God (Exodus 20:4; I John 5:21).
- Humble yourself (James 4:6-10).
- Identify your sinful responses to your circumstances and feelings and repent (Joel 2:12, 13; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10, 11