CBN TEACHING SHEETS
Almost everyone at one time or another experiences
a period of sadness. Most people get over it with a little time.
But for some people, the sadness continues.
If you are caught in a prolonged period of sadness, you may recognize
one or more of the signs that often accompany depression: a growing
distrust of God, resentment of others, difficulty making decisions,
guilt, inactivity, sleeplessness or oversleeping, not eating or
overeating, doubting, complaining, worrying, and hopelessness,
as though you're in an inescapable pit.
Thankfully, as desperate as everything may look, there are real
reasons for hope. God loves you. And He wants to fill you with
joy, peace, fulfillment and so much more.
First Step to Help
The Bible says that Jesus came that we "might have life, and
might have it abundantly" (John 10:10, NAS). Certainly, depression
is not abundant life. But you can be assured, God wants you to
find His peace and joy. He will help you because you are very,
very important to Him.
Are you in a position to receive God's gift of "abundant life"?
If you are not certain, ask God right now to forgive you for your
sins and to come and rule in your life (Romans 10:9, 10,13; I
John 1:8,9; John 1:12,13). The Bible describes what happens the
moment you first give your life to God as being "born again."
Spiritually you are a new person. But you now need to learn a
new way of living. God will help you. Ask Him to fill you completely
with His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). God's Spirit will give you
the power to live like God wants you to live. The Holy Spirit
guides, comforts, teaches, empowers and produces within a Christian
the actual characteristics of God -- love, joy, peace, patience
and more (Galatians 5:22-23). And it is when you are living the
way God wants that you will experience the full and joyful life
God has for you.
When you are born again, God takes up residence in your spirit.
He brings with Him the promise of great joy and peace, sometimes
immediately. But what if you are now a Christian and you are depressed?
You are not alone. Many people of faith have experienced periods
of deep depression. The Bible stories of Moses, David and so many
others show us how God's love continues even during these times
and that He eventually brings great hope.
What You Can Do
What can you do to overcome depression? It depends on why you
are depressed. There are many possible reasons, but since more
than one may be present in your life, read all the sections
Physical: Some depression is caused by physical problems.
Improper diet, lack of exercise, and not enough sleep can all
contribute to depression. So if you are feeling "down," make sure
you are taking care of your body.
In addition, many illnesses can cause depression (others may
be caused by depression). Also, some medications can cause depression.
It's always a good idea to see your doctor for a checkup to rule
out physical reasons. But remember, God can heal any physical
problem, including one that causes, or is caused by, depression
(Psalm 103:3; Matthew 8:16-17).
If your doctor has diagnosed a particular problem, ask your prayer
partner, pastor, Christian counselor or other Christian to pray
with you for God's healing (James 5:14-16). But if you are taking
medication for any problem, consult your doctor before changing
or stopping it.
Losses and Other Hurts: When something you see as bad
happens to you, it's normal to feel hurt. You may have lost your
job or other financial security. You may have been wronged in
some way, recently or in the past. You may have a bad relationship
with a friend, family member, or spouse. A loved one may have
died. Or you may even be hurting about something you've never
had, but feel you should have, such as a spouse or children. It
is okay for you to hurt over a situation like this. Tell God about
your hurt. He already knows, but it is important for you to put
the hurt into words and tell Him. Also tell a trusted friend or
pastor, or consult a Christian counselor. Allow yourself to cry
if you want to. Normal grieving, including crying, is healthy.
The Bible says that Jesus "bore our griefs" on the cross (Isaiah
53:4 NAS). He feels our pain as strongly as we do and will carry
it for us. Give your hurt to Him. Then resolve not to dwell on
Sin: Sometimes depression is rooted in sin. You will never
be at peace if you ignore something in your life that you know
is against God's will (I Timothy 1:19). If you know you are doing
or have done something against God's will, admit to God that it
is wrong. Then ask His help in doing what is right. If you admit
your sin and turn from it, God has promised to forgive you completely,
and cleanse you from the sin (I John 1:9). Trust Him to do it.
If it is an ongoing sin and it seems too big for you to deal
with, just deal with it today, this moment. Tell God that with
His help you will do the right thing right now. In addition, you
may need to take some action to make up for your sin with those
you have wronged. You may need a pastor or Christian counselor
to help you decide what to do.
Don't forget to obey God in the small things. Very often, it
is because we have chosen to ignore Him in the small things that
we slowly slip into deeper problems. You can reverse this slide.
If you obey God in the small things, it will help put you back
on track in the larger things. You may need to obey Him in something
so simple as getting up early enough to get to work on time without
Wrong Thinking: What do you think about right before you
feel depressed? Do you think such things as "I'm no good," or
"I can't do anything right," or "This situation will never change"?
It's vitally important for you to find out what God says is the
truth about you and your life. Read the Bible closely to find
out what is the real truth (Ephesians 1:18-19). Once you find
out the wonderful things God says about you, stop repeating negative
things to yourself. Instead, memorize and repeat to yourself the
truths you find in the Bible that contradict the negative thoughts.
Fill your thoughts with such truths as : "For I can do everything
God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength
and power" (Philippians 4:13); "It is he who will supply all (my)
needs from his riches in glory, because of what Christ Jesus has
done for (me)" (Philippians 4:19); "For the Holy Spirit, God's
gift, does not want (me) to be afraid of people, but to be wise
and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them" (II Timothy
1:7). "Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us
enough to die for us" (Romans 8:37); "He personally carried the
load our sins in his own body when he died on the cross, so that
we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on.
For his wounds have healed ours!" (I Peter 2:24).
In Conclusion: Admit to God you need His help in order
to live rightly with peace and joy. Repent of any known sin. Accept
God's forgiveness and cleansing (I John 1:9).
Rebuild your spiritual life through Bible reading, prayer and
fellowship with other Christians. Attend a local Bible-believing
church faithfully. Being an active member in a church is a good
way to begin to grow spiritually and learn an overcoming faith.
If your depression continues, seek help from your pastor or other
qualified Christian counselor. There ARE answers for you.
However, finding and solving the root causes of depression do
not always happen quickly.
And finally, don't be surprised if once you are on the other
side of depression, you thank God for this time of hardship and
the good that has come out of it.
As You Pray
Ask God to reveal specific thoughts and actions He wants you
to change. Agree with Him when He points out sin and ask Him to
help you change. Forgive others who have wronged you. Thank God
for His love and ask Him for healing and a renewed joy in life.
For Further Study
God's love for us -- Psalm 42:4-11
The right way to think -- Philippians 4:4-13
God is touched by our feelings -- Hebrews 4:14-16
Repentance assures God's presence -- James 4:8
God gives peace -- Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27
to Praise by Merlin Carothers
to Win over Depression by Tim LaHaye
Other helpful resources:
a local church in your area.
Tips for Managing Your Depression
the Myths about Suicide
More teaching sheets
More from the Spiritual Life Channel
All Scripture is taken from The
Living Bible, unless otherwise noted.
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