Depression - Counsel Yourself and Others

Depression is a mood marked by sadness and gloom – sometimes appearing for no apparent reason – which produces unusual disinterest in life and sometimes a deep sense of despair.

The symptoms of depression are not hard to detect:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sleep
  • Inordinate fatigue
  • Overindulgence in food, beverage, or sleep
  • Disinterest in life in general
  • Hypochondria (always whining or complaining about some real or imagined physical ailment)
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Occasional loss of sex drive
  • Loss of any drive to achieve
  • Unexplained crying spells
  • Feelings of heaviness and oppression
  • Extremely negative self-image
  • Anti-social behavior (including withdrawal from people)
  • Lack of long-range plan
  • Oversensitivity

If these are symptoms, what are some of the causes of this dark spirit of gloom and despair?

Causes of Depression

  1. Physical Causes: Occasionally a person will experience extreme depression because of a change in his or her physical well-being.
    • Women – hormonal imbalance
    • Men & women – prolonged illnesses or traumatic injuries
    • Work (Job 7:3-5)
  1. Unresolved Guilt
    • Guilt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. It’s a built-in alarm God has placed within us that goes off when we’ve sinned.
    • If unresolved, that’s when depression can follow.
    • David experienced this after he sinned against Bathsheba (Psalm 32:3-5a)
    • Persistence in sin with no remorse, not contrition, and no repentance will bring a spirit of depression that won’t let us go.
  2. The Loss of a Loved One
    • Normal grief follows the loss of a parent, spouse, child, or close friend (John 11:21).
    • Long after the normal period of grieving has passed, waves of depression can come back to constrict the survivor.
  3. Boredom
    • Life becomes a “hum-drum” affair for some.
      • Afflicts all classes of society, not just the poor.
    • Solomon in Ecclesiastes 6:3
    • Try investing your life in others to help the boredom.
  4. Direct attach from the enemy of our souls
    • Satan brings attacks of depression upon believers and non-believers alike, through various means (1 Samuel 18:10).
      • God allowed an evil and demonic spirit from the devil to enrage Saul.
      • Saul’s anger and jealousy led to his deep depression.
    • Self-pity
      • Moses experienced this while dealing with God about the troublesome nation of Israel (Numbers 11:11 & 15)
      • Elijah felt this way when Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kings 19:4).

What is the cure for depression?

  1. Acknowledge the source of your depression.
    • Since Jesus came to give us life to the full (John 10:10), and since every good and perfect gift is from God (James 1:17), it’s obvious who the ultimate source of depression is.
    • As the accuser of the brethren, Satan wants you to feel badly, think badly, act badly, and be convinced that there is no way out – that you’re trapped in your depression.
  2. Claim what you have.
    • Remember, you’re a child or God, the apple of His eye, His heir, and the one on whom He has promised to lavish His love.
    • “The one who is in you is greater than the one in the world” (1 John 4:4b).
    • As the object of God’s care and concern, you can rest assured that your well-being is His highest priority. (1 Peter 5:7)
  3. Give your depression over to God.
    • King David once confessed to the Lord (Psalm 55:4-8).
      • Many people with depression think a change of scenery would help their depression to disappear; but all that does is rearrange it.
    • It’s better to officially hand your depression over to God (Psalm 55:22a).
      • Verbally speak as you offer your situation over to the Lord.
      • Say: Lord, I hereby relinquish all my depression to you. I know it doesn’t belong in my life, and you’re not the author of it, so I hand it all over to you and ask that I never receive it back again. Amen.
    • Worship and praise God with great intensity.
      • Even though this is the last thing a depressed person feels like doing it’s a vital step to take, nonetheless.
      • God’s people in the day of Babylonian captivity (Psalm 137:1, 4).

How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a state of depression?

  1. Praise and worship lift depression faster than anything else.
  2. The Bible teaches that praise and worship are like a divine layer, prying the spirit of depression off our back and shoulders (Isaiah 61:3)
  3. The presence of praise produces the absence of depression.
  4. Start serving others in ministry.
    • Part of the way God lifts your depression is allowing you to serve others.
  5. Get into the habit of continually giving thanks to God.
    • Even though it’s hard, this is the very time we need to thank God (Ephesians 5:20 & 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Make this Your Prayer:

Lord, I would never have asked for these circumstances, but I thank You for them. Teach me what you want me to learn through them. Amen.

More Biblical Counsel

  • Psalm 16
  • Psalm 12
  • Psalm 42
  • Psalm 30:5a
  • 2 Chronicles 20:20-28
  • 2 Corinthians 4:17
  • Isaiah 49:9-11
  • Jeremiah 29:13-14
  • Nehemiah 8:10
  • Psalm 37:4
  • Psalm 77
  • Psalm 121:3-8
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Isaiah 53:4-5
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalm 38:1-4
  • Psalm 38:21-22
  • Psalm 23
  • Psalm 56