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Depression’s Death: There is H.O.P.E.

May 17, 2012

 

Many of us, if not most of us, will at some point in our lives battle depression. And ‘battle’ is an apt term to describe dealing with depression, for it is as an insidious an enemy as exists for the Christian. Depression will at some point lay siege to your emotions and arrest your energy, so how can you prepare for the onslaught? I propose that you HOPE in God. This HOPE involves; Hearing the Word, Opening yourself to others, Praying, and Engaging in Service.

“Therefore preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

Hear the word. Put yourself in positions to hear the word of God, read it yourself, listen to sermons, go to church, listen to podcasts and the radio, God is communicating through His word so soak up as much as you can, knowing that His desire is for you to have life and life in abundance. The Bible is a record of those who have been afflicted, persecuted, abandoned, and fear-filled, and yet who have found unending hope in God and salvation through His Son. “Long for the pure spiritual milk of the work that by it you may grow up into salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (I Peter 2:2-3)

Open yourself to others. Satan’s goal is to isolate us from one another and from God. From the first sin in the garden man has been hiding from each other and from God, covering his sin and shame. But God comes to us, as He did to Adam and Eve, calling us from out of our hiding and seeking us out. He has given us the church to be His voice and His hands in our lives, to speak the promise of His hope, and the wisdom of His instruction. Open yourself up to others, so that they may share in your joys and your sufferings. (Gal 6:2) John Piper puts it this way: “This is exactly what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:4 where he speaks about comforting others with the comfort with which he had been comforted by God. God ordains that one person walk through a valley, find comfort in the valley, come out, turn around, go back to the beginning of that same valley, and help other people walk through it with the very comforts they discovered there.”

Pray. That’s right, go to God in prayer. In times of depression, Satan would have us cast our gaze inward, searching out the dark recesses of our troubled soul. But God, in His word, admonishes us to “lift up our eyes to the hills, from whence cometh our help” our help does not come from inside us, “our help comes from the Lord.” (Ps 121) and in times of trouble and fear, when we are depressed, we are commanded to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, than at the proper time He might exalt you; CASTING ALL YOUR ANXIETIES UPON HIM for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) We guard against depression by continually casting our anxieties upon God, so that they never get the opportunity to take hold in our hearts.

Engage in service. This may seem simple, but often depression comes when we have too much idle time, time to reflect on our problems and be overcome by them. This is related to complacency, in that we were created by God to work, and to do all things “heartily for Him rather than for men.” (Col 3:23) Often getting involved in serving others, serves to bolster our spirits by allowing us to grow in Christ-likeness. We also keep guard against idleness, if we are focused on others, then we will be less likely to obsess about ourselves.

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