Sunday, January 8, 2012

Depression - A spirit of Evil

Of all the things that depression is, that which is most often forgotten by those of us who find themselves smack-dab in the middle of it, is that depression flows from a spirit of evil. If you're not so sure about that, then lets look at it this way: God is Spirit,  God is Love and Love edifies.
  • God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)  
  • We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (John 4:16)
  • Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. (1 Corinthians 8:1)
A quick rhetorical question: does depression edify, does it build you up?  I think we would all say that the emphatic answer is no.  Rather, depression tears one down, it destroys a person.

Therefore, what is the opposite of edification?  Destruction.  That which doesn't build you up, tears you down.  Scripture says, 
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  (Ephesians 6:12-13)
Love and hate: they're opposites for a reason.  Love builds you up,  evil tears you down.  I think this is why scripture says
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  (James 4:4-9)
I dislike the academia that has become the corner stone many of our churches today.  They've become institutions of learning Denominational Thought rather than places of rejoicing, places where we can discard our anxiety.  Instead they're full of condemnation of you for not following the rules and precepts of God, where they pull down the Law that Jesus nailed to the cross and reapply it to your soul with guilt, duty and servitude.

Nevertheless, I suppose at the risk of being academic, there are some things that need to be discussed in lieu of helping us be active in God grace towards us in the process of defeating depression.

Rejoice.  That's pretty much plain and simple.  In rejoicing, specifically in this context, is praise.  When I was a much younger man, Russ Taft sang a song 'Praise the Lord'.


The established religious intelligentsia of the day hated the song (at least those I was associated with), because it seemed to suggest that simply giving God credit, thanking Him and rejoicing in Him could some how be a stepping stone to making your problems less of what they were.  No, instead what you needed was a good Bible teaching church, some self flagellating 12-Step doctrines and a good preacher you could submit to.

I on the other hand, I believe we should just skip all of that rot and just stick to the spirit of scripture:
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. (Acts 16:25-26)
Let your spirit be known to all men.  That's not possible to do, in the spirit of the context of this scripture, unless you've moved out of depression, into rejoicing and from there into something better.  And fortunately for us, the only pre-requisite is our choice to rejoice.

Don't be anxious, pray.  Hopefully part of your depression isn't a self-condemnation for your apparent lack of all things "spiritual," including prayer.  But even if it is, it doesn't really matter: "you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." (John 8:32)  The only thing left for you to do, is act upon the truth.

And finally, Change Your Thinking:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
That's a pretty big promise.

In the midst of depression, you're thinking about rotten, awful things.  Your belief system is tied up in death and evil, and things which which do not edify.  But changing your thinking is not the king-pin: you've got to first rejoice, then pray and then you'll be in a position to change your thinking.



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