Christian Depression Steals our Health
Cast Off These Three "Black Dogs"
This article on Christian depression is an introduction to "Matters of the Heart," our free eCourse for spiritual growth and emotional transformation. The 24 Main Healing Lessons from the course can be found in the downloads section in PDF and MP3 formats. They are also available in our Store as an ebook, a 176 page workbook and as CD and DVD sets of 24, 1/2 hour teachings.
The "Black Dogs" Must Go!
Christian depression is something that many people continue to battle with even after they experience salvation through faith in Christ. It is especially troubling because it flies in the face of so many gospel promises of peace, freedom and joy. In fact it truly is a heavy weight on the heart to know that Jesus is alive and that He loves you and that He is all powerful—and still be caught in a wilderness of emotional pain that seems to have no end. The Christian experiencing depression a) often feels to blame, b) sees themselves as a failure in faith, and c) struggles with self-judgments as well as imaginary or real judgments of others.
So let’s start by casting off these three “black dogs.” First (a), there certainly is someone to blame, but it is not the Christian caught in depression. The one to blame is the enemy and his kingdom who work through darkness to snare sincere believers in the pits (2 Timothy 2:24-26). Next (b), let us be very clear about what failure in the faith is: failure is quitting. The crown of victory goes to those who persevere (Revelation 3:10). Both Jesus and the Father count as faithfulness our every effort (feeble as it may seem to us) to hold on to faith and hope while under duress. All who call on His Name will be saved (Romans 10:13), so keep calling! And finally (c), since the Father is not condemning or accusing us (Romans 8:33-34), you do not have to put it on yourself or take it on from others.
Now let’s look for a moment at what depression is. A small percentage of Christian depression may have its roots in genetic inheritance or in chemical side effects to medication, but the vast majority of depression for Christians and non-Christians has to do with a wounded or broken heart. And this is not hard to understand. A wounded heart gathers negative emotions like iron filings to a magnet—and practically every negative emotion from dread to despair, from resentment to rejection, lies heavy on anyone’s heart.
But no one has to hold on to such negative emotions! Even in the fog of depression it is possible to identify some of the negative emotions that are lodged in your heart and to begin carrying them captive to Christ so that He can work to free you (2 Corinthians 10:4-6). For example, it is our task to make sure that the truth of forgiveness is something we fully apply to ourselves and to everyone who has in any way ever hurt us or wronged us (Mark 11:25). It is also in our best interest to learn how to hold on to the hope that has been given us (Hebrews 3:6, 6:18). Not to do these things is to unwittingly bind much of the heaviness of depression to ourselves (see The Keys to the Kingdomand Negative Emotions).
Christian depression can steal our health as well as our joy. We must learn to yield our emotions and our outlook on life’s circumstances to the truths of God’s Word for He has cautioned us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23)”.
With God's help we can learn
how to guard our hearts against depression!
Interested in Going Deeper?
Consider taking our free eCourse for Healing.We have designed a complete series for personal transformation, "Matters of the Heart," to help Christians gain emotional freedom and inner healing. In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!