Author: Pastor Lewis Hemphill Jr.
The Mayo Clinic defines depression as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to emotional and physical problems. They describe the symptoms of depression as sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, angry outbursts, irritability or frustration over small matter. Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities such as sex, hobbies and sports. Loss of sleep or sleeping too much. Loss of appetite. Feelings of worthlessness. Thoughts of suicide. Whether we, the church, choose to deal with it or sweep it under the rug depression is real and should not be taken lightly.
Based on my experience in the ministry and seeing so many people from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and economic status, I have concluded that depression is not a result of being weak, but a result of being human. Life can rock you and shake you to the core. I have seen people suffer from depression for many reasons such as abuse, unexpected death, divorce, and job loss, a life changing event, illness, substance abuse and even sin.
The Bible does not use the word depression, but there are a few people in the Bible that most psychologists would label as having clinical depression. David, the man after God’s own heart, said “my guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear”. Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in the OT, said “I have had enough Lord, take my life, I am not better than my ancestors”. Jonah, a prophet who led an entire nation to God, said “Now O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live”. Job, called a righteousness man, said “why did I not die at my birth…I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil”. Moses, the greatest Biblical leader we know, said “please forgive their sin, but if not, blot me out of the book you have written”. The fact that these giants in our faith struggled with bouts or seasons of depression lets us know that even the godly can fall into depression. I don’t believe that a depressed state doesn’t mean you don’t have salvation nor does it mean you don’t love God.
If you’re reading this article and feel like you’re suffering with depression I want you to know that there is hope. That hope is in Jesus Christ. Jesus has the power to bring you out of depression. He stated in Luke 4:18, “I have come to set the captives free and I have come to set the oppressed free”. While there are countless things we can do to begin a journey toward freedom, I believe the Christian has a path that can be taken that guarantees our Freedom with the help of the Holy Spirit. Below are the 7 Steps To Freedom From Depression.
1. Acknowledge your depression It’s hard to get free from something that you don’t believe you are bound in. The first step to freedom in anything is accepting there is a problem that needs to be dealt with.
2. Take your problem to God As Christians we are given the privilege to take any of our problems to God. The Bible tells us, ”Cast all your cares upon him because he cares” 1 Pet 5:7. When we take our burdens, issues and weights to God it’s an expression that we can’t do this on our own. I believe God gets excited when we invite Him into our problem areas to help make changes.
3. Get professional help (Licensed Christian counselor preferred) Some Christians don’t believe that other Christians need counseling. Scripture is filled with counseling scenarios from the beginning to end. Christian counseling is nothing more than biblical based advice customized to meet the needs of specific problematic areas. I believe every Christian could use counseling in some area of our lives. A professional Christian counselor will be able identify the root of your depression and Biblically guide you to freedom.
4. Let God speak to your issue through the Word The Word of God is the most powerful weapon that a Christian has. It is able to overcome any enemy that we face. Depression is an enemy and it’s not God’s desire for our life. The Word of God has the power to help us get free from anything that has us bound. Find scriptures that speak to freedom, peace and joy then begin to quote them morning, noon and night while memorizing them and allowing them to take root in your heart.
5. Pray & fast your way out There is power in praying and fasting that you won’t find in any other spiritual discipline. Jesus himself stated, “Some things only come out through prayer and fasting”. Let this be a discipline in your life as you journey toward freedom.
6. Praise your way out Praising God in the midst of trouble always brings a joy that we would otherwise not have. Praise in the middle of your depression is a shout of victory that says my God is bigger and stronger than anything that is coming against me.
7. Live like you’re already free Instead of waiting until you feel free you should go ahead and live like you’re already free. Faith is nothing more than walking like you already have what you believe God is going to give you. Wake up tomorrow morning with a pep in your step and a smile on your face knowing that it’s a new day and the journey toward freedom is closer today than it was yesterday.