Depression according to English dictionary is a state of mind producing serious, long-term lowering of enjoyment of life or inability to visualize a happy future. It is also defined as a period of unhappiness or low morale which lasts longer than several weeks and may include ideation of self-inflicted injury or suicide. In Biology, it is lowering, in particular a reduction in a particular biological variable or the function of an organ, in contrast to elevation.
There is no doubt a lot of Christians are depressed in their mind, they are unhappy, they are frustrated and disappointed by life. Life seems not worthy to live. For some it is as a result of biological imbalance in the hormonal system, this could however could be corrected by certain drugs to some extent, though not totally.
People including Christians have committed suicide because of prevailing life challenges. Many have done some unspeakable things. Depression is serios.
VARIOUS CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
Depression is an extreme complex diseases that many people have not been able to pin point what really caused it. It can occur due to many reasons like when people are sick or diagnosed with a major sickness. To some it may be as a result of life changing circumstances like loss of loved ones, loss of jobs or income, sudden changes in environment, some just feel sad for unknown reasons and this could be demoniac and things like that.
What Are the Main Causes of Depression?
There are a number of factors that may increase the chance of depression, including the following:
What people suffered in the past: Things like sexual abuse by relatives or incest happenings in the family may lead to depression.
Certain medicines used in treatment of some diseases can increase the risk or trigger depression in some people.
Quarrelling and fights: Engagement in fights with people around you, family members and friends can make certain people depressed.
Loss of loved ones: Griefs and sorrow emanating from the death of very close life partners and family members do cause depression.
Hereditory: Sometimes it is traceable in family. Some are genetically transmitted. It is possible for a member of the family to have and pass it across to someone along the line.
Rejection and isolation: Some people that suffers isolation and rejection from family members or loved ones can be prone to depression
Life event: Even good things of life that happens expectedly or unexpectedly can cause depression, moving from one place to another place, changing jobs or careers, lost of income, menopause in women, retiring after long period of service can lead to depression.
Drug abuse: It has been ascertained that alcohol and drug abuse leads to depression or increase the tendency to be depressed. It may make you forget the present sorrows but it will eventually bring back depression.
Chemical imbalance: As it popularly called, certain parts of the brain involve in transmission of chemicals may be small or the fluids may be inadequate due to some unknown reasons and these can cause periodical and phycological problems or mood changes. For instance, the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that is vital to the storage of memories, appears to be smaller in some people with a history of depression than in those who’ve never been depressed. A smaller hippocampus has fewer serotonin receptors. Serotonin is one of many brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters that allow communication across circuits that connect different brain regions involved in processing emotions.
Is Depression Linked to Chronic Pain?
When pain lingers for weeks to months, it’s referred to as being “chronic.” Not only does chronic pain hurt, it also disturbs your sleep, your ability to exercise and be active, your relationships, and your productivity at work. Can you see how chronic pain may also leave you feeling sad, isolated, and depressed?
Are there people in the Bible that went through depression?
What causes their depression and how were they able to overcome it or did they die in their depressed state? What is the New Testament approach to depression.
The people were making an ‘outrageous’ demands from Moses. They wanted meat and Moses was wondering where he would get enough meat to feed over 600,000 men excluding women and children. Along with this meat demands was leadership problem, Moses was overwhelmed already and when the issues of meat came, he just lost it.
Num 11:15 KJV And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
It was so bad that Moses the man of God wished himself dead. It could be so bad for some people too.
King Saul and demoniac attack
King disobeyed God and was removed by God. One major thing that characterise is deposition was that the Spirit of God left him and the spirit of the devil enters him.
1Sam 16:14 KJV But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
The Hebrew word for “troubled” is “ba‛ath” and it means to terrify, startle, fall upon, dismay, be overtaken by sudden terror, to be terrified, to fall upon, overwhelm
It made him to behave irrationally and his servants had to recommend solution to his problems:
1Sam 16:15-16 KJV 15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
The medicinal effects of music on the mind and body, especially as appeasing anger, and soothing and pacifying a troubled spirit, are well known.
Job 3:1-4 KJV 1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. 4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
Job was highly depressed and he wished he was never born. It was that bad.
Elijah had just had an encounter with the worshipers of Baal in which they were disgraced and killed. While the celebration of the new order of Godly worship was going on, Elijah received a note from Jezebel informing him that he will be like those prophets of Baal that were killed.The Bible says that when he saw the note, he took off and ran for his dear life. He went into hiding and right there he wished himself dead. He said he was not better than his fathers.
1Ki 19:4 KJV But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
The prophet’s depression here reached its lowest point. He was still suffering from the reaction of over-strained feeling; he was weary with nights and days of travel; he was faint with the sun’s heat; he was exhausted for want of food; he was for the first time alone – alone in the awful solitude and silence of the great white desert. Such solitude might brace the soul in certain moods; but in others it must utterly overwhelm and crush. Thus the prophet at length gave way completely – made his prayer that he might die – and, exhausted sank, to sleep (Barne).
Prophet Jeremiah is called “wailing prophet” because he so much identified with people of Israel in captivity. He was there when the country was invaded by the Chaldean.
Lam 2:11 KJV Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.
He was so much troubled with happenings around him.
Jer 18:19-20 KJV 19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. 20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.
Jeremiah was strongly opposed by his own people that he
Jer 15:10 KJV Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.
The prophet here complains of the opposition he met with from his countrymen for speaking unwelcome truths, which had occasioned him as much uneasiness, as if he had engaged in the most invidious of all occupations, and the most likely to engender strife, that of lending and borrowing upon usury.
Jonah had delivered the message God gave to him after the initial reluctance that cost him 3days in the belly of the fish. He was waiting for the judgement of God to fall on the people even though they had repented and declared a national day of fasting. When he waited for long and nothing bad seems to be happening, Jonah was frustrated and wished he could die.
Jon 4:8 KJV And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah was angry because God granted repentance to the Ninevites, and the Assyrians were enemies of Judah and Israel. Jonah wanted God to bring judgment upon these people he hated.
Jonah was angry with God because He brought the people of Nineveh to repentance (Jon 4:1 ). The ancient Hebrew word for “angry” is literally “to be hot.” Now God will let Jonah feel some of the heat!
JOHN THE BAPTIST
Mat 11:2-3 KJV 2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
Why will John sent this kind of message to Jesus? Was it not the same John that declared that Jesus is the lamb of God that came to save the world? Was he not the same John that said he did not know who Jesus was but the Spirit revealed Him to him? John actually baptized Jesus so how come he was sending this kind message to Jesus?
The issue was depression. John had been in prison for sometime probably up to 6-12months, he was expecting that Jesus would use His miraculous power to set him free or do something about his imprisonment.
How Jesus responded to the enquiries was amazing because He did not give a direct answer to John’s answer but instead performed miracles and those miracles were those that Isaiah had written about that the Messiah will do when He comes.
Isa 35:5-6 KJV 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Jesus literally fulfilled the scripture which John himself must have read. In order words Jesus pointed John back to the scripture. He did that after He had made good remarks about John but not in the presence of the disciples of John.
Luk 7:21-22 KJV 21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
NEW TESTAMENT APPROACH
When Jesus arrived the temple, he read the scripture that was written about Him by Isaiah the prophet long time ago:
Luk 4:18-19 KJV 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
The Greek word for “brokenhearted” is “suntribo” and according to Thayer lexicon, it means break, to break in pieces, shiver, to tread down, to put Satan under foot and (as a conqueror) trample on him, to break down, crush, to tear one’s body and shatter one’s strength.
This perfectly fit our definition of depression. To be depressed also means to be brokenhearted.
This is how Amplified Bible render the text:
AMP:The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],
One of the major purpose of our Lord Jesus is to heal the brokenhearted and the depressed. They need healing. Healing is not only for physical malady but also for emotional and psychological issues.
The word used for “heal” is not the common one in the New Testament. It is “iaomai” and it means to cure, heal, and to make whole.
The Lord was sent to minister healing to you if you are passing through depression. How do you receive His healing?
Comfort of the scripture
Rom 15:4 KJV For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Comfort through words of God
1Th 4:18 KJV Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Comfort of God
2Cor 1:3-4 KJV 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Cor 7:6 KJV Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
The Greek word for “cast down” in that verse is “tapeinos” and it means: not rising far from the ground metaphorically as a condition, lowly, of low degree, brought low with grief, depressed, lowly in spirit, humble
By visiting and showing emphaty with people grieving can bring a lot of relieve to them. God will send people across your path.
Comfort of Lord Jesus
2Thess 2:16-17 KJV 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
As we minister to the depressed we use the scripture and the words of God to minister to them, showing them the hope in Christ Jesus and the redemption that He has given to us. The word of God is able to build up again that which is cast down.
Act 20:32 KJV And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
There is nothing anyone of us is passing through today that somebody in the scripture has not gone through and all that we need is to see how they were able to come out of it and we can apply the same principle to our lives.
If anyone says his own problem is beyond the solution proffered in the scriptures, then he or she has excluded himself or herself from the ultimate healing provided.
EXPERIENCE OF DAVID
David went through a lot of physical and emotional challenges. Saul pursued him for many years, his own son took over the kingdom from him and pursued him away from the throne. He was very sad and depressed.
Psa 42:5 KJV Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
Psa 43:5 KJV Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul?. The Hebrew word means to bow down, to incline oneself; then, usually, to prostrate oneself as in public worship; and then, to sink down under the weight of sorrow; to be depressed and sad. The Septuagint renders it, “Why art thou grieved?” – “perilupos”. This is an earnest remonstrance addressed by himself to his own soul, as if there were really no occasion for this excessive depression; as if he cherished his grief improperly. There was a brighter side, and he ought to turn to that, and take a more cheerful view of the matter. He had allowed his mind to rest on the dark side, to look at the discouraging things in his condition. He now felt that this was in some measure voluntary, or had been indulged too freely, and that it was wrong: that it was proper for a man like him to seek for comfort in brighter views; that it was a duty which he owed to himself and to the cause of religion to take brighter views(Barne)
It is human to give ourselves to the dark side of life and feel there is no more hope. But one of the way to come out from depression is too fight it with the trust that we have in God.
David says we should hope in God – That is, trust in him, with the hope that he will interpose and restore thee to the privileges and comforts heretofore enjoyed. The soul turns to God when all other hope fails, and finds comfort in the belief that he can and will aid us.
David preached to himself and receive the comfort that come from God.
Another good case study was when the Amalekites came to vandalized the camp of the David and his men. They took away all the women and their goods. When they returned from their expedition. The men were disappointed and cried so much to the extent that they wanted to stone David.
1Sam 30:6 KJV And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
The Hebrew word for “encourage” is “chazaq” and it means to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore, to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, prevail upon, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure, to press, be urgent, to grow stout, grow rigid,
David had to speak to himself, he remembered all the goodness of the Lord in the time past; how God had delivered him from Goliath and other wars he was engaged in and if God could do that, God is able to delivered him in the present case. He assured himself and made himself strong again.
We can do that, it is a great way to fight depression. the grace and ability is available, we only need to edify ourselves as Jude says.
1Jn 3:19 KJV And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
The book of proverb says that as he thinks in his heart so is he. We are product of our thought. We can’t go beyond the thinking we have. Our lives will go the way of our dominant thought. If we think on depressing things we shall surely be depressed and if we think on good and godly things, we will be happy and joyful.
Phi 4:8 KJV Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Any thinking outside these and what Jesus has done for us through his atonement will produce sorrow and depression. You have to know who you are in Christ Jesus and your inheritance. You will need to read my book “Unveiling the new creation inheritance” It will tell you more about what we have in Christ.
We need to renew our thinking with the word of God. God did not create a joke, we are very important on His mind. He place so much value on us. There is nothing we face that we can’t come out from.
Paul should have been depressed by all the things that he suffered for the sake of the gospel but yet he was joyful even when he was cast into the prison, he was singing. He told the Phillipians to rejoice. There is no way he could have said that if he himself was not rejoicing.
One thing that help Paul was that he view the problems and sufferings in the light of eternity. That is why he could says, the suffering of the present were but for a moment. In order words compare with what we are gong to enjoy in eternity, whatever we face now is nothing to be compared with the blessings and joy coming. This thought alone will cause us to be motivated and encouraged.
2Cor 4:17 KJV For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
We choose to be depressed sometime because we want to receive the sympathy of man. Many at times the root of our depression is self centeredness. We are more concerned about ourselves than about others, we have become the center of our own universe, everything revolve around us. We need to change the perspective.
Another solution is to understand how much God loves us. God is not the author of our calamity and problem, He is not trying to perfect us with them as some teaches, He is not dealing with us based on our performance. He loves us unconditionally. Some teaches that God allows certain bad things in order to bring the best out in us. I tell you God doesn’t need the instrument of the devil to train his children. Sickness, poverty and financial difficulty are by products of the curse in Deut 28. He corrects us through the word 1Tim 3: 16. God loves us and He is trying to get things to us. We must learn to receive what belong to us.
1Cor 10:13 KJV There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
There is no adversity, trial or problem that we can not overcome and triumph over. We are overcomer. We should not allow the way we were treated in the past or our experience to dictate how our future will look like. We can be healed from past emotional distress and trauma by allowing God to minister to us.
Learn to forgive those who abuse you mentally, psychologically and socially. Forgive your enemies and people that have wrong you in the time past. There are deep rooted psychological problem and memories that are inside of us, we can be healed of them. We hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to us and removing the wrongs and evils planted in us.
Some Christian go on long protracted grieve period, they refused to be comforted like what the Bible talked about in the book of Jeremiah.
Jer 31:15 KJV Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
Sometimes the depression is caused by demonic attack like the case of Saul that we read. When the evil spirit came on him, he became depressed and acted strange, but anytime David played music for him, he became healed for that period. Under the New covenant, there is a lasting and permanent healing for anyone under the demonic attack. Jesus came to set the captives free. When we lay hands on them, the devil is cast out in the name of Jesus.
James 4: 7 says resist the devil and he will flee from you. There is need to resist vehemently the oppression of the devil. The word “resist” is “to actively fight against”. It is not a one time affair but something you do until you perceive a note of victory in your heart or see the desire results. The fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much. You can not be passive about it.
Watch over your heart. Guide what you think about. You can cast down every evil imagination and ultimately fill your heart with the good news of the gospel, meditate on them on regular basis and there will be an effortless change all over and around you.
Sometime you will need to go for counselling with a mature Christian who can talk with you. Many at time, when we share our burden with people that care and open up to them on how we feel, it gives a lot of relief. Many people have bottled up anger and resentment about an unfortunate incident in the time past and it has been disturbing them. Speak up please. Bible says in the multitude of counsellors purposes are established and where there are no counsels, purpose is defeated.
Pro 11:14 KJV Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
KJV of the Bible