I want to go straight to the point and not beat around the bush this morning. In Isaiah 61:3 the bible describes depression as a “spirit of heaviness”. Unfortunately, a stigma still surrounds depression. Some believe it’s imagined. Others believe it’s demonic oppression. Some say it’s strictly spiritual, while others believe it’s strictly physical. Some believe you must take medicine. Others believe it’s a sin to take medicine.
Of course there is more than one category of depression (situational, clinical, etc). But no matter the source or treatment (counseling, medicine, etc.), depression is always an opportunity to draw nearer to Christ. For this reason, we must view the words of a counselor as an extension of Christ’s wisdom, not a replacement for it. And we must see medicine as a gift of God, not an alternative to His power. If I seek a cure without seeking Christ, I am bowing to idols of my own desires.
That’s why I think Hebrews 4, after reminding us that Christ has experienced our same temptations, encourages us in verse 16 to “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
So here’s the takeaway:
- Depression is real. (Jesus experienced it.)
- Experiencing depression is not sin. (Jesus didn’t sin.)
- Experiencing depression is not necessarily a result of sin. (Jesus is completely righteous.)
- There is no “quick fix” for depression, it is a battle (often for life).
- The key is our reaction to depression: whether or not we cling to Christ.
If you know of someone dealing with depression, here are a few thoughts:
- You have an opportunity to minister the patient, merciful love of Christ to them.
- Be patient and listen to them.
- Encourage them to see biblical counseling. (A good biblical counselor will encourage them to also consult a physician to determine if there is a need for medicine.)
- Continue pointing them to dependency on Christ.
- Pray for them—and don’t give up!
Did Jesus battle temptation? Yes, I think so. But even more, I believe He defeated it!