As a former wrestler at the hands of spiritual and emotional depression, I know how important encouragement and hope are to those who are in the struggle. Others who continue in their battle with this very real enemy, hold a special place in my heart. I pray for those in such a dreary mindset – it’s not easy to be in it, nor easy to conquer.
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25
When we are anxious or tormented by inner thoughts of excessive fear and concern, we can feel overwhelmed and depressed. Depression literally comes from pressing down all the anxiety and troublesome thoughts into our spirit.
Although it is a common struggle in lives today, thankfully, God provides ways out of depression. Bondages can be broken and fears can be driven away through the anointed words of the Bible, revelation through the Holy Spirit, and divine intervention through His servants. Pray, and ask God to reveal Himself to You and refuse o believe anything but the fact that He has heard Your cry.
But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well. 1 Samuel 16:14-16
Depression is widespread and varies in intensity from the “Monday morning blues” to suicidal despair. People become depressed for a variety of reasons. Saul’s life reveals the cause of a particular kind of depression: the Spirit of the Lord left Saul when David was anointed by Samuel (v. 13). In addition, “a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him” (v. 14).
There is a spiritual and psychological principle at work here. The distressing spirit from the Lord illustrates that in the absence of the Spirit of God, men are vulnerable to evil spirits. God alone governs the physical and spiritual realm. However, unless we submit to Him and His rule in our lives, we are no longer protected from evil and its destructive effects. It is in this sense that God is said to have sent the spirit.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” Luke 22:31
Although the world most often views Satan as the equal opposite of God, he had to ask to tempt Simon. Therefore if the cause of the struggle is in the hands of our loving God, Who knows what we can bear, than we can trust that the length and weight of the struggle is bearable. The trials are allowed and supervised by the One who knows every detail about His creation, He knows our thoughts (Psalm 49:11) and He knows our hearts (Luke 16:15).
We are also told in the Word that God uses such struggles in our lives to be glorified. We are urged to be glad that we suffer as it is an opportunity to grow more in the likeness of Christ (Romans 5:1-5).
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. Acts 3:7
Not only did God heal the man from this passage as Peter proclaimed it in the name of Jesus, but did so with immediate results. This type of healing is not just for Bible stories of old, but can be experienced today as well and with the same type of results.
Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Do not be afraid, just believe.” Mark 5:36
God can raise the dead in the physical sense, emotional sense, and the spiritual sense. We must take heart and believe. Sometimes we must convince ourselves that we truly believe, because the greatest threat to experiencing this miraculous healing from Christ is the enemy within ourselves. We feel doubt, we give in, and we except it as part of who we are. It is not part of who we are.
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me to overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24
God can make healing possible even for the man who doubts. We can ask God to help us with our doubt and we can take captive our thoughts to the truth of God’s Word.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
When we do experience a healing or deliverance we are to never let our guard down. Satan will attempt to deceive us into believing that God didn’t actually do what He said He’d do. He’ll bring it back when a certain circumstance could cause a reaction. Be alert and disciplined in your actions. Call on the name of Jesus and rebuke the attempts of the enemy in His Name. As children of God, we are given authority in Jesus’ name over our enemies and that includes our own flesh.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes… The Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy, the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalms 6:7-9
You defend them. Psalm 5:11-12
The eyes dimmed are symbolic for a failing strength, grief, longings unsatisfied, or hope deferred. The frequent weapon used against the psalmist is the tongue which is as deadly as the sword (Psalm 57:4; 64:3-4). With most who are tormented by depression, the words by those around us, and especially those we care about, can be seen in the cycle of overwhelming discouragement and emotion. But we can rejoice because we have a defender. Go to Him to plead your case, be real with Him and pray for Him to reveal ways to help you in your present circumstance and He will when you get in the Word. It is only in His courtroom that one can experience redress for such attacks.
If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake,in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11
Forgiveness is essential for healing as well as in the defense against the enemy. God gives us power and awareness through the Holy Spirit. It is our advantage over Satan, being prepared against his attacks. God does not leave us unarmed. We are to surround ourselves with those who inspire us, encourage us, and help us, and healing can then begin.
And don’t let Satan “outwit” you into thinking God can’t do this, or that what you’ve done or experienced is too big for Him to heal your pain, or forgive your wrongs. That is a lie.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
Victory is obtained through and by God alone. Nothing we do outside of God’s will, will change our circumstance. Pray and ask what He would have you do; listen, let go, and let God. Healing will happen in His perfect timing. Hold on, it will be worth it!
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. You will fill me with joy in Your presence with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. Psalm 16:9-11
Psalm 16:9-11 are words assurance by the psalmist; a confidence obtained only with God as refuge. The Lord will not abandon His children.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the lord, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13
Trust God. He’s proven Himself to be true, time and time again. Trust Him.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. John 14:27
The peace that Jesus offers is real and present. We can only find this kind of peace in Him. All else is temporary and only leads to a deeper hunger.
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17
Praise must follow deliverance as surely as prayer springs from need if God is to be honored. Praises are to be given in anticipation of the expected answer to prayer. Use your words to glorify God. Speak things as if they were so ([God,] Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. Romans 4:17b). If one is struggling in their walk with God, praise Him that He is strong; if angry, praise God that He’s giving the gift of loving others; if depressed, praise God that He’s giving joy!
It is through our hardships and trials that God is perfecting us: when our faith is tested, it develops perseverance; perseverance leads to knowledge; and subsequently growth. It is in every experience we are to strive to find pure joy because God is forming us into His likeness (James 1:2-4)! Choosing joy takes courage and is no easy task. It is the day by day standing on God’s awesome Word. It’s not easy but it is possible with Christ, Jesus.
Special Note: I battled depression for seven years. After several months of hearing from God, I experienced immediate healing and deliverance by choosing to believe that He did in fact do so. I have been made aware by revelation of the Holy Spirit of Satan’s tricks to bring me back to that dark, lonely, and secluded place. It has gotten easier to choose joy, though I still have my very hard days. Believing and standing on His promise and reminding myself (and the enemy) that in Christ I am set free, removes the tempter from my presence and I have conquered his feeble attempt again. It takes courage – courage to trust God.