Part 3 – Understand Footholds And Strongholds for VICTORY OVER DEPRESSION
During this time that I was learning the full gospel (especially the 2nd half that His life as God in me was what I was missing), I was still severely depressed. Satan continued to have a very big stronghold on my family. My emotions were like a yo-yo, always up and down everyday. My life was built on sand, always crumbling whenever the smallest breeze of fear hit.
A few years went by living like a yo-yo. Things became worse for my family. It is not necessary to go into details. The only important fact is my life and my family was upside down. My depression (as a Christian) came back worse than ever.
I cried uncontrollably everyday. I cried for that entire year of 1993. That is bondage. I cried because I was depressed regarding my misconception of the reality of life. (I had a very serious, unrealistic expectation about how the Christian life is lived.) I never expected God to permit to permit what occurred. I was living in a fantasy world that I made my reality. This is why my world crashed. (I know that you can relate to your own fantasy world becoming your reality world and crashing.)
As I look back 16 years later, I clearly see God’s hands in all this. He was removing every prop I hid behind – my family, my job, my Christianity, etc. He had to do this so I can see and face the reality of my evil self – the flesh. He needed to expose it so my darkness can be displayed against His light. For all those depressed years, I lived running and hiding to keep my depression in the darkness. Jesus’ words from John 3:19-21 accurately apply to my depression. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” Yes, this was so true about my depression. I was ashamed of it and, through my evil flesh, attempted to keep it hidden. O, Lord, thank You so much for Your magnificent love and grace. God will do the same to you. He will remove every prop you hide behind. Let Him. It definitely is very painful, but He will become your resurrected victory.
God always knew that I sincerely loved Him during my depression. It took a little longer for me to see in my mind the truth of His resurrected life as my victory. He now was renewing my mind. He lived in my heart; He now had to work it out in my head. It took many years, but today I have the victory. I never want to go through depression again. But, I never want to change one thing or one day of what I experienced. It was all for the sake of knowing the intimate love of Jesus in me. Today, I am more convinced that I will never be alone again. I am the most joyful I have ever been in my entire life. Every day only becomes more joyful. (I am writing of this joy on May 3, 2010.) Jesus is real to me everyday because I choose to make Him real. It truly is very easy to keep falling in love with Jesus everyday.
This is what life is all about – JESUS CHRIST! I grow more in love with Him everyday. I truly become overwhelmed by His love daily.
It took a few more years for this truth to become deeply rooted in me. Once this occurred, I was now ready to bear God’s fruit. I remember this moment so vividly when I awoke one morning in January 1996. All I could think about was “Jesus lives in me.” My yo-yo life was now over PERMANENTLY. Suddenly, Jesus was all I would think about throughout every day. All I could focus on was (1) He resides in me right now and (2) how deeply He loves me. I did not even have to force myself to do it. He truly was taking over. If one experiences this everyday, how could you not love God back?
Now I understood the full, complete gospel.
1. Jesus died to destroy the disease (sin) that killed me.
2. Jesus rose from the dead to reside in me as God forever.
John 12:24 now made perfect sense. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Jesus had to give up His life in death as man in order to share His life in me as God. WOW! No wonder it is so easy to love and praise God. What a motivation His love is!
Jesus had to give up His life in death as man
in order to share His resurrected life in you as God.
Now that I clearly understood that only Jesus could live the Christian life through me, it became easy to rest in His intimate love for me. I rested totally confident of His love and grace for me. I rested totally dependent, 24 hours per day, on the life of Jesus to live through me. It became a rest like a branch totally resting and depending on the life of the vine to flow through it. I stopped struggling in my Christian life to please God. I stopped attempting to give my best for Jesus to produce His fruit. As a branch, I am only to bear the fruit that He produces through me. The fruit will truly be God’s fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”
This is why the Christian life now became and continues to be utterly joyful. His deep-rooted love was bursting forth and overflowing out of me very easily and very naturally. Jesus healed me of depression. He showed me the reality and the difference between my old nature flesh and my new nature Himself. The Christian life truly was now becoming a joy to live. The Christian life is God’s life alive residing in me and living through me. Jesus Christ is a life that a hurting, love-starved world so desperately needs to see exhibited through God’s family. The Christian life finally made sense because the Christian life is Jesus Christ.
Gradually His love began to flow out of me more regularly than ever. Jesus truly had trained me to think with the following mindset: it did not matter what I did, what I said, or where I went as long as Jesus directed me to. All I focused on was that whomever I encountered, I only desired for them to see the love of Jesus in me, to see Christ in me. With Jesus living through me, I became convinced that a “Good Morning” said to a stranger is just as important as a minister delivering a loving message. They are equally important because Jesus is the author of both. You may never know how critical it is when you say “Good Morning” or “God bless you” to a stranger. That person may be at the end of her rope questioning God’s love. So, basically, just let Jesus live the Christian life through you. It is to be only Jesus in all our words, actions, and thoughts. I was no longer interested in results. Results were now God’s business. I was so absorbed everyday with His personal love for me that I really had no time to focus at length on other things, especially Satan. I did not desire to focus on anything except His love. The Christian life, Jesus Christ living through you, is quite simple.
God can remove our evil circumstances. However, at this time, as in most others, He leaves them in place so we can grow through them.
With victory over depression, I now had a critical choice to make. The Lord was not going to force me to make it. But, He clearly showed the choice – life for my family (in Christ) or death for my family (through flesh and Satan). Jesus was permitting me to retake the test(s) I failed years earlier. He also does the same for you. He permits you to keep retaking the test(s) until you pass, if you ever do in this lifetime. When you do pass, He elevates you more into His love. If you fail, you remain and your depression only becomes worse until you are ready to pass the test. You pass the test by permitting Jesus to live (to take the test) through you. Fortunately by God’s grace, I was now mentally prepared for the spiritual battle. I was only to rest in Jesus’ love and to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in me to do the battle.
Because I love the Lord so purely and sincerely, I am so overwhelmingly convinced that He is going to be glorified through me more and more everyday. He is elevating me more in His love because He trusts me more to share only His love with all people. (This is clearly evident as you read my books.) I prefer never to be the center of attention, to be placed on a pedestal. I only desire to direct you to Jesus and an awareness of a deepening intimacy with Him. I prefer to remain hidden and alone in Christ, never to be known in the world. I truly do not trust my flesh.
With dealing with my family situation, I now knew how to fight Satan spiritually – to rest in Jesus and let Him fight Satan through me. Satan never stands a chance when you walk with this mindset. You must be mentally tough and ferociously persistent to let Christ fight through you. It is like I stated before – I was so absorbed with God’s personal love for me that I had neither time nor desire to think about anything else, especially Satan. I did not need to rebuke Satan every minute. I did not have to repeatedly quote Scripture to him. I only focused on the love of Jesus flowing out of me. He would do the rest. “Watch out, you stupid devil! Christ in me and through me is coming in love.” Remember what Paul wrote about love (charity) in I Corinthians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing.” Even Jesus stressed that only the love of God must motivate our hearts. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Yes, spiritual warfare against Satan is done only in love. By saying “Watch out, you stupid devil,” it is quite easy to be stirred up into emotional zeal to march forward in God’s army and slay the devil. It may sound very noble and Biblically correct, especially when reading about putting on the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. However, it is the wrong approach and one Satan frequently uses to create chaos in the body of Christ. By being emotionally stirred, the Christian becomes blinded to the pure love of Christ motivating him to fight. Think about it a moment. Which is easier to defeat Satan in a spiritual battle – by zealously going forward with the armor of God mindset or by going forward gently, calmly, and convincingly with the love of Jesus motivating you? I pray you see the true answer. I assure you from many years of personal experience – the intimate love of Jesus through the Christian is what will attract the unsaved world to Him. Read the previous verses again from I Corinthians 13:1-3. If you do not have the pure love of Jesus motivating you continuously, you are losing your spiritual battles despite the contrary opinions of many other Christians. Decide for yourself. Let the Holy Spirit show you. Go intimately and quietly into your heart and meditate on this.
I was now ready to do reverse psychology on the dumb devil. I was beginning to get a foothold into his house regarding his stronghold on my family. My foot was in his door and with the love of Jesus motivating me, there is no way Satan will be able to close it. The strongholds he had over me are no longer. Christ now is my stronghold. In Him, I already have many strongholds in Satan’s house. More will easily follow because Christ in me will do it all (only in gentleness and love). Satan will be forced to flee because I, as spiritual head of my family, will have the love of Christ flowing abundantly from me toward Satan. There is no chance he would remain when He sees the river of Jesus’ love flowing from me against him. Christ in me is real to me more and more everyday. Glory to Your Magnificent and Superb Name, Lord! You are so worthy to be loved and praised. I truly love You so deeply.