Personal Insight Into Victory Over Depression – Part 2 – My Testimony
To assist you in understanding the nature of my depression, the following is a very brief account of what led to it.
While growing up in the Bronx, NY, I was a very insecure person. I was happy, but never fulfilled. My happiness was like a yo-yo, always up and down – much more down than up. I always wanted to please people so they would accept me. I frequently yielded to peer pressure, passively becoming a doormat. I frequently took the blame for almost every problem, even though the majority of the problems I did not cause. I would try to fix every problem in order to please people; I wanted so much to be accepted. I would do almost anything in order not to be or feel rejected. (Personal comment: I cannot explain why I behaved this way. I will not even attempt to. All I know is my depression was a reality. It kept me in horrendous bondage.)
My depression was very severe. I was always full of fear. I was very nervous whenever stress occurred (especially conflict with other people) or whenever basic responsibility decisions needed to be made. I avoided conflict and often procrastinated with many of my basic responsibilities. In my mind, I kept running away from life. Often, I cried myself to sleep at night. How I wished the problems were gone when I awoke the next morning. When I realized they were not, I immediately spiraled into deeper depression and tears, hiding deeper and longer under the bed sheets. These tears would last for many hours even before I got out of bed.
How well can you relate to what I am sharing? I assure you I can relate to your depression. My heart for the love of Christ goes out to you. I certainly do understand; I share your pain right now.
I would often retreat into my daydream, fantasy world. People with depression do this often because they are afraid to deal directly with the hurts and challenges of life. This is very dangerous because people with depression can easily make their daydream world their own reality. This only makes their depression worse. It is fine to daydream in order to enjoy life, but not at the expense of escaping your life responsibilities. This will cause much harm and despair to yourself, your family, your job, and your close friends.
This is exactly what I did. I easily retreated into my fantasy world. Before long, my fantasy world became my reality. This is what makes depression very dangerous. When you cannot deal with normal growth and challenges of life, you create a fantasy world. I am not referring to enjoying basic stress-relief activities like sports, reading, television, walking, or socializing. Instead, I am referring when these activities become blown out of proportion. You make them an escape to run to; you run away from your own problems and responsibilities and into your fantasy.
This occurred to me for many years. I knew my responsibilities, but was too afraid to face them. I basically was immature (not is a selfish way) and unprepared to deal with them. It is like asking an eight-year-old child to drive a car. She is not qualified (because of her age) to drive. It is the same in many ways for depressed people. They may be adults, but in their minds they are still children in the sense that they need to be held by the hand.
This is how I was. Years of therapy were very helpful. The therapy, though, was like holding my hand. It taught me very well how to manage my emotions, my stress, and, in smaller ways, to face my fears. However, the fear facing was only temporary because my courage was shallow-rooted. Fear was definitely more deeply rooted with many painful thorns of hurt and rejection surrounding my heart. Rotten weeds covered the thorns and the pain within very well. Only God’s love can get deeply rooted to permanently overcome and uproot depression forever.
As I now look back, I believe that this is the best that most therapy can do. Therapy can be very effective, but it does have its limits. God can use the therapy and counseling fields very effectively when He becomes more of the focus.
(If you have a God-centered, loving therapist, you indeed are very blessed.) However, the majority of therapy and counseling is man-made; it can only get you to look at your “self,” to examine how you can change. Only limited direction toward God is usually practiced.
Most of therapy makes you look at your old self, the flesh. However, God does not. He looks at your new self, Christ in you. Your flesh is dead. So if God does not look at your flesh, why should you? God’s business is life, Jesus in you alive. THIS IS YOUR VICTORY OVER DEPRESSION. This is why God the Father desires you to look only at His Son Jesus.
Personal Note: it is very important to acknowledge that some people suffer from depression due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. This form of depression is very different than what I am writing about. Chemical imbalances are treatable with the proper medication. This assists the person to function normally on a daily basis. However, it is not to be used to escape reality and personal issues. (Examples would include Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), bipolar disorder, and other types of mental illness.)
“Jesus in you” ALIVE is your victory over depression.
When you begin to view depression from God’s viewpoint, you quickly realize how differently He views it. Remember: man’s ways are not God’s ways. Anything that makes us look intensely at ourselves is only our “flesh in action.” It is part of our sinful, Adamic nature. It does not matter what it is. For example, from self-praise (from ego-driven, successful people) to self-pity (from depressed people), it is only looking at self, your flesh.
In God’s eyes, FLESH is FLESH.
It does not matter what the results are. In God’s eyes, flesh is flesh. Fortunately though, God’s love, mercy, and grace always and easily outweigh flesh and can always be abundantly experienced. If you are or have been severely hurt or rejected, it is critical to experience the intimate, personal love that God has for you. He surely will neither hurt nor reject you. He just loves you so tenderly and so dearly. He persistently and gently urges you to draw into His loving heart within you. For you to be healed of depression, you must first receive God’s personal love. Otherwise, there is probably only a slim chance that you will ever have even a slight victory over depression.
This is how it occurred for me. Knowing and receiving God’s personal love for me became a firm foundation in my heart. Throughout my 17 years of depression, I always knew Jesus personally loved me. I knew confidently this was the one thing that would never change, regardless of how worse my depression symptoms and life’s problems became.
You need to firmly believe that:
God’s deep and intimate love for you will NEVER change.
I am now convinced that this is the turning point many of you need to firmly believe. You need to firmly believe that God’s deep and intimate love for you will NEVER change. If you believe or act as though God is not bigger than your problems, how then can He, through your faith, give you victory over them? I always knew He would overcome my problems and my depression. I just did not know how to let Him do it. During my depression years, I did not meet one Christian who was either (1) experiencing depression as severe as I was, or (2) knew what to do or what to say to overcome it. (I know you can easily relate to my experiences.) Usually the responses were well-intentioned, but they actually caused more hurt. The most frequent comments were:
- “Bob, where is your faith? Did not Jesus die for your sins?”
- “You need to pray more.”
- “Bob, you better examine yourself more intensely. There must be some secret or hidden sin(s) in your life.”
- “What’s wrong with you? You better snap out of it.”
These comments were like Satanic darts that scored a direct hit to my heart, piercing it sharply. It easily pierces the heart because the heart is already too hurt and wounded to defend itself. How unfortunate that the majority of Christians do not understand the deep pain caused to their brethren! How can you relate? How often have you been on the receiving end of these well-intentioned, but very hurtful comments? How often have you spoken them to other family members in Christ?
Yes, brethren, I do understand. This is why I am now writing you the solution. I will again share from personal experience. It will be so clearly stated for you to understand that you will immediately take it into your intimate prayer closet within your heart. You will easily begin to focus and meditate on your new identity.
I only issue one warning: BE PREPARED. Jesus will immediately move in very actively. He will stir up the deep love God has for you. Your only response is to absorb it and love Him back. (This is all done within your heart.) I assure you: Jesus is very actively waiting to do this – just for you. He truly does love you so intimately. Absorb this love, brethren. Do not wait any longer. Get up and get into your heart. Do not play the fool. God loves you always.
The solution, of course, is only Jesus Christ. However, it is very important to learn and to apply daily by faith how to permit Jesus in you to be the solution to all your problems.
The only solution is JESUS CHRIST.
The way of permitting Jesus to totally live the life of God through you is to convincingly live your life according to your new identity. I guarantee this is your answer – for His love, as your new identity in Him, to conquer your depression. His love, like all spiritual warfare, is fought in your mind. This is the way God wants to change you – by changing your thinking. God wants you to begin seeing life through His eyes. Your new identity is according to God. The apostle John states our new identity so magnificently in I John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”
Once I knew how deeply God loved me, it became very easy to see myself as His child. I began to understand more clearly the difference between my old nature and my new nature. This is your key to victory. Jesus crucified your old, Adamic nature (the flesh) and gave you a brand new nature (Himself) as God’s child. You must understand this well. You have two natures residing in you. One is dead because of Jesus’ death; the other is alive because of Jesus’ resurrected life living in you now as the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:1-3 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
It is also well amplified in Romans 8:10 “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
Then Paul excellently concludes this point in Romans 8:13-17 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”
If God only sees your “live” nature, should not you? God only sees your old Adamic nature as dead. Jesus only sees it nailed to His cross on Calvary and buried in His tomb. What is keeping you from seeing the same? This may even be the very first time you are ever hearing this. I can understand because it took a very long time for me to understand, even after many years of Bible reading. But now, I confidently assure you that this new way of thinking will give you victory over everything. God will move in quickly to control your thoughts because you permit Him to. He trains your mind to live above them.
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Therefore, the most obvious solution is to leave it dead and see life as your new nature. Yes, leave it all dead because it is all in the past. (Why leave your flesh dead? Because that is what it is.) Remember that God’s grace is only effective for the present moment.
Paul amplifies it further in Romans 6:11-14 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
This is God’s viewpoint of your life in His Son Jesus. You must meditate OFTEN on your new life/new identity in Jesus. God truly loves you so much. Continue to absorb His love, brethren, so you can begin living as His child.
The majority of victories do not occur right away. It is a growth period through maturity. You have been very hurt by life; thorns press your heart often. Horrendous pricks of your heart are a normal experience. You are very hurt each time these pricks press harder into you. You are even experiencing them right now. This is why Jesus wants to begin to heal you in His love. This is why it takes time, God’s time. Jesus wants to gently remove those thorns one at a time. It must only be done one at a time. When Jesus removes one at a time, a deep scar remains on your heart. Jesus then gently begins healing that scar by rooting His love deeper into your heart and then covering it. As you grow in God’s love, you will begin to live as though the hurts never existed. (You are being desensitized to the pain. This is indeed a dying daily to flesh.) You may pull on the scab at times and reopen old wounds when depression knocks on your door. But your recovery will be much faster. His love just overwhelms you more and more. Do you now see why you must not rush your healing? Let Jesus gently heal your deep hurts one at a time. He must do it this way. It is His way – the way of the cross. This increases your healing recovery. Just keep remembering Jesus’ deep love for you as you heal.
Again I state: keep meditating often on your new identity. This keeps Jesus as your new nature in the forefront of your mind.
Colossians 3:1-4 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”