The Full, Genuine Gospel (My Personal Experience To Victory Over Depression)
The full gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus must be shared. The impact of the death and resurrection must be given the same emphasis. My personal experience of 35 years as a Christian shows that most Christians, with all sincerity, only share the death of Jesus for all sins as salvation. This is true and vital. This is how I lived many years as a Christian. Ask Christians today, “What is salvation?” Many would exclaim, “Jesus died for my sins.” They know how to apply the cross to their daily life, to repent of their sins, and receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ shed blood.
The missing part of the full gospel is the resurrection. Most Christians know the validity of the resurrection. However, many do not know how to apply by faith the resurrection life of Jesus to their daily life. Many do not realize that “the Jesus who died for them 2000 years ago is the same Jesus who rose from the dead to live in them and through them today.” A Christian evangelist explains it accurately. “Jesus gave His life for us, so He can give His life to us, so He can live His life through us.”
Through Jesus’ death on the cross and His shedding of blood, a sinner receives forgiveness. Through Jesus’ resurrection, a spiritually dead person receives life. The death of Jesus destroys the disease (sin) that killed us. The resurrected life of Jesus raises spiritually dead people back to life. This is the context of the complete gospel, the full impact of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
By faith, we accept the full impact of Jesus’ death and resurrection. By faith, we apply daily the death and resurrection of Jesus to our own life. We accept responsibility for our sins, confess them, and repent. Jesus continually forgives. We, then, apply the resurrected life of Jesus in us, everyday, so Jesus can live His life through us.
Only Jesus can live the Christian life through you. Only Jesus is qualified to be the Christian in you. Jesus is the Christian life. You have a new identity as a child of God. Jesus is your new life. You are a new creation. Now Jesus calls you to rest in Him so He can live His life through you.
For many years I struggled to overcome many areas of my Christian walk. One of them was severe, clinical depression. If Jesus died for my sins, why was I struggling for many years as a depressed Christian? Even answering many altar calls, repenting daily, and rebuking Satan, I still struggled with depression. The depression symptoms consisted of a daily fear and insecurity, continuous tears crying myself to sleep, hiding under bed sheets, closing the shades and blinds during daylight, hoping I was living a fantasy, and avoidance of stress or conflict.
How can you relate to what I experienced? The Christian life for many can easily be a life of drudgery, burn out, and failure. Instead, the Christian life should be a life of joy, abundance, and victory.
Why do so many Christians struggle in their Christian walk? Why do so many burn out and walk away? The answer, which I can testify personally to, is that they do not, for whatever reason, let Jesus live His life through them. Many Christians simply do not know how to let Jesus live through them. Many, in fact, rarely understand it at all. Many do not know how to “rest in Jesus.” Many have not let Jesus heal their broken heart.
I lived with the following mindset. “If Jesus came to give me abundant life, why did I continue to live depressed, disappointed, and lifeless?” That was the question I repeatedly asked myself.
Basically, I was born again into a new life in Christ, but I was living as though I was “spiritually dead.” I tried to live the Christian life on my own. No wonder my life was full of death and depression. I did not know how to let Jesus live His life through me. I did not know how to really “rest in Jesus.” I needed to let Jesus heal my broken heart. When Jesus died, my depression died with Him. On the cross, Jesus absorbed my depression into His body. It was buried with Him in His tomb. When Jesus rose from the dead, He left my depression dead and buried forever.
God was viewing my depression as “dead.” He needed to train me (to renew my mind) to see it as “dead” also. As long as I continued to focus on my “dead” depression, I actually was making it come “alive” in my mind. No wonder my Christian life was failing. No wonder depression overwhelmed me. I was looking at “dead” things that God was not looking at. God cannot lead one to victory who continues to focus on “dead” things. A “dead” corpse does not need help. A “dead” corpse needs life – God’s life in it. God looks at life, specifically His life in Jesus. When God sees His born again child, He sees His Son Jesus.
God the Father only saw Jesus in me. I needed to more consistently see the same. I know this is the same problem many hurting and depressed Christians face. Perhaps you are one of them. Fortunately, you know the same victory God worked in me, He can work in you. You only need to rest in Jesus and focus on “Jesus in you.”
I had now begun to realize that the resurrected life of “Jesus in me” was to be my total victory. I needed to learn how to apply “Jesus in me” by faith into my daily life (Galatians 2:20). I was learning to “rest in Jesus.” One thing about the Christian life is that God has made it simple: Everything is summed up and fulfilled in Jesus. As I continued to focus on “Jesus in me” as my solution, it would only be natural to expect victory over depression. It would take time because Jesus needed to deal gently with the deep pains in my heart. I was now crucifying daily the “dead” parts of my life so the life of Christ could grow in me more. It would take time and be very painful. However, that is what crucifixion causes – death. The reward comes afterwards in the joyful experience of the resurrected life of Jesus alive in me.
I have shared my experience with depression to show you where I am at today. The life and love of Jesus has rooted deeper into me. I have experienced victory over depression for the last 15 years. My eyes are focused more consistently on Jesus. I rest in His love. I attempt to permit only His love to motivate every action from my heart.
Jesus is my new life. Today, I literally visualize “Jesus in me.” I attempt to have my heart open to His love. Then, I can be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to stir my heart to what actions to take/or not take for specific situations. I can plan functions, but I cannot plan results. Results are God’s business. I am simply permitting Jesus to live His life through me. I become abundantly blessed by watching Jesus work through me for His glory.
The Christian life is now totally exciting and worth it. All that Jesus has said is true. He has come to give us the fullest, abundant life. He fills the deepest desires of the human heart. He heals every broken heart. The Christian life for me is now pure joy. I not only enjoy life. I LIVE LIFE. Jesus is my life. It is a life to grow deeper in love with Jesus every day. Everything else combined could never be more fulfilling.
I not only enjoy life. I LIVE LIFE. Jesus is my life.
So be encouraged. What Jesus has done for me, He will do the same for you, more than you can ever imagine. He personally loves you so much and only desires you to grow in love with Him.
As you have read in my testimony, Jesus makes God very personal. He touches each individual with the tender, unique touch each one needs. This lies ahead for you.
There are certain “dead” areas in your life that you continue to struggle with. As I personally shared, the same solution (Jesus Christ) is waiting to give you His victory through His death and resurrection. Jesus wants to live His life through you. He is the only one who can. As you then continue to grow in Jesus, you will have victory over the “dead” areas of your life. You will be “dead” to them and “alive” to Jesus.
If you desire Jesus to be your total victory, the first step is to ensure you have given your life to Jesus, that you accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. If you never have, then you must do so immediately. (See the prayer in the Reconsider The Cost section at the end of the book to assist you.)
If you have already given your life to Jesus, then your challenge is to bring Jesus more into the midst of your everyday life. Especially if you are struggling in your Christian walk, you must experience the tender, gentle touch of Jesus. Jesus desires to make your heart more after God’s heart. You have not yet learned how to let Jesus live His life through you. “Do you desire that whomever you encounter only see Jesus in you?” Of course you do. That is why I want to encourage you.
There are “death” areas in your life that Jesus has already crucified. You continue to look more at them than at Jesus. Jesus sees them as “dead.” He desires to renew your mind to see them “dead and buried” in His tomb.
When God the Father sees you, He sees Jesus. This is the second part of renewing your mind that God desires to do. He desires you to see “life” in you, His very life. If the Father only sees Jesus in you, what is keeping you from consistently seeing the same? Remember that God sees as “dead” all your sins, your flesh sin nature, and its consequences. As I had to see my depression as “dead,” so must you see as “dead” these areas of your life that are not part of God.
You will then begin to see Jesus in you more consistently. Jesus does not sit idly by. He will actively move in and take over more areas of your life. He will crucify daily your “dead” areas, carry your cross with you, and give you a deeper awareness of His presence and love (Christ in you). Your experience of Jesus more often on a daily basis will be the most fulfilling experience you will ever encounter. You will fall passionately more in love with Jesus. You will then naturally share Him with others. You simply will now be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in you directing the handling of every situation or person you encounter. You learn to leave the results in Jesus’ hands. That is His business. Sharing Jesus with others becomes the most natural thing to do. Jesus is certainly worth it. Alleluia!