Christians who are experiencing depression MUST be handled very gently & tenderly.
I know this blog is going to help many. I pray God will use it to help countless more.
I will be transparent in sharing some of the depths I experienced when walking through life with severe depression and a broken heart. Too many Christians want the victory without going through the painful walk of dying to self daily. I sure did not want to, but since I trusted God for everything, I knew I had to.
Fortunately, I now have the Victory Over Depression since 1996. Jesus in me grows more than ever every day.
Growing up through adolescence, I was not aware that I had such a poor self-image that it grew me right into depression. I wanted so much for people to accept me. I sought peer pressure approval often.
When one does not realize he has a broken heart, he unsuspectingly covers it up as he goes through life. If it is not dealt with, one day the broken heart will explode, usually like a pressure cooker.
God wants to help deal with the internal issues, heal the broken heart, and come take up residence in the person. This is what occurred to me. Being an adolescent in an adult body, I was not prepared for the challenges and seriousness of adulthood. My inside exploded (figuratively) like a pressure cooker.
Some of my depression symptoms were:
Fortunately on April 1, 1979, after searching and trying many things to get rid of the depression, God touched my heart. I will not go into details, but to say that God filled my deepest needs and gave me hope and a reason to live. I knew God now loved me unconditionally and was living in me. I was amazed that now I was enjoying life more every day.
The next few years grew me more in love with God. It was like nothing bothered me anymore. I was growing more in love with Jesus everyday and enjoyed reading the Bible (the Word of God) everyday. I was maturing as a Christian and proud of it. I memorized Bible verses and was actively involved in leading ministries.
A few years later, I was to learn the maturity I saw in me was just another facade to cover my broken heart. The maturity I stated in the previous paragraph was absent of the necessary growth through the road of Calvary, suffering, pruning, refining in the fire, etc. (Unfortunately, many Christians do the same thing. They think this is maturity, but is the opposite. God will elevate many and use them mightily, but one must go through the road of the cross for real maturity.)
I wanted to draw closer to Jesus and He was now ready to take me through some of my darkest days as a Christian. Before I knew what happened, all the depression symptoms came back. I could not understand it. As much as I rebuked the devil, prayed more, and quoted Scirpture, the depression overwhelmed me again. It made no sense. The depression was a vicious cycle the next couple of years. All those symptoms I previously stated were back and controlling me.
The deep pain in my heart was being torn open like never before. I could not understand why.
I knew God loved me. So the problem had to be with me and my thinking. No Christian understood the deep pain I was experiencing. They acted more like Job’s friends than a friend of Jesus. I felt more condemned and judged than relieved and comforted. (Sadly this occurs often in the Church of Jesus Christ. Instead many suffering with broken hearts choose to suffer silently.)
This was the painful road of maturity God was taking me through – the road of the cross, of suffering, to die daily to self, to be refined in the fire, to be pruned. Fortunately, with an open, honest heart, God showed me the answer.
The answer is CHRIST IN YOU. God was working on clearing out all the garbage of my broken heart so that all I could see was CHRIST IN ME. I was learning that God the Father ONLY sees His Son Jesus in me.
God healed my broken heart by giving me a brand new heart- the very heart of God Himself in Jesus Christ.
No wonder depression overwhelmed me. I kept looking at my broken heart and depression – what Jesus had already crucified and buried. God cannot help one who constantly looks at dead things. This was the victory I needed to see. I know it is the truth many need to see.
God cannot help one who constantly looks at dead things.
I quickly realized that it was Jesus in me living His life through me. When people see me, they are to see ONLY Jesus in me. That is the simplicity of the Christian life – Jesus in you living His life through you.
I began consistently having the daily victory. The joy came back. Every day for the last 18 years (even despite setbacks) I have been enjoying life to the fullest. Only because Jesus as God resides in me.
Today I learn to simply rest in Jesus and let Him live His life through me. I pray you see the same & learn to focus on Jesus in you for your healing and victory.
In His love and Grace,
Christ in you,
PS: God now trusts me with a Victory Over Depression ministry to simply point people to Him. I have developed a teaching presentation for any church, ministry, or group that may be interested. Let me know if anyone may be interested. Thanks all.
My experience having depression, helping others, and observing how others (including Christians) help those who currently have depression have given me invaluable insight in dealing with depression.
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.
It’s unfortunate that countless Christians are limiting their enjoyment in the Christian life. They struggle in certain areas. They also can become so focused on doing everything right as a Christian that the miss the simple joy of living as a Christian. Then they usually become arrogant, self-righteous, and burnout trying to be the “perfect little Christian”.
They are missing the significant, daily experience of CHRIST IN YOU. (I was one of these for almost 20 years as a Christian struggling with severe depression.)
I will be emphasizing the significance of understanding “Law and Grace”. It will assist you in enjoying daily your Christian life. The motivation of either law or grace shall either lead you into legalistic bondage (law) or enjoyable freedom (grace).
The central focus must always be CHRIST IN YOU living the Christian life through you.
The Scriptures we are looking at focus on giving. You should immediately see the significant difference between “Law and Grace”.
II Corinthians 9:6-8 “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man accirding as he purposeful in his heart, do let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always have all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
God loves a cheerful giver, not one who gives grudgingly or under compulsion. We give to God because we want to (grace), not because we feel we have to or are obligated to (law).
“Law and Grace” always and only depends on the motives of the heart. I love Jesus so much that I easily trust Him. God always shows me how faithful He is.
Therefore, it is a joy to give my finances, my time, my services, etc to the Lord – all because I want to (grace), not because I have to (law).
See how easy it is to distinguish between “Law and Grace”. It all depends on the motives of one’s heart as to how to live the Christian life. The successful way is letting Jesus live the Christian life through you. The Father only qualifies Jesus to be the Christian in you.
Under Law – I must. I have to.
Under Grace – I want to. I desire to.
Here one sees that Christ was the rock in the desert that the Israelites drank from. It is essential to briefly look at the Old Testament Scriptures, which state the drinking from the rock, so we can understand the spiritual significance. It is critical and invaluable to see why God was not pleased with most of them.
REMEMBER: As you read, the rock spiritually symbolizes Christ.
There were two incidents in the exodus journey when God told Moses to draw water from the rock. The first time occurred immediately upon the completion of the passage through the Red Sea. Exodus 17:1-7 – “…and pitched in Rephidim; and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? Wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?
“And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? … And the Lord said unto Moses,…. Behold, I will stand before thee upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
This event correlates with the believer’s initial moment of salvation. As the Israelites were baptized into Moses in the Red Sea, so is the believer baptized into Christ in His death on Calvary (Romans 6:2-5). This is the passage into a new life.
God instructed Moses to strike the rock.Striking the rock represents the Crucified Christ, who was bruised for our iniquities from the physical abuse of the Roman guards and the verbal and physical abuse of the religious leaders of Israel. Spiritually, all our sins bruised and crucified Him.
The second time this event repeated 38 years later in the desert of Zin. Numbers 20:2-13 – “And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? …And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and SPEAK YE UNTO THE ROCK before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts to drink….
Moses lifted up his hand, and with his handHE SMOTE THE ROCK TWICE: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also….”
It was near the end of the 40 years. This time God instructed Moses to speak to the rock. Yet, Moses did not speak, but struck the rock twice. God did not instruct him to strike it, but to speak to it. The spiritual significance is ‘to speak to the rock’. Jesus (the rock) is the Living Word of God. When a believer speaks the word, rivers of living water will naturally flow from the heart. John 7:37-38 – “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him com unto me, and drink. He that believeth on Me. As the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”.
The speaking to the rock represents the Resurrected Christ. Moses did not see nor believe this. He struck the rock, still seeing it as the crucified Christ. In other words, he left Christ on the cross. As a result, his unbelief in the Resurrected Christ kept him from entering Canaan, the true rest in the love of God. Water did come out abundantly when he struck the rock twice.
However, it was only sustaining water, not satisfying. Why? Because they were still living in the wilderness. Water in the wilderness only sustains the carnal Christian to hang in there, to give his best of self-effort for Jesus. Water in the land (Canaan) totally satisfies the Christian who has entered because he enters into the rest and love of Christ. He rests from all His self-effort. His rest now becomes the activity of Christ through him. It is an active rest in His activity, far from a passive rest.
Christ in not on the cross today. He is risen, resurrected, and residing in all believers. By speaking the word, Christ will live the Christian life through the believer; because only Christ can live the Christian life. It is not difficult to grasp this invaluable, spiritual truth.
Viewing this from Moses’ approach, he only lived ½ a gospel by leaving Christ on the cross. He had the faith to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt; but not the faith to lead them into Canaan. The sad point is it is the same faith. No job is ever too big for God.
By living only ½ a gospel, Moses did only ½ a job. That was Moses’ error. However, the full, true gospel is the finished work of the death AND resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Moses died at a young age (Deuteronomy 34:7 – “… he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated”). What a sad end to a young life! Moses died young and was buried in the desert, on the wrong side of Jordan. He missed the full love and joy of resting in God.
How about you, brethren? Are you only living ½ a gospel?
By striking the rock, Moses struggled through his own self-effort to produce the resurrected Christian life. Moses here represents the carnal Christian, the redeemed Christian who, unfortunately, does his best for God through his own self-effort. Like the children of Israel living in the wilderness, the carnal Christian only walks in circles with his only mindset being the crucified Christ. He always ‘confesses and repents’ the same sin(s) – even if they are only thoughts. He answers every altar call laying the sins on the altar (the crucified Christ), but has absolutely no strength to overcome these same sins. There is no resurrection power of Christ flowing from him, no evidence of the indwelling Christ. He lives only ½ a gospel – the crucified Christ.
The only result is life in the wilderness – dumped in the desert. How exciting! (Forgive my sarcasm.) What a very sad place to live! I confidently say this from my own personal experience of life in the wilderness. The wilderness is the only place for the carnal Christian to live – dumped in the desert. He will die there also, just like Moses, unless he permits the Holy Spirit to show him and teach him the full gospel – the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then he will truly enter the land and rest in the love and grace of God. This is ordained by God to be the normal Christian life, as God created man to live.
Unfortunately, too many Christians neglect this & drown themselves in ministry instead. They then become burnt out, stressed, arrogant, judgmental, self-righteous, and/or depressed.
Then the question occurs, “What went wrong?”
Learn this lesson well & take it from one who lived this error for many years. Top priority is developing our relationship with Jesus.
Ministry is replaceable.
Your relationship with Jesus is NOT replaceable.
If intimate fellowship with Jesus is not your top priority, you are guaranteed to have your trials get the better of you. They will control you. I encourage you to seek God intimately and see CHRIST IN YOU as your REST IN HIM.
We see this exemplified in the gospel of Luke with the story of Martha and Mary. Notice how Jesus sets the correct priority between the solitary, rest life of loving God and the public life of ministry – loving and serving God in Luke 10:38-42.
Observe closely what Jesus calls the most important. Now as they were traveling along, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
A Call To Ministry, like Martha is doing, is important, but never at the expense of ministering unto the Lord in solitude, of resting in Jesus. As Jesus talks to Martha, we see Him laying a foundation of the importance of listening, resting first – just like Mary did. Mary was doing what Jesus said was the most important thing to do. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to every word coming from the mouth of Jesus. That’s what we do in silence and rest when Jesus speaks to us through His Word.
It is wise not to neglect The Call To Restat the expense of The Call To Ministry.
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.
The answer, which I can testify personally to, is that they do not, for whatever reason, let Jesus live His life through them.
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 amplify this further in my book Dead, Buried, And A New Life In Christ.
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 18 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.
It’s unfortunate that many in the Body of Christ believe that a Christian should never be depressed. This Is a lie from the pit of hell and must be exposed as such.
Reality clearly shows that Christians do suffer depression. Some have it a very extreme. (I am one of them, who had depression for over three .) It’s necessary for Christians to know the proper way to minister God’s love to their hurting brethren. This is why I’ve written this blog.
One does not wake up one day and have depression. One grows into depression (often over a long period of time). One, then, needs to grow out of depression. The deep pain one experiences needs to be handled gently and with care. Being sensitive and compassionate is a must for proper care and handling.
One suffering depression is very fragile and can easily crack. There are certain things not to say to a Christian suffering depression. It’s vital to know these and to avoid using them.
Here are a few words spoken from a Christian suffering depression.:
– I don’t need to keep hearing Romans 8: 28 quoted to me.
– I know God will be glorified through this, but I need help NOW.
– I need help to function TODAY.
– I need support, understanding, and prayer from my brethren.
– I don’t need condemning or insensitive remarks from my brethren.
– Since my mental state is very weak, that’s why I need the prayer, support, and understanding.
– I don’t need condemning and insensitive comments.
– Our hearts are hurting and deeply broken. They need time to heal.
– We don’t need comments in the Christian lingo that leave us feeling more ashamed, guilty, or condemned.
(This includes words like Where’s your faith? Get over it. You need to pray more. You need to read your Bible more. What’s your secret sin? What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it. Rebuke the devil.)
These type of comments can be helpful in the right context. However, when ministering to Christians suffering depression, they are definitely the wrong context.
When ministering, you don’t want to become like Job’s friends. They eventually condemned Job as the cause of the death of his ten children, his business failures, and his sicknesses.
Instead, you want to share the love of Jesus with them. Ways to shate can include a loving arm, a hug, a shoulder to cry on, zipped lips, a prayer, and being there without a word being said.
Remember that it’s CHRIST IN YOU doing His work through you to reach those suffering depression. Rest in His love and be heart-sensitive to those suffering around you.
Jesus wants to touch many broken hearts through you. Focus on CHRIST IN YOU. Let the Light and Love of CHRIST IN YOU shine forth to a hurting, sin-sick world.