Overcoming Depression

depressed young man sitting on the bench

Depression is a powerful weapon of the enemy. It is effective in deterring and distracting God’s people from reaching their potential and accomplishing the task at hand.  One of the reasons depression is so effective is that often this debilitating illness can not be traced to one incident or one factor.  Certainly significant setbacks and tragedies can be linked to depression, but often Satan prefers it when the hurting have difficulty determining a cause for chronic sadness, for that inhibits the ability to determine a path for remedy.

Perhaps this is why Psalm 40 was written. It is a Psalm of sadness and no one knows when or why it was written. It does not seem to be tied to any particular event. This is interesting as king David’s life is well profiled in Scripture and bible scholars are able to identify what was happening in David’s life when most of his Psalms were written. Psalm 40 is a striking exception—particularly because if notes a profound hurt and an amazing rescue from the pit of despair.

In this teaching based on Psalm 40, I share helps and suggestions regarding how to move through periods of depression even if the causes are not abundantly clear. The are no easy answers or quick fixes, but sure and amazing promises and divine help are available. My prayer is that this teaching will help all to have the sound mind promised in Scripture.

Here is a link to the teaching: DEALING WITH DEPRESSION  

STUDY NOTES FOR TEACHING ON DEALING WITH DEPRESSION

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.    He  lifted me  out of  the slimy  pit,  out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock  and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my  mouth,  a hymn of praise      to our God. Many will see and  fear and put their trust in the LORD.”  Psalm 40:1-3

 

If you are discouraged, know that you are not alone. Others who struggled with depression include:

  • President Lincoln
  • President Wilson
  • Winston Churchill
  • Virginia Wolf
  • Mark Twain
  • Martin Luther
  • Charles Stanley
  • Charles Spurgeon (took months off each year)
    • Moses (NumBERS 10:15)
    • Jonah (Jonah 4:3)
    • Elijah (1 Kings 19:4)
    • 2 Cor. 11:24-28

 

 Promises from God

  • John 10:10 [abundant life]
  • 8:37 [more than victory]
  • Acts 1:8 [new power]
  • “As the Spirit of the Lord works in us, we become more and more like him…” 2 Cor. 3:18b 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:57

 

STEPS TO OVERCOMING:

 Know that discouragement is one of Satan’s favorite weapons

 “…Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said… “But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge.  We even saw giants  there…We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!”   Numbers 13:30-33

 

Don’t allow the fear or doubts of others to discourage you

“Then all the congregation  lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel  grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!”      Numbers 14:1-2

  • Do not give the enemy an opportunity (Eph. 4:17)
  • Do not give the devil a way to defeat you (New Century Bible)

 

Ask God to help you have the right perspective (Cf. Nu. 14:24)  

 “[This] is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are  being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long… So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”  2 Cor. 4:16-18   (NLT)

 

Know where the low points of the wall are   

 I set out during the night with a few men…By night I went out through the Valley Gate …examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire.”      Neh. 2:12-13

  •   Moses became discouraged when he tried to do it all himself
  •   Elijah became discouraged when he had unrealistic expectations
  •   Job: Was tormented by negative  ‘friends’

 

Remember: God desires to help                                                                                                  

Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!”    Psa. 42:5-6a  (NLB)

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord , and I will free you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with mighty power…I will make you my own special people, and I will be your God. And you will know that I am the Lord your God who has rescued you…So Moses told the people what the Lord had said, but they wouldn’t listen… They had become too discouraged by the increasing burden of their slavery.”    Exod. 6:6-9

 

 Moving to break the cycle:                                                                                                    

  • Acknowledge what isn’t working (Luke 5:1-8)
  • Confess (1 John 1:9; James 5:16)
  • Receive God’s grace:  (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:7)
  • Identify the triggers: “Do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:27  
  • Replace the negative with positive: “Do not be overcome by  evil, but  overcome evil with good.”   Romans 12:21 (NKJV) 
  • Establish an accountability and support system: “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed…”   James 5:16
  • Pray and be mindful of God’s great love for you: “Even if we are not    faithful, still he remains faithful…”   2 Timothy 2:13 (NCV) 

 

“Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”   2 Timothy 2:21

 “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love…nothing can separate us from the love of God that      is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”    Romans 8:35-39 (NLT)

  • “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

 

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