How Can A Christian Overcome Depression
Depression is so real and it is a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in daily life activities. Depression can lead to a range of physiological and behavioural issues. Overeating, oversleeping, sadness, bitterness, tiredness/laziness etc.
Depression is not gender based nor religion based. It is not race based either. Depression can happen to anyone. Whether Christian or Muslim or a Pagan. Once you begin to feel a persistent feeling of sadness or a loss of interest for you daily life activities, you are beginning to get depressed.
But as Christians, should we suffer same fate as everyone? If at all we suffer same fate as unbelievers alike, is there a way out for us? Since Christians also suffer depression, how then can a Christian overcome depression? Let us consider the following ways by which a Christian can overcome depression
How Can A Christian Overcome Depression
1) Rejoice in the Lord always :Philippians 4:4
A Christian must deliberately choose to find joy in the Lord always. You must be deliberate about rejoicing in the Lord. Whether good or bad, you must choose to stay joyful. In this world, Jesus told us that we will have many troubles. This means we are not exempted from the troubles of life just because we are Christians but because He is our Father, He always makes a way of escape for us. And one of those ways of escape from depression that he has provided for us is to always be glad and rejoice in him. This could be difficult in the face of seemingly battles but you must ask the Lord to help you. Joy is a fetcher. It fetches you peace. It fetches you assurance in God. It fetches you faith, hope and trust in God. A joyful person is a threat to the devil. A joyful person keeps the enemy at bay with all his negative emotions. Joy confuses the devil and his cohorts. Joy renders the devil useless. So regardless of the situation around, choose joy deliberately. Be happy. Don’t soak into sorrow.
2) Focus on Jesus and not on the situation : Hebrews 12:12
Focusing on our circumstances keeps us further down, depressed and makes us eventually lose our joy .To overcome depression, a Christian must try to focus on Jesus rather than on the problem. When our minds are fixed on the problem, sadness and every negative feeling increases because our eyes are off the One who can fix the situation and the One who gives joy despite the situation. The more our eyes drawn away from the solution which is Christ, the more we sink into depression. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the solution to every problem, the situation becomes small and it gets smaller till it is no longer in existence. Jesus is the solution to everything. We must learn to ficus our minds and eyes in Jesus rather than on the situation. Remember Peter when Jesus asked him to walk on water. He stated out fine but the moment he lost focus on Jesus and began to focus on the water, he began to sink because focus on the water made him lose faith on the way one who invited him in the first place. This is just to tell us that as Christians, we are better off overcoming depression when we fix our gaze on Jesus rather than on the problem.
3) Ask the Holy Spirit for help: John 14:26
When Jesus was leaving, He said he would send us the Holy Spirit who shall guide us, comfort us, succour us and who shall bring all things to our remembrance. Since Jesus left, the Holy Spirit has been in the business of offering comfort to those who are in need of it. The Holy Spirit is ever willing to succour and comfort us just when we need it. A depressed Christian should ask the Holy Spirit for help as he is ever willing and ready to be our peace and comfort regardless of the storm. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian can never be overemphasized. We must therefore engage him at all times to overcome depression.
4) Do not forsake the presence of God: Psalm 16:11
This is one of the effective ways of overcoming depression as a Christian. You remember that the Bible says that there is Joy in the presence of the Lord. The presence of God revitalizes you. It energizes you. It revives you and renews you. When depressed is not the time to forsake fellowship with God. It may be hard and tough to want to fellowship with God. You may lack the zeal and passion to want to commune with God at that time but remember that is the only place you can find lasting joy, hope, peace and reassurance for your soul.
There is grace for us when we are able to come boldly before the throne of mercy to aid our souls in times like these. The devil knows that the believers secret is in his fellowship with God. He knows that is where he draws strength, joy ,peace, hope and reassurance for his soul when he is down. So once the devil can get a believer to lost touch with God by fellowshipping with Him, he would have full access to keep you further down in depression. You must by all means be in charge of your fellowship with God so that you can wade the devil and all his negative emotions far from you.
5) Do not forsake the assembly of other believers : Hebrews 10:25
To overcome depression as a believer you should try to keep fellowshipping with other believers. Remember we were encouraged in the scripture not to forsake the assembly of the saints. Go to church. Join in serving the Lord. Sing with other believers. Study the word together. Listen to messages. Join your faith with that of others. Don’t be weary. The devil may try to make you stay out of fellowship with other believers but do not give in to his wiles and caprices. The scripture says “Iron sharpeneth iron”. When you fellowship with other believers, you feel refreshed and renewed and awakened again. Don’t allow the devil push you out of fellowship with God and other Christians.
6) Talk to someone or seek counsel: Proverbs 11:14
When you are depressed, talk to someone. Don’t bottle up everything with you alone. Talk to a family member. Talk to a friend. Talk to your Pastor. Talk to anyone you know you can share how burdens with. Let them know what is going on with you and how they can be of help. Don’t shut people out of your life but rather involve one or two of them that you know can help lift up your spirit. If you know the exact cause of your depression, then you can seek counsel as well concerning it. Speak up. Bottling things in your mind will cause more harm than good.
7) Put away or stay away from possible causes of depression: Hebrews 12:12
If you know the possible causes of your depression, for instance, the bad news flying here and there all over the world, from rape to murders, to war, to inflation, to kidnapping etc, you can decide to avoid listening to or hearing such news. Keep your mental health safe. Watch what you read, what you hear and the social media sites or pages that you read from. Don’t open your heart and mind to everything you hear. Don’t pay attention to all the bad news flying here and there. Protect your eyes, your ears and your mind.
8) Study the word of God: Psalm 119:105
Depression also sets in when we lose touch with our realities from the perspective of the scripture. Though we are in the world, our realities are different from that of the world and our realities are in the scripture and not in the news that we read. So, rather than spend time checking the news and being weighed down by it, believers should spend time studying the word of God and aligning themselves with what the scriptures says concerning them. We must keep touch with the mind of God towards our lives and all that concerns us. To do this, we must daily check the word of God and draw strength from it. The word of God should be a guide and a light unto us every moment of us lives. This is how we can overcome depression as Christians.
9) Listen and sing songs: Psalm 89:1
Christian songs can be very uplifting. Even when you cannot pray or read the scriptures, you can just sing or listen to some soul uplifting songs. Hymns can be very powerful in times like these. If you have an hymn book you can sing from there. Hymns are filled with powerful messages for every situation. Whether you are discouraged spiritually, physically, mentally and so on, you will definitely find hymns that will suffice for every situation that you are in. Sing and sing and sing till your soul is lifted.
Our present world with all the happenings around can leave one very depressed whether you are a Christian or not. From the news, we find very depressing stories all around us. Now, with the advent of social media, we are all closer to more depressing news than we have ever been. This makes it so easy for everyone and anyone to fall into depression.
As believers we must take solace in God and our faith in Him. We must also do well to focus more on him than all that we have happening around us.
Personally, we too may from time to time have challenges that gets us depressed. Rather than stay down, we must choose to rise above all those discouragement and embrace the promises of God. We must not get tired of believing in God’s promises towards us and all that concerns us.
Stay joyful, stay prayerful, remain and abide in Christ, keep your eyes off what the enemy is doing, choose what you hear, see and internalize, and continue to trust God’s words for your life.