Summary: How do I overcome depression? Does my attitude affect my view on life?



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We are going to jump into reading Paul's letter.

Remember, after the story of the planting of the church in Philippi, several years have passed and Paul is now in prison. Now, it's technically house arrest. He's renting his own house (hey, paying for your own prison -- great!).

He's there because he's been lied about by the Jews (see everywhere in Acts), held in jail by a crooked politician hoping to get richer from a bribe to let Paul loose, (Acts 24:22-26), left in prison for a political favor (Acts 24:27), called "Crazy" by the judge of his trial, had to appeal to Caesar... and then was shipwrecked on the way... now he's on house arrest, paying for his own prison, can't move around...

And you read this letter and he uses the word "joy" or "rejoice" 16 times in 4 chapters.

Here's my question:


I am not down on Christians who get depressed, OK? If you do, you're in good company (Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, and more).

But one thing I know to be true is this: JOY in the Christian life is not an ever-springing well that never leaves... it must be fought for, it must be contended for, it must be guarded, it must be cultivated.

And here's what I want to do in this book:

I want to point out to you, Keys to Fighting for Joy. Perspectives, mindset shifts, habits of thought that lead to joy.

Where the mind of man goes, the man follows.

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he..." says proverbs.

I want to say, "how do we fight for joy in a world that is dead set on taking it from us?"

How do we fight for Joy in a country where prosperity has never been greater, and options have never been greater, AND ANTI-DEPRESSANT USAGE HAS NEVER BEEN HIGHER?!

How is this guy not depressed? What's his secret, and what can we learn to help us fight for joy in our life?

Battle for Joy #1: Realizing I'm not alone, and cultivating thankfulness for the people God has made my partners.

1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons[a]:

God's "holy people" - the "saints" (KJV)

I've told you before, but ... You're the saints. Those aren't the super-Christians, they only show in stained glass. It's ALL God's people.

God makes you a Holy One - a saint. Now all that's left is for you to become and behave like what he's made you.

"with the overseers and deacons" There's no church anywhere in the NT that only had one pastor. They had multiple pastors, always.

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

Zig Ziglar

"pray with joy"

There it is... only took four verses...

5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

ALONE. Depressing, discouraging word.

Partnership. Encouraging, uplifting.

I have rarely met a person who was depressed who did not feel alone. Separated. Even in a crowd, they felt like they were the only ones who knew, the only ones who cared.

But I have rarely met a person who was full of joy who felt like they were completely alone.

Paul is thankful for their "partnership in the Gospel." This togetherness has a mission -- we are all on the same side, we want the same thing. We want Jesus to be exalted.

“The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of man. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God’s forgiveness. The psychiatrist views me as if there were no God. The brother views me as I am before the judging and merciful God in the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

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