Summary: This sermon cofronts the issue of Depression in our churches and compares Elijah to many of our people.
For many years the church across the world has not dealt with some issues very well. One of those issues is depression.
I have heard it said and maybe you, too, that Depression:
- Is demon possession
- God’s punishment for sin
- Caused by a lack of faith
- God’s face turned against you
Depression affects everyone. Men, women, rich and poor, famous and successful; all are affected by it.
Over ninety-five percent of even the severely depressed can be totally cured if the condition is identified early enough.
Depression in itself is not sin. It is a symptom of something disturbing the balance in your life. There are many causes for depression. The cause may be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual
Even some of our great preachers of the past have dealt with severe depression: D.L. Moody, Adam Clarke, Moses, David, Solomon and the prophet Elijah.
I want to talk about The Prophet Elijah this morning. He had the perfect setting for a bad case of depression.
- He had been working for the Lord relentlessly and without rest. (workaholic)
- He had been running from King Ahab for 3 ½ years. (fugitive)
- He had seen God at work in his life in extraordinary ways (Pentecostal)
- He was there to see God send fire down from Heaven
- He was responsible for 850 false prophets being killed
- He out ran the Kings horses and chariots to the city of Jezreel a distance of over 30 miles (marathon runner)
- He was tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually (this prophet is worn out.)
** Sometimes we get worn out too. That is the perfect setting for depression to set in.
To top it all off, the King’s wife wanted his head on a silver platter…
"Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time" (1 Kings 19:1-2).
This was not a veiled threat, or a little paranoia at work in the tired prophet’s mind. This threat from Jezebel was real and unimagined.
He became a broken prophet (19:3-4).
- The reaction of Elijah takes us a little by surprise. After all that God has just done in his life, we don’t expect this to happen to our prophet.
- It is amazing how God does great things in our lives but then one person who knows the right button to push can set off a panic attack in us and we forget God’s presence.
- Do you know someone who responds this way? Do you have someone in your life that knows your vulnerable spot and can set it off in the drop of a hat?
- Elijah came to the end of himself. He couldn’t take anymore of the pressure. He told the LORD, "It is enough!" Elijah prayed to die. "But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers" (v. 4).
Have you ever been so emotionally exhausted that you just wanted to lie down and die? If so, you can identity with Elijah and many more people today.
Symptoms of depression.
1. A depressed person has feelings of hopelessness, despair, sadness and apathy. It is a feeling of overall gloom. A paralysis of the will sets in, and there is a movement toward personal deadness.
2. The depressed person loses perspective on life, work, family and friends.
3. The depressed person experiences changes in his physical activities
4. The depressed person has a general loss of self-esteem. He feels less and less positive about himself and questions his own personal worth. His self–confidence is very low.
5. There is a withdrawal from others because of fear of being rejected.
6. The depressed person’s withdrawal brings on some rejection by others. They cancel favorite activities, fail to return phone calls, and seek ways to avoid talking with or seeing other people.
7. The depressed person seeks to escape from problems and even from life itself. Thoughts of leaving home, running away or avoiding others is common. They feel life is hopeless and worthless. Therefore, suicidal thoughts are common.
8. The depressed person is overly sensitive to what others say and do. He/She may misinterpret actions and comments in a negative way and become upset because of those mistaken perceptions. The person cries often and is sad.
9. The depressed person has difficulty handling his feelings, especially anger. Anger is particularly difficult since it can be misdirected toward self and others. A sense of worthlessness and lack of knowing how to deal with a situation produces anger at oneself. This can be directed outward at others.