Summary: Using Neil Anderson’s book "Overcoming Depression" to help gain victory over the spiritual and emotional battle of depression.
We are concluding our series “Victory in Jesus” this week, I am actually cutting the series short because Mother’s Day is next week. I didn’t think we would want to be studying depression on Mother’s Day. Our series has focused on God’s promise that through Jesus we have victory over sin and the power of evil. We are truly given freedom through Jesus Christ. However the Bible also recognizes the reality that even though we have already been given victory we still struggle with temptation and desires of the flesh, and evil still creeps into our life. We began our series by exploring the cause for this is the battle going on in our mind, our thoughts, we need to change our programming to reflect the truth of God’s Word. In order to achieve victory over sin and evil we must allow God to help us gain control over what we think. As Paul tells us, we should “set our minds on things above”. We set our minds on God, and his truth. The more we focus on our relationship with God and accept the truth of his promises, our minds get filled with more of Him and we find that we gain victory over temptation and sin because those attacks don’t even make it into our thoughts.
This week we are looking at the last and probably the toughest of the areas to achieve victory over because it is such a complex problem, and that is depression. I am going to preface this sermon by stating that I am not a psychologist, therefore I am not an expert in depression but I do believe God’s Word can help us address ways to achieve victory in this area.
The reason we are addressing depression is because it has become such a major issues in our country, right now about 10 million people are suffering with depression. “Approximately 19 million people in America (about 10 percent of all adults) will suffer from depression in any given year. Only one-third of those people will seek treatment for their depression.” In other words 2/3 of all people with depression either don’t know they have it, are in denial about having it, or know they have it and choose to deal with it on their own. Even Christians struggle with depression, but we try to put on a good face at church because we are afraid people will judge us as being less than Christian. The truth is just about every person will go through a period of depression (however long or short) at some point in their life, whether you are Christian or not.
To define depression is as difficult as describing love. It’s difficult to explain, but you know it when you see it. Since many of us may not understand depression, let me begin by sharing some of the most common symptoms of depression.
Symptoms of depression:
1. Loss of energy, you just don’t feel like doing anything, you feel excessively fatigued.
2. Trouble sleeping – even though you are tired you just can’t seem to fall asleep at night. This typically compounds the problem with depression because without sleep you become even more tired.
3. Decreased activity level – because of a loss of energy and sleep you don’t get involved in the activities you used to, even the ones you enjoyed.
4. Physical aches and pains – headaches which feel like a band around your head with pain radiated down the neck, stomach aches, lower-back pain.
5. Loss of appetite – can be combined with indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea.
6. Lack of sex drive – included with this is a need for isolation, feelings of worthlessness, criticism of one’s appearance, loss of spontaneity, and apathy.
1. Sadness – you constantly have the blue, frequently accompanied by crying
2. Despair – suffer from a lack of hope. Can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Worry about tomorrow.
3. Irritability and low tolerance level
4. Isolation and withdrawal – tend to pull away from others and don’t want to be a wet blanket for others.
5. Negative thoughts – feel like a failure, have trouble concentrating and staying focused,
6. Thoughts of suicide – because they see themselves as helpless and their situation as hopeless depressed people start seeing suicide as a way of escape.
Sources of Depression
Where does depression come from? Many experts point to the biological reasons, without getting into brain chemistry basically what is happening is that the electrical signals aren’t all getting through. Others add that genetics plays a factor. If you have a family member who deals with depression, particularly manic depression or bipolar, you are more likely to inherit it. However researchers are also discovering that along with biological reasons there are increasingly aware that depression is also connected to our cognitive functions (which is what we think). So what we think actually affects our body. For example, if you get a stomach ulcer what is likely the cause? It is either all those hot peppers you keep eating, or it is more likely worry. It is what we are thinking. But last week we looked at what causes the worry or anxiety, is largely what we believe about God. Do we trust God to have this situation under control? When we worry it reveals something about what we believe, or fail to believe about God. Our belief affects what we think, and what we think, affects our body. Depression involves not just our body, but our mind (thoughts) and our soul (beliefs).