Summary: Tips to defeat depression. 1. Focus On FACTS Not Feelings 2. Don’t COMPARE Yourself To Others 3. Don’t Exaggerate The NEGATIVE 4. Take Care Of PHYSICAL Needs 5. Take Your PROBLEMS To God 6. Have A Fresh ENCOUNTER With God 7. Get New DIRECTION From God
How To Defeat Depression
Depression is one of the greatest problems in the world today. It has been called the common cold of mental illnesses. Everybody gets depressed at times, but some people are depressed nearly all the time. Even people in the Bible got depressed – Elijah is an example.
Elijah was a tremendous spokesman for God. For three years he had been God’s mouthpiece to the nation of Israel. All kinds of miracles had taken place through him and there was a great spiritual awakening in Israel because of his ministry.
But one person that did not like Elijah was Jezebel. She was the Queen of Israel and she was a very wicked woman. Jezebel hated Elijah – partly because he had so much influence over the people and also because he had challenged 450 prophets of Baal and won. Jezebel’s husband, King Ahab, told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and this made her extremely angry. Let’s pick up the story at that point:
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." And Elijah was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 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." 1 Kings 19:1-4 (NASB)
Elijah was a prime candidate for depression. He was physically tired – he was emotionally exhausted – he was disappointed how things had turned out and now Jezebel threatened his life. He was an emotional wreck with all kinds of emotional problems – fear, resentment, guilt, anger, loneliness, and worry. He was human with all kinds of human emotions and he became depressed. Elijah was so depressed that he was ready to die. In fact he had asked God to take his life.
Why did Elijah get depressed? Because he had faulty thinking. Did you know that emotions are controlled by our thinking? If we think something is bad – we become sad. If we think something is fun – be become happy. The fact is that our emotions are controlled by our thoughts. The Bible says:
“For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7a
If you think in a negative way – you’re going to feel depressed. Your emotions are caused by how you interpret life. That’s one of the reasons the Bible says:
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NASB)
Today as we look at defeating depression I want to give you seven tips that will help you defeat depression. The first tip is:
1. Don’t Focus On Feelings – Focus On FACTS
Why did Elijah get depressed? Because he allowed his emotions to overpower his mind. Jezebel threatens his life. What does he do? Verse three tells us:
“And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life.”
1 Kings 19:3a (NASB)
Was the threat real? No doubt. Would Jezebel have killed Elijah – maybe. We will never know will we? But here is something that we do know. Elijah stood up to the 450 prophets of Baal. He let them build an altar to their god. He let them pray. He let them plead. He let them do everything in their power to show that Baal was real – and what happened – NOTHING! Absolutely nothing! Baal did not answer them.
And then do you know what Elijah did? He built an alter to the Lord. He dug a trench around the altar. He put wood on the altar. He laid an offering on the altar. Then he took water and poured on the altar. He wanted to make sure it was good and wet. But then he did it again. And then he did it a third time – it was really wet – in fact it was so wet that the trench was full of water. Then Elijah prayed and the fire of the Lord came down and consumed the wood that was on the altar. It consumed the offering that was on the altar. It consumed all the water that had been poured on the altar – even the water that was in the trench. But that’s not all the Lord’s fire consumed the altar itself – all the rocks and even the dust. That’s what happened when Elijah prayed. He proved that God is real – he proved that God is powerful – he proved that God is almighty. He did not run from the prophets of Baal – he stood up to them.