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Summary: Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy. The Holy Spirit amplifies His nearness and comforting powers to us, when we are feeling depressed. David wrote, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves tho

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Spiritual Solutions for Depression

Quote: Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.

Tim Hansel

Psalm 34:18

Illustration: Many are suffering from emotional stress that often times leads to depression. Jim Varney who played Earnest T ("know what I mean") in many movies suffered untold pain and misery until he consented to clinical depression medication, but still struggled to overcome deep feelings of sadness all his life. If he would have found the spiritual solutions to depression, perhaps he would not have sought solutions in smoking and other vices that led to his death from cancer at the young age of fifty.

The following are ten spiritual guidelines for overcoming and dealing with depression:

1. The Holy Spirit amplifies His nearness and comforting powers to us, when we are feeling depressed. David wrote, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psa. 34:18) Ask the Lord to help you feel His uplifting power as He rescues you from all kinds of depressed feelings, discouragement or burdens.

2. The Holy Spirit shields us from taking set backs too personally. David wrote, "But you are a shield around me O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill." (Psa. 3:3,4) Ask the Lord to help you look to Him when you are tempted to take insults, opposition or criticisms personally.

3. The Holy Spirit gives us relief from our feelings of distress. David wrote, "Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer." (Psa. 4:1) Ask the Lord to alleviate and deliver you from all kinds of emotional, mental and physical pain.

4. The Holy Spirit gives us an increased sense of hope when we are feeling sad. David wrote, "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall praise Him. The help of my countenance and my God." Ask the Lord to help you pray and speak in a positive way that affirms your faith and hope in His deliverance.

5. The Holy Spirit helps us shift our focus away from our troubles and on to God’s power, promises and purposes. Jesus said, "They hated me without reason. But, when the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." (John 15:26,27) Ask the Lord to help you become so involved with ministering in Jesus name that you are not tempted to focus on your troubles.

6. The Holy Spirit knows how to help every person adapt and experience victory in their circumstances. Jesus said, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me. Going a little farther he fell with his face to the ground and prayed. ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matt. 26:37-42) Ask the Lord to help you adapt and overcome any sadness, hardship or opposition with a willingness to do all of God’s will.

7. The Holy Spirit reminds us of the way He delivered Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, from depression. Jeremiah was a man given to introspective self-analysis and negative questioning about the suffering he saw. He never married and did not enjoy the support of his family, therefore, most people thought he had something wrong with him. Jeremiah’s primary ministry was to speak as a prophet to people who were rebellious, indifferent, and disobedient to God. Being a timid man, he experienced numerous bouts of depression, feelings of rejection and harsh ridicule. All of this added to the fact that he lived at a time when Israel’s enemies continually oppressed all of the Jews. Still, he was faithful to deliver God’s words of judgment to the people of Israel despite fierce opposition. He saw God as the all powerful one for whom nothing was too difficult. Ask the Lord to help you avoid measuring your success in social, cultural, or any human terms. Ask the Lord to help you follow the example of Jeremiah when he listened to God say to Him, "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jer. 32:27)

8. The Holy Spirit helps us imitate Godly people who triumphed over their times of despair. Paul wrote, "Through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters, known yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything." (2 Cor. 6:8-10) Ask the Lord to help you look at life’s difficulties more from the eyes of former Godly heroes of the faith. Paul’s response to hardships shows us how God’s strength transforms the Godly into great examples of how every believer can experience joy in the midst of many discouraging circumstances.

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