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For many years, when autumn winds brought sweet relief to humid days, and the cool temperatures indicated summer was on it’s way out, I would feel conflicted inside. Fall is my favorite season, but with it, I knew that sadness would surely follow.
Thanksgiving and Christmas often exacerbated the feelings of loneliness and rejection I battled year-round. Holidays came with a mixture of hopefulness and dread. Hopefulness that maybe this year would be magical, full of joy and light, and dread that it would be awful and my heart would be crushed by unmet expectations and drive me deeper into despair.
Can you relate? Please know that if you’re nodding your head in agreement, there is no shame or condemnation for you. Isaiah 42:3 tells us that:
“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench.”
So we know Jesus is not in the business of kicking people when they’re down. But we also know He doesn’t want you to stay in that place of torment.
I’d like to show you a better way. Or as Jesus said, a more excellent way. Things that He has shown me either through others’ ministries, or revelation I have gotten through spending time with Him alone. Things that will help you to not just get through the holidays, but that will be life-giving year round.
How to Overcome Depression Biblically
Here’s how to overcome depression biblically.
This may seem counterintuitive because sometimes the very thinking that allows depression to escalate is focusing on what we don’t have or what isn’t going right in our lives. But taking your eyes off of your situation and beginning to look at all that Jesus has done for you breaks the negative thought patterns that are on repeat in your head. And there is a promise for you that it will yield its own reward. Consider these two verses in conjunction with one another:
“Enter His courts with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” ~Psalm 100:4
“You will show me the path of life;
In your presence is fullness of joy;
At your right hand are pleasures evermore.” ~Psalm 16:11
If we work backwards, we start with the thing we want so desperately: joy in place of the sadness. The kind of joy that is so fulfilling that it washes away the pain we’re feeling. And in order to have that, we must be in His presence. How do we get there? Thanksgiving and praise.
You might be thinking- ok, but that’s temporary. I can’t be in God’s presence 24/7.
Oh really? Keep reading.
Pray without ceasing.
What we need to remember is that God would never tell us to do something, as He does here in 1Thes 5:17, without first equipping us to do it. That would make Him unjust. So the question then becomes, how can we pray without ceasing?
It’s not complicated at all. Talking with the Lord throughout the day is a great habit to get into. There are times when I’m struggling with something, and then I remember that I haven’t included the Holy Spirit to counsel me regarding what’s going on. And He always does! So know that God isn’t expecting you to be kneeling by your bed all day, everyday!
The very first time I experienced this was quite accidentally, when I was about 20 years old. I wasn’t born- again yet, but I had been raised to believe in God and had been seeking Him. During this time I had started a new job, and made the mistake of dating one of my co-workers. I “fell in love” but after a few months he broke it off. And then he and his clique of friends proceeded to be very cruel to me. I didn’t want to quit my job, but the emotional pain was unbearable to my young heart.
One day, out of desperation, I asked God to please help me get through the next hour without thinking about it. After an hour had passed, I realized for the first time that week, I had been able to focus on my job. So I repeated the same prayer, and wouldn’t you know it? He came through again! I remained in constant “radio contact” with Him for the rest of the day and by the time I got home from work, I never wanted to face another situation again without Jesus. Realizing that I didn’t have to, I made Him my Lord and Savior.
Elevate the Word of God Above Your Emotions.
In our own strength, this is impossible. It takes grace to do this. But praise God, we have an abundance of grace that we can get straight from the throne room of Heaven!
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” ~Heb 4:16
Beloved, emotions are fickle and cannot be trusted. I remember one of the very first areas I ever experienced breakthrough in was the day I decided to just agree with what God’s word said. I was going through a very difficult period in my life, and because there were some people that were not ministering grace, but condemnation to me, I very much doubted that God loved me because of how miserable I felt.
I can still remember wanting to leave church and run from God, but digging my fingers into the chair I was sitting in to hold me still. I remember saying, “God, I know you love me, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now!” I would repeat this to myself frequently.
I now know that those emotions and thoughts were the result of a spiritual attack to keep me from growing in the Lord. Because I made the decision to believe God over my emotions, He was able to bring much-needed healing to my heart, and over the years has used me to minister to thousands of people.
Take Every Thought Captive to the Obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
I’ve learned the hard way that ignoring this one never ends well for me. Our thought life is so important. Often, Satan will come to tempt us with a thought. Once it’s presented, we can either take hold of it as truth, or we can take it captive. It could be something as simple as “I can’t handle one more thing going wrong right now!” In that moment, as soon as you realize that thought is contrary to what the bible tells us, taking it captive means you don’t allow it to have access to hang around. Arrest it! Bring it to Jesus so He can handle it. Exchange the lie for His truth and declare it over yourself: I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me! His grace IS sufficient for me!
Truth always brings freedom.
The more quickly I take a thought captive, the less damage it can inflict on my thinking. If you’re not used to doing this, it may take a little time to start catching those thoughts at the onset of a spiritual attack. And if you aren’t too familiar with what God has actually said in His Word, I highly encourage you to spend some time nourishing your soul with the truth. And if you ask the Holy Spirit to help you with this, I promise you, He will make you sensitive in this area so you can recognize when an attack is starting.
Walk According to the Spirit.
You may have heard this expression, but what does it actually mean? First, let’s look at where this is mentioned in scripture:
“…that the righteous requirement of the law might be both fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” ~ Rom 8:4-6
In his book How to Walk in the Spirit, Pastor and Teacher Dr. Rick McFarland states:
“Here we see that the righteous requirement of the law will be fulfilled IN US, who walk according to the spirit. Notice how Paul says, ‘in us’ not ‘by us.’ The fulfillment of the law is something that happens in us and through us, not by our own effort… to live according to the flesh is to set one’s mind on the things of the flesh. Therefore, according to the scriptural definition, walking in the Spirit is based on a MIND-SET! This is what it means to be spiritual. Someone who is spiritual sets their mind on the things of the Spirit. Someone who is carnal sets their mind on the things of the flesh. Spirituality and carnality are both a MIND-SET!
What does it mean to set your mind on the things of the Spirit? It means that you set your mind and focus on the spirit realm and what is true there. There is more to existence than just the physical world we see. Everything we see in the natural realm comes from the spirit realm. There is another realm more real and unchanging than this one! It is called the spirit realm.
Jesus is seated in Heavenly places next to God the Father. This is true in the spirit realm. This is a good place to set our minds on! Anything that is true of our reborn spirits are “the things of the spirit.” The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is in the spirit realm. It is operating in your reborn spirit right now. You can’t know what is true in the spirit realm by your five physical senses. You must receive revelation of what is in the spirit realm from the word of God and the Holy Spirit.”
One scripture the Holy Spirit has used to give me revelation of what is in the spirit realm is
1 John 4:17: Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.
If I am a born-again believer, then whatever is true of Jesus, is true of me. Jesus is righteous, so I am righteous. Jesus is pleasing to the Father, so I am pleasing to the Father. Jesus is victorious, so I am victorious. You get the idea!
Look at Jesus.
Nothing quite compares to looking into the face of the One who loves you unconditionally and died for you. Let Him comfort you and love on you. But a word of caution: be careful about asking Him to show you how much He loves you. There are times when He will do something special, just for you, but when we start needing that to stay in a place of faith, then we have devalued the Cross. Jesus Himself said that it is a wicked generation that seeks after signs and wonders.
However, spending time with Him in worship and reading the bible will allow the Holy Spirit to bring revelation of who He is, and how much He loves you.
There was a time in my life that depression held me hostage, and threatened to steal my future. Today, I stand on the victory that Jesus won for me when He paid for my sin. Sometimes Satan tries to convince me otherwise, but I am getting better all the time at looking my enemy in the eye and laughing as he blinks first, slithering back underneath the rock he crawled out from. The battle has been won by Jesus and the victory is already mine. I’m just enforcing it with the authority given to me by Jesus Himself. You can, too, Beloved.
Author Bio: Jenny Constantine is a conservative copywriter championing small business owners, non-profits, and political candidates who support Judeo-Christian values. Check out her website at: www.constantinecopywriting.com