August 29, 2018- Dealing with Depression from a Biblical Worldview: Part 1

Pastor committing suicide in California: A man who had a large church, a wife and 3 kids. He was dealing with depression. He lost his father the year before and never really coped with it. With the added pressures of his position, it was more than he could bear.

 

What is depression?       American Psychiatric Association

·         A common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.

o   It can be debilitating, cause you to have thoughts of hurting yourself, or even worse.

Symptoms: (Lasting at least 2 weeks)

·         Feeling sad or having a depressed mood

·         Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed

·         Changes in appetite—weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting

·         Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

·         Loss of energy or increased fatigue

·         Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)

·         Feeling worthless or guilty

·         Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions

·         Thoughts of death or suicide

Statistics:

  • Untreated depression is the number one risk for suicide among youth. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds and the fourth leading cause of death in 10 to 14 year olds. Young males age 15 to 24 are at highest risk for suicide, with a ratio of males to females at 7:1. (American Association of Suicidology, 1996)
  • As many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents have clinical depression. (Center for Mental Health Services, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1996)

·         Adults, we are not immune either. Roughly 6.7% of adults have had at least one major depressive episode in a given year

 

So what does one do when they are dealing with depression.

·         For me the biggest thing was trying to isolate myself

o   I cut away from healthy relationships

o   I used drugs as an outlet to try and numb the pain.

o   Felt worthless

o   Thoughts of suicide (attempted it)

·         When you have these thoughts inside an empty room, it’s a lot easier to ignore another person speaking. (We can be afraid to tell someone else about what we are dealing with, especially our parents or loved ones. Then it becomes a battle that you feel like you face alone.       

o   Having these thoughts may make you feel like you are weak, or that God is not with you.

§  Abandonment

§  Doubt

§   Guilty for something:

·          (especially in teenagers or students: parent’s divorce, a loss of boyfriend or girlfriend.

·         Death of a family member

·         Staying in an abusive relationship

·         Hiding some sort of abuse or mental trauma that has occurred to protect someone else.

Identity Issues:

·         When we become a Christian, many of us have heard that everything will be easy. That many of our problems will stop, that temptations will go away.

o   This isn’t necessarily true

o   (John 16:33- I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.)

§  There are many people in scripture that dealt with difficult times

·         Adam and Eve had to deal with being kicked out of the garden, with their son being murdered by his brother

·         Moses had to deal with doubt even when God was speaking to him directly

·         Noah had to deal with 120 years of criticism from those that didn’t believe him. Then, he had to watch as everything around him was destroyed by water.

·         David had to deal with the death of his friend, Johnathan, the death of several of his sons

·         The disciples had to deal with the death of Christ, even if it was temporary, they abandoned their calling until Christ returned

·         Peter dealt with denying Christ

·         Paul dealt with persecution, and a thorn in his side that God put there

·         The early church dealt with imprisonment, possible death if they didn’t worship the emperors

·         The list goes on and on.

·         Psalm 25:16-17

o   “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distress

o   BUT, time and time again, God gave His people hope    

§  The big thing to remember is that you will no longer be fighting that battle alone. You have the Holy Spirit to help you.  (1 Peter 5:6-7 humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that he may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

·         Your identity is no longer how you look, what you can do, what crowd you fit in with, how smart or athletic you are. What you have to offer to the world. Your identity is now firmly grounded in Christ, the Creator of it all.

·         You now have a family that is around you that is called to help bear your burden.

·         “Jesus is inviting us into a new identity defined by grace, free from the false promise of self-redemption.” – Rick Lawrence, Spiritual Grit

§  David had everything that he could want. Everything that the world claims brings fulfillment

·         Money

·         Power

·         Women (relationships)

·         Success

§  These things were not enough

§  He was anointed by God to be king, and yet he still had times that he doubted, times that he felt abandoned by God and overwhelmed by his enemies.

·         (Psalm 38)

Encouragement in Scripture:

·         Romans 8: 38-39

o   “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

§  There is absolutely NOTHING that can make God stop loving you when you are His child.

·         Death nor life

·         Angels nor demons

·         Present or future

·         Any powers

·         Height or depth

·         Anything in creation

·         2 Corinthians 4:16-17

o   Therefore, we don’t lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed, day by day. For momentarily, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far and beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient (temporary), but the things that are unseen are eternal.

§  Our identity in Christ is something that we may not see when we look at the mirror. We need to remind ourselves every day that if we are a believer, we are a child of God. We are loved by the Creator of the universe and there is nothing and no one that can separate you from that love.

o   Verses like this and many more wouldn’t exist if Christians didn’t struggle with depression and anxiety and other things.

Before we go to small groups, I want to invite you to come to the altar and pray. Pray for yourself, pray for the people around you. Statistically, there are several people in here dealing with depression. They need your prayer, and if it’s you, let us pray for you. Please never hesitate to speak to me or to another adult leader when you are feeling this way. We want to pray for you and help you bear this burden.

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