Spiritual depression, as we have seen in the two prior broadcasts, has its roots in several spiritual problems, which can include the fear of man, guilt and shame, bitterness and anger, pride, lust, loneliness, and grief. And there are spiritual remedies to each of these problems that can result in a diminishing or complete elimination of your depression. These include fearing God, letting go of your past, forgiving others, humbling yourself, learning contentment, befriending God’s people, and worshipping God.
In addition to these spiritual remedies, which you can learn about in much more detail by listening to the prior broadcasts, there are also some practical measures you can take to help with depression in your life. We are going to discuss some of these practical measures today.
Again, we must remind you that depression is often a complex problem with medical, spiritual, emotional and practical considerations. We are not dealing with the medical considerations. However, if you are, or someone you know is, depressed and the causes of this depression are medical, we suggest that you see a doctor who specializes in these medical causes. We prefer making proper medical corrections over taking anti-depressants, for example.
So, what practical steps can you take to help with depression? The Bible has several good practical remedies for dealing with depression.
Control your thoughts – When you are prone to depression you generally have an active imagination that is filled with worrisome thoughts. These thoughts will consume your mind and exalt themselves against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:5). Your thoughts must be trained to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:3-5). When your thought life is under control, your emotions will not be so erratic and your affections will be turned toward God (Col 3:2). When your thoughts match the pattern of Phil 4:8, you are much more stable, emotionally. And you are much less likely to be depressed.
Pray – Phil 4:6-7 shows you that you are to pray with thanksgiving and not worry. Your worries will put you in a funk (Matt 6:34). When you pray and thank God, the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind. The black cloud of depression will lift when the peace of God is present. As soon as you feel yourself heading into a funk, go immediately to God in prayer and he will guide you back into a calm, peaceful mood (Matt 8:26). Your emotions must remain balanced and calm in Christ.
Watch your diet – 1 Cor 9:27; Rom 14:22-23 – many people that are depressed have problems with their blood sugar and with certain food intolerances like dairy and gluten. It is very important that you learn about your physical and mental condition and take the necessary steps to control your appetite for things that are not good for you. For instance, I haven’t eaten refined sugar in over 25 years. When I got off of sugar I noticed two things. First, my angry outbursts began to diminish. I was fueling the fire of rage with sugar. Second, I noticed that my mood was slowly beginning to change. Over a five-year period, my highs and lows began to normalize and my emotions stabilized.
Exercise – 1 Tim 4:8 – bodily exercise profiteth little. You need to find the right exercise that is profitable for you. The Bible says there is a little profit in exercise. You don’t have to do much to benefit from it. Not only does it help you physically, but there are emotional benefits to the right kind of exercise, as well. Some of this exercise will be in the form of physical work which will benefit your sleep (Ecc 5:12).
Rest – We live in a stressful world and rest is of utmost importance in dealing with stress. You find rest in Jesus Christ by taking his yoke upon you and by simultaneously letting go of your yoke (Matt 11:28-30). When you are depressed you can’t sleep well at night because the good chemicals in your brain are not functioning properly partly due to stress. Therefore it is important to eliminate all the stress in your life that can be eliminated and to manage the stress that can’t be eliminated. You must be diligent to deal with stress everyday. As soon as you sense stress increasing, deal with it. Don’t let it build.
Conclusion: This is just some plain, practical advice from the Bible. Put it to good use.