Mental Issues and the Christian

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Disciples and Depression
1 Kings 19:2-10
Depression is a regular stumbling block for many Christians. It can push us down a dark path that ends up going against God. Our emotions can trap us into a world where God seems distant and uncaring. Many who are strong have faced times of weakness and sorrow. We need to stand up to this by consulting God in prayer and study, face our problems head-on with His help, and seek to help others battling the same problems.
In this study, we are not necessarily dealing with those who are “clinically” depressed (chronically depressed without knowing the reason why - if we need medication, we should take it). We are dealing with times where we might face great discouragement and events that might engender bitterness within us.
I. Even the Strong can face Depression
A. Sources of depression: buried anger/life changes/doubt.
1. It can be taught to us while growing up as a way to “handle” our problems.
2. It might be a short-term problem due to perceptions that are unrealistic, and/or exhaustion. (Elijah)
B. Depression is an emotion and not by itself a sin!
1. Ps 124:2-4,8 - It is an emotion that can pull us closer to God.
2. Eph 4:26-27 - Like anger, depression becomes a sin when it takes over our lives, convincing us to stop submitting to God’s will.
3. Ps 73:11-14 - Strong emotions can tempt us to accept a false reality.
4. Doubts, questions, and curiosity do not make us guilty of sin.
5. 1 Cor 10:13; James 1:13-16 - Like temptation, we can think something, but find the way of escape before the action manifests!
6. We need to learn that God wants to help us in this.
C. Depression is something that every Christian experiences.
1. Levels of depression - Short term, Periodic and Chronic.
2. The first step is seeing the problems that might be the cause. This is usually difficult, because it is easy for us to excuse ourselves.
II. We can be deceived by Depression
A. Some indications of depression. (Psa 103:3-7)
1. We cannot rest from hurtful, damaging thoughts.
2. A loss of appetite or overeating.
3. Psa 55:5-6; 1 Sam 22:8 - A desire to escape can lead to creating your own reality.
4. We only look at problems as it relates to ourselves, with no regard for another person’s viewpoint. It becomes hard to understand and listen to others.
5. Ps 77:3; 142:3-4 Our hurts and complaints become the center of our lives. Self pity becomes a constant resort.
6. It can become all about ME. We become unable to relate to or understand others.
7. Lk 18:9, 11 - We use the faults of others (real or imagined) to build ourselves up.
B. We develop a fear of seeing our life as it really is.
1. 1 Sam 20:32-33 - Denial becomes a way of life. Loved ones who tell us the truth suffer harm from us because we just keep denying it.
2. Rom 16:18 - We can be easily swayed by both flattery and gossip.
3. Col 2:18-19 - We become uncertain in things we CAN know but certain in things we CANNOT know
C. We can become undependable. (Mk 4:16-17)
1. You can have problems in maintaining relationships. Withdrawal becomes a pattern.
2. You can be easily upset and influenced by others (Used by others).
3. You can become a chronic complainer. Others may withdraw from you.
D. We can reject having a doctrinal foundation. (Eph 4:13-15)
1. We become “wet noodles” when we refuse to stand for the truth and pay a price for it. This will put your children and anyone who you teach in a terrible position to grow in Christ.
2. 2 Tim 1:8 “be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” - Fearful of solid truth and of those that stand in it.
3. 2 Tim 3:6-9 - We are led to believe anything when our emotions are stirred. Thus we become unteachable.
III. The Solution - Faith in God
A. The character of God and renewal of our minds in worship can keep us in reality. (Ps 73:15-17)
1. When strong emotions well up and try to force us away from God, we must turn to Him!
2. If Naaman had allowed his false expectations and rash anger to consume him, he would have died a leper’s death. (2 Kings 5:11-13)
B. Hold on to certain truths and bring them to the forefront of your mind. Consider the fight found in Psalms 77.
1. 2-4 - He experienced the symptoms that come with great fear.
2. 5-9 - He immediately began asking important questions about what God will do. Have you ever asked these questions?
3. 10-15 - He found answers in remembering what God has done!
4. 1 - Does God give ear to your prayers and answer them this way?
C. Our God will teach us how to deal with hurtful people and let go of the past.
1. 1 Jn 3:15- One of the worst things you can do is to hold bitterness within when another has wrongfully hurt you. ()
2. Rom 12:17-21 - Have you learned how to forgive another? Have you learned to give vengeance to God?
3. If we can’t let go, we run the risk of losing our souls.
4. Psa 23:5-6 What happens when we let go and become healed loving people? God will bless us as a witness to our “enemies” if we let go and become loving people who are healed.
D. Surround yourself with honest and genuine brothers and sisters who can understand you and help you.
1. 1 Sam 26:8-9 - David helped Abishai avoid sin.
2. Regularly worship God and assemble with Christians.
3. Be honest and open with your family and children. Hiding and denying these issues can destroy your children.
E. Remember the examples of Jesus. (Heb 12:1-4)
1. Jesus poured out “vehement cries and tears” to God (Heb 5:7-8)
2. He knows and understands us. Read Psalms 22 and see how He endured the cross!
Philippians 4:8-9
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