Are You Feeling Depressed?

Are You Feeling Depressed?

Pastor Vincent - 16 October 2021

Weekend Devotion: Are You Feeling Depressed?

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If there is one thing people are more conscious of these days, it’s depression. Increasingly, people are self-diagnosing themselves with depression. We hear about athletes, actors, actresses, influencers, celebrities of all sorts coming out to tell the world about their bouts of depression, and it seems that telling the world about it is a quick antidote to the struggling mind.

 

So by going to the public media with such confession, the message that is sent out is: “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being depressed. You have it, I have it, famous people have it. So if you have it, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about”. So it begs the question that when famous people are doing that increasingly, are they offering some kind of solution to people, as if trivializing depression, making it sound common is the way to overcoming it?

 

Now, I’ve helped a considerable number of people with depression over my years of pastoral life. And there is one thing I am clear about, i.e. people have no real solutions with the enemies of their mind. Man could have solutions with many forms of physical ailments, we could even develop vaccines to counter the Covid_19 virus, but we’ve no solutions with a mind that is running wild. And with increasing number of people suffering from mental illness, that is why people are developing their own solutions, by trying to make it sound typical and common. But is that the real solution? I mean try to trivialize cancer. Try to trivialize heart disease. Tell everyone that’s common. And no one will buy that. But why are we doing that with mental illnesses? The answer is because we’ve no solution to it. So we try to trivialize it to make it sound less frightening. 

 

Yet, the solution given by the Bible wasn’t trivializing it, neither is it to make it sound common. The Bible always resolve a problem by pointing it to the root problem. Now if you are true to the revelation of God’s word, ask the simple question, “Why are people losing their mind?” We saw it happened to King Nebuchadnezzar when he lifted himself above God, seeing himself as sovereign over everything. And with that, God made him lose his mind and basic functionality for 7 years, and he literally lived like an animal. And he was only restored when he humbled himself before God and acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over everything.

 

Another classic example will be King Saul, where mental illnesses struck him when he could no longer contain his pride, and there it intensifies his fear and jealousy. His fear and jealousy of David torment his mind day and night and the bible likened it to an evil spirit tormenting him. And what actually worsen his condition wasn’t just fear and jealousy but his impenitence, i.e. His refusal to repent. When a person is so full of himself and repentance before God was never on his mind, he’ll never regain his sanity.

 

So ask ourselves, why are we tormented by depression, compulsive disorder, bipolar, schizophrenia, or all sorts of mental disorder? Before we even seek medical help, ask: “What’s the root cause?” Didn’t the Bible point us to the human pride? Sometimes, when I see athletes and celebrities coming out to confess about their struggle with depression, getting all the attention they could, I don’t know whether they’re really dealing with their mental struggle at its roots.

 

Sometimes, in the church, I see counsellors trying to help people with depression, but these counsellors are not bringing them to repentance before God. They are merely trying to help them change their perspectives about things, about life, but they’re not humbling their spirit. Christian counsellors tend to be over-empathetic towards those who are depressive and they do not dare to get them into a right relationship with God. I don’t know if you have believers who come and tell you that they are feeling depressed. And if you point them to God, all they say is: “Yea, I think I’ve lost my faith in God, or I’ve drifted away from God”. But that’s all they say. They are just acknowledging that to appease their conscience, but they are not doing anything to restore their faith in God. They’re not seeking God at all. They are still self-absorbed, so to speak.

 

So let me just point you to what James say about what our sinful desires can do to our mind.

 

(James 4:1-2) What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

 

Now, do you read that? The desires that battle within you! Desires that cause infightings within you. Desires that cause a war within you. Every healthy mind can be devastated by those wars. And my brethren, I don’t want you to be ignorant. If you are really serious about getting to the roots of your mental struggle, repent of your sins! Surrender your sovereignty to God. Come to Him and plead with Him. Put aside your greed for fame, success and attention of this world. But seek to do right before God, and you will be healed of your mental struggle.

 

Now, aside from that. I understand that people can suffer from trauma if they’ve went through horrible events or encounters in their life. The traumatic experience can haunt them for a while. But let me offer you an insight here. There are people like Joseph and David, who went through extremely traumatic events in their life. They were betrayed and forsaken by their loved ones, they suffered for not doing anything wrong, they even risk losing their lives for nothing, yet because they put their trust in the Lord, they prevailed. Their hearts were guarded, their sanity was kept. They were made stronger within, and they emerged victoriously in the end.

 

Now, let me end with this. We’re living in an Era where vanity is adored like never before.  we’re so unabashedly proud of our self-absorption, where we unreservedly show everything positive about ourselves on the social media. What used to be thought of as narcissistic, vain, and self-centered behavior is now the guiding norm of the society. This increasing craves for attention and fame will ultimately lead to major internal anxieties, breeding a generation of people more prone to depression. No one who gives in exceedingly to such desires can be spared from wars in their mind. So let’s pray earnestly for this generation and reach out urgently to them with the Gospel of Christ. 

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Pastor Vincent Choo
choochisan@gmail.com

Vincent is the Senior Pastor of The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) and is an ardent missionary to the Chinese World. He currently lives in Singapore with his wife, Qiufen, and has three kids, Mary, David, and Caleb.

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