Dealing with depression
Synopsis of Bible Study 02/05/14
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Depression is something we don’t talk about much in church, but this is something we need to deal will. The Center of Disease Control states that 1 out of 10 people take medication for depression. What is it that we can do as people of faith to address mental illness particularly in the church?
I. Churches need to stop hiding mental illness
When you find yourself disillusioned, know that this could be a mental illness issue. Lots of times we gloss over this in the church and say phrases like, “We are too blessed to be stressed.” We simply put people on the prayer list and forget about it and as a result, this problem never goes away. Know that the church should be the safest place for this issue.
Lots of us are uncomfortable discussing depression and some are even afraid of mental illness issues, but know that we have to confront this issue.
II. Why discuss this now?
If you think about it, Jan and Feb can be some of the most depressing months of the year. Some reasons is because these months are the months that contain gloomy days and gray skies. Another reason is there is nothing to get exited about on January. Christmas has past and now you have to deal with the credit card bills and right around the corner is Valentine’s Day which reminds you that you don’t have anyone.
- Dealing with this, doesn’t mean you have flawed faith. Even in Elijah’s time, people dealt with depression. 1 Kings 19:4 (NKJV) says 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”- Elijah prayed that he might die. Ex– C. S. Lewis, known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. C. S. Lewis, became outgoing after his conversion experience and he really had to work hard to get through his depression. Through his working through his depression, an author Armand M. Nicholi wrote a book called” The Question of God” (link goes to book sample) where he places arguments of C.S. Lewis and another author by the name of Sigmund Freud about the questions of God . Nicholi remarked that “God could not give us happiness outside himself.” In other words, he was saying you can’t be happy without God. Nicholi also said “depart from pleasures.” He submitted human beings weren’t supposed to be happy. CS Lewis concluded that “True happiness was things that money couldn’t buy.” If you set yourself on the pleasures of life, you can set yourself up for depression.
- B. The bible gives a great array of people that suffered depression. David, Elijah, Job, and many others battled with depression. There are people reading this that have suffered from depression too. Remember 1 kings 18 when the woman gave Elijah her last meal, but never ran out? She had been depressed and had planned to eat her last meal and die. Elijah was hated so much by Jezebel who plotted every day to kill him and it finally got under Elijah’s skin. He felt like his life’s work was hopeless and that all his work had been done in vain. No one but God knew that he was depressed. God finally talked to Elijah and let him know that he knew what Elijah had been feeling, so he affirmed him. Ex- Bishop being transparent: In 2005 on Jan 17th, Bishop watched his first wife die! He remembered running to the window screaming and not knowing what he was going to do. After the funeral and after he came back from vacation, Bishop filled his schedule with everything he possible could. Whenever he was not booked, he would come home and sit in dark and he found himself setting the table for two people for 8 mths. The point is, Bishop had become depressed and didn’t even know it. Here he was a Leader dealing with depression. You must know that depression hits the pulpit and stretches to the back door of the church. No one is exempt. Bishop was anointed and he had faith, but still he experienced depression.
- A. There is a reason. (NKJV) Proverbs 13:2 says 2 A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. (NKJV) Proverbs 18:14 says 14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit? – Job going through job 7:6-11 (NKJV) Job 7: 6-11 say 6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And are spent without hope.7 Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good. 8 The eye of him who sees me will see me no more; While your eyes are upon me, I shall no longer be.9 As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, So he who goes down to the grave does not come up.10 He shall never return to his house, Nor shall his place know him anymore.11 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. – When we become depressed, we lose hope. When you lose hope, you see no end to your problem. Hope is a bi-product of faith, because faith is the substance of things hoped for. The word of God is placed in my life, to produce faith. When the devil attacks my faith, he is s trying to get my hope.
- B. Wavering in my faith is ok, but the question becomes when? We wonder in our faith is God going to heal us. Will we survive? The hard part is the level that comes after faith. This is called hope. We wonder here does God even care. If God doesn’t care, no one cares, so what is the reason for hope even existing? Once you lose hope this is point where the razor ends up on your wrist or the bottle is in your hand.
III. What does the bible says about depression?
It is at this point, that you are in a hopeless place. This is when you are most vulnerable.(NKJV) Ephesians 6:11 says 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,t against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. – This is why the God says put on the whole armor of God. Your faith is no longer cognitive at this point. It becomes a spiritual battle. When we fight in the sprit realm, we fight above our mind. The devil is looking for access. If we don’t guard our feet, they will lead us to places we don’t need to be. If we don’t guard our loins, then we connect to people we shouldn’t connect to and start producing dysfunction. If we don’t guard our hearts, we start believing in all the wrong things and if we don’t guard our head, we will not believe who we are any more. The devil is always looking for places to get in. (NKJV) 1 Peter 5:6 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because e your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. – Know that every day, you are being stalked by demonic forces, looking for an opening. Every day you are being stalked.
IV. Where is the first place you should go when you feel depressed?
(NKJV) Matthew 11:28 says 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – This was Bishop’s problem when he experienced depression. He had spent the last 10rs yrs growing the church which was approximately 17,000 members at that time. He was in the word preaching for others and he stopped studying for himself. One night, he was in room by himself. God began to call him and assured him that he missed him. The problem was, Bishop needed to reconnect to God. God says to Bishop he will give him something he hadn’t had in years. This something was rest. Bishop had been sleeping, but he had not been resting. God says come unto me all who are heavy laden and he will give you rest.
(NKJV) Philippians 4:7 says 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.- If you think about it, most things that got you depressed in the past, entered through your heart or your mind. We must guard our hearts and our minds.
V. Where else should you turn when you are discouraged
(NKJV) Ecclesiastes 4:10 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken., (NKJV) Proverbs 27:10 0 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, Nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.- God put people into your life for a reason. God says don’t abandon these people, because he put them there for a reason. Don’t put yourself in isolation. The roaring lion goes about seeing whom he may devour. Ex – In the Wild Kingdom, Buffalo work together. Buffalos move together and hang out together. If they catch a lion by themselves, they will kill the lion. They take all their rage caused by other lions, out on that one lion that is caught alone. The buffalo target the weakest in the herd and they get them confused, so that they can separate them from the herd. Much like this, the devil knows that we are a force when we are together (with other church members), but he knows if he can cause enough confusion, he can isolate you to ultimately devour you.
VI. What else does the bible say you do to help depression
You got to learn to laugh – (NKJV) Proverbs 17:22 says 22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,f But a broken spirit dries the bones.– You can’t sit around and frown more than you laugh. People ask often how Bishop Walker integrates his sermons. His answer is, he injects humor. People don’t laugh enough now days. This scripture says if you don’t laugh, you will dry up. If you are happy and have frown marks, then you frown too much. Ex- Bishop was preaching at a church. He came out to sit in pulpit, before having to deliver his message. The Pastor of this church is friend of Bishop and he has a Pastor Emeritus that sits in the pulpit every Sunday. The problem is, he has gotten so old and he has lost all of his pulpit etiquette now. For example, he talks loud while in pulpit now. It is often loud enough for the congregation to hear what he is saying. Right before Bishop gets up to preach, the Mime Ministry comes out and the Pastor Emeritus asks the Pastor, “What them clowns doing in here? Ain’t no clowns in the bible?” Bishop lost it! The point is, it’s ok to laugh. If you don’t laugh, the enemy attacks your spirit.
Jesus understands our weakness. (NKJV) Hebrews 4:15 says 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (NKJV) Isaiah 53:3 says 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. – Jesus experienced the same things that we do, so he identifies with us.
VII. What do I do with my past mistakes, what does God promise to do?
Everything that happens, you blame on something you did in the past. Know that you have been forgiven. God doesn’t punish you for things you have done in the past. You are free from the penalty of sin. (NKJV) Luke 11: 9 – 10 9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.– Go to God! Stop running to the people whose life is in worse shape than yours.
It is ok to get a spiritual counselor- Pastors are not trained in counseling. They will hear you out, tell you what the bible says about your situation, and if still not resolved, they will refer you to a spirit counselor. Get a Christian Counselor!! It is ok!
VIII. What does God want your mindset to be?
In the bible days, there was martyrdom. Nero took great pride in killing Christians. Some were crucified upside, rolled down hills, burned at stakes, and fed to the lions. Can you imagine what these folk left thought after seeing what happened to fellow people in the ministry? (NKJV) James 1:2 says 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 for you know that gthe testing of your faith hproduces steadfastness. 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. – You are going through this in order to become whole. (NKJV) Philippians 4:11 says 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christh who strengthens me. – In other words, I’ve learned how to drive with gas the light on. I’ve learned how to keep wearing the same pair of jeans and just changing shirts. When you are content, you are not guilty of the sins of comparison.Psalms 37:7 says, 7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. – You have to stay in God s word and be content. Comparison will drive you into depression.
In conclusion, we leave you with a scripture that sustained him through his depression- (NKJV) 1 Peter 5:10 says 10 But mayf the God of all grace, who called us g to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.– Perfect in this scripture means mature. May it establish you after you have gone through it. 5 yrs ago, what you have gone through would have broken you, but you are stronger now! You have to come to a point that you are settled in your spirit. You have to say, “I don’t know how or when, but I know who is going to make it happen.” This is when you have come to a place where you have choose to confront depression! It is when you know who is in control that you will overcome our depression!