Curing Depression with Bible Habits

Does the Bible establish proven ways to help the depressed? I discovered five restorative habits from the narrative on Jabez. A recent article in Time Healthland reported findings from a new study on college students with depressive symptoms — recently described by its authors in the New YorkTimes — that they compulsively check email, watch many videos, spend a lot of time playing games and chatting, and frequently switch back and forth between applications. But there are indeed Bible habits that, if prayerfully applied, can be curative.

I Chronicles 4[9] And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. [10] And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

Jabez excelled though born in very depressive circumstances (details are not given of causes of a deep and foundational genre of depression – it does not seem to matter) for it is said he was in spite of this – more honourable than his siblings.He did not need to seek expansion because he was already ahead in many ways, but Jabez was one to take risks to move forward. He did not thirst for blessings because he was in a rut … he simply wanted what God wanted for his life…knowing that is far more than we often imagine. Therein lies an important principle to shine out of depressive circumstances and that is to cultivate the habit of going to God for more. Going to God for more is neither pride nor disobedience. Rather it tells God who always has far more to give that we can ever be ready for, that we are set to be equipped for another mission impossible.

Jabez was not just asking for resources, but by seeking an enlargement of his coast, he was seeking God for expanded accountability. Seeking a greater and farther reach for impact and influence is not cheap … it will require more – emotionally, physically, financially… in all categories– and especially in our mind-set. Jabez wanted God’s hand with him i.e. to be God’s battle axe, acknowledging that evil was present all around him and especially in the places God’s hand will move him, but God will keep him from evil. Many do not see evil as evil and rather justify it or downplay it. Finally, Jabez acknowledges that blessings can cause even more depression without God’s help. God must grant our pleas.

In summary, I listed five easy to remember points as you go to God for His panacea for depression.

  1. Challenge your current scope of influence – seek through prayer for more, be ready to be used in unfamiliar terrain. Be unafraid to start afresh. Put the past victories and hurt behind you. Practice the habit of new beginnings.
  2. Be aware of the presence and mighty hand of God and lean on that strength, permitting that hand to take you where it wills. Practice the habit of devotion and quiet times to hear God and discern his leadings for youBe easy to lead. Learn to suffer as God’s Battle axe.
  3. Evil is ever present and – good as you are – you were not made to defeat it without the Keeper of Israel. Do not trivialise the impact of evil or be anaesthetized to imagine you are immune. Ask God to always keep you from evil. Appreciate the victory in Christ and by His blood over and in spite of evil rather than justifying, accepting or underestimating evil and their destructive arrows. Practise the habit of being watchful.
  4. There are blessings that grieve and those that add no sorrow. Simply dreaming big is foolhardy if God will not be there to help apply the brakes. The richest people can be the most vulnerable. Practice the habit of rejoicing in God’s brakes and not just in what you can get from Him.
  5. Finally, God was pleased to grant Jabez that which he asked for. Practice the habit of living to please God. Our righteousness are like filthy rags, but simply asking God “ is what I am doing pleasing you?” can result in unexpected conversations. God is God and not the butler or errand boy. Fear and respect Him. Worship Him and Him alone.

The Bible says little of Jabez. But the testimony that God granted his request is enough to appreciate that he lived in a joy that defied depressive circumstances … complex plots that could not reach far enough to pull him down. Learn from Jabez. Do not hold your circumstances responsible … rather blame your self-justified docility – confused for virtuous meekness.

Wake up, stop staring at your computer screen … or randomly trying out new applications … or rehashing yesterday’s glitch. Get ready for something new. Celebrate the truth that the best of God is still in your future.  Enjoy reading Havard Business review article. Happiness will not be downloaded.

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Bode Ososami

Bode Ososami

Bode Ososami retired from a management consulting firm and pastored at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Nigeria for over ten years. In the past, he has published 5 books. His third book " The Majesty of God " was published in December 2010. His fourth work "Perfect Fall Wedding: The Coming of Christ" was released in October 2011. His fifth book , Songs of Joseph, a Bible Devotional, was published in November 2012. He is also the author of "Wealth out of Ashes", a book describing God's plan for our prosperity.

5 thoughts on “Curing Depression with Bible Habits”

  1. I am amused reading your post. You have read too much into these two verses in 1 Chron. 4: 9-10. and made the same mistake like Bruce Wilkinson when he wrote and turn them into the the best-selling book, The Prayer of Jabez.

    The book is popular not because it’s biblical. rather it attracts people who wants God to be a Celestial Miracle and prayer ansering machine. Prayer is about relationship with God. Nothing forcing God to pander to our greed and lust.

    Your solution to depression is too simplistic. I had gone through four circles of depression the last 32 years. Each circle gets longer and harder to cope.

    Depression can be caused by chemical imbalance, hormonal problems, andropause, menopause, family gene, etc. You cannot just snap out of a depression as and when you like. The mind is very complicated. Many pyschiatrists are still puzzled by the cause and cure of depression.

    Those who have depression which is caused by circumstances may be able to think positive and overcome it. But those who have clinical depression, bipolar and schizoprenica may require long term medication and pyschotherapy.

    When a person has depression, like when I had it for last two years, the mind is like short-circuited or a computer gets hung.

    I am a pastor and director of a international mission for 32 years. I know Jesus intimately for 46 years and experience his reality very often and countless answered prayer. Yet, when I had depression, nothing I read in the Bible makes sense. Those who had deprssion shared my experience. God seems like he is away for a long holiday. He switches off his mobile. He turns on his answering machine. He is silent. And it’s scary.

    I went through a time when I felt totally abandoned by God. I started to doubt God and the Bible like John Bunyan and many great godly men in Christian history. You should tell it to Charles Spurgen who was known as the Prince of Preacher–he has bout of depression daily until he died. What about Adoniram Judson, James Fraser and many missionaries who suffered depression.

    You think they did not know the prayer of Jabez?

    I deduce from your post that you might be out of touch with people. I go to the sport stadium and park for morning excercises. I met people who have depression and illnesses. You try to apply the prayer of Jabez. You make yourself a laughing stock.

    I believe you simply want to encourage people to overcome depression. Depressive people has inernia. They have no motivation to do even simple thing like spreading butter on their bread.

    He needs God’s deliverance and medication to be well as I had experienced it.

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  2. I agree with your comments but strongly believe God has cures in His word when we mix it with faith in Him … It is still left to Him to cure those who He will cure…even depression. If It is His desire for us to sing ..”I was glad…” like David…then He must have a way without medications that did not exist in Bible times …

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  3. Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided with this Christian Depression support program with Christian Depression support counseling. Christian depression is one of the worst states of mind there is and Christian depression is usually the result of something that is troubling Christians within, whether these Christians recognize what is troubling them or not. Exclusive piece of writing. I must say you have got the brilliance of explaining the whole scenario with utter ease so that the whole content becomes user friendly for the readers. Your article surely will help me out in the coming days. Can’t thank you enough for sharing it though.
    Andrea Jones

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  4. Every Christian suffers from depression from time to time. Sometimes depression is self-induced because it is caused by sin. Mental attitude sins will bring on depression. Failure to exercise Faith-Rest principles or failure to claim promises from the Bible can cause depression. If sin is the problem, the first step to the solution is to confess sin Biblically and use the techniques of Faith-Rest, Occupation with Christ, and the Filling of the Holy Spirit to begin a quick recovery. Sometimes depression comes through no fault of our own. There may be severe problems which are imposed by outside circumstances. There may be physical exhaustion and a weakening of physical and emotional strength. There may be serious disturbances or distress in life with a feeling of being trapped or a fear of what might happen. If the depression is not caused by a sin problem, confession is not called for. But the techniques of the Christian way of life are equally useful in combating depression in whatever form it comes. Loved reading this content.
    Jennifer Goldblum

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