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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Truths to defeat Pessimism

Rev. John Wagner

 

Rev. John Wagner (click picture to listen to message) shares some realities that can bring us out of our gloomiest periods. 

Genesis 42[36]  And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children : Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away : all these things are against me. 

 Romans 8[26]  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [27]  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [28]  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. … [31]  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 

 

Jacob was deceived and so often are we in times of greatest elation but even more so in periods of grief. Jacob assumed the worst was coming and so have you in view of apparent mishaps, delays and disappointments.  Like Jacob, you conclude wrongly that God is repaying you evil for all the mischief of early years.  Jacob thought he had lost Joseph and was about to lose more of his children. But is God struggling to fulfil His promises made at Luz in the land of Canaan when He said in Genesis 35 [11]  And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 

Paul in similar discomfort said the exact opposite … calling his challenges “these things” because he saw realities which Jacob could not see as clearly.  Jacob was not thinking nor responding right. Your pessimism can be helped with the following truths. 

  1. Gloom blinds us to the present blessings of God and forgets what God had done in the past. We focus on the problem and do not see present blessings and answers to prayers. Pessimism exaggerates problems and imagines none has overcome in similar situations.  We blame one another and those nearest to us.  In reality we are deceived and all are working for us.
  2. God has not left us alone and knows us well and helps our many weaknesses, frailties and infirmities.  Our walk, prayers and best devotions are plagued with infirmities known well to God…and we are not left alone without assistance. We have comfort and help in the Holy Spirit and God’s ministering angels.
  3. God’s purpose will not be frustrated.  Ours often must be.  The blueprint of God is going according to plan…your blueprint is not. Do well to remind yourself that you are not God and God is right on target and has not missed one beat.
  4. God is for us and therefore we will not be defeated and cannot experience frustration.  Satan is frustrated over you and your children.  Satan knows you and your family are coming out of bondage.  In Christ we can sing “…my sin not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more – praise the Lord O my soul..It is well.”
  5. God will give us all that we ever need freely. If He did not spare Jesus His son in the hands of wicked men to get us…then would He not freely give us all things to be objects of His glory and love. What He does not give is what we do not need. His greatest acts of mercy are in His holding back the things we long the most for. 
  6. God will defend us against all the accusations of hell.  He justifies us with His righteousness and finds no case against us – Christ having answered every case with His blood.  God will never condemn us because Christ has already been judged for us. 
  7. There is no time when God will stop loving you…who can separate us from the love of God? Nothing created can. You think you are not so lovable unlike others … but God will never stop loving you.  God cannot help Himself but love us if we are in Christ Jesus.  Everything He does is because He loves you and working out His plans to fruition. 

Jacob assumed all was lost concerning him and his children… but he was so wrong.  His son was a prince…a governor… Jacob could not believe it.    

Genesis 45 [26]  And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not.   

Get ready for a pleasant surprise concerning your sons and daughters… indeed in areas you have become pessimistic – and now expecting the worst.   

God bless you.
   

Bode   

     

   

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