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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Christ in Us

There is no other elixir that works as Christ in us.  He goes to the root of all issues and transforms every poison that may have been deposited in our body, soul or spirit…causing wellness.  Reflect on the prescription of Elisha when faced with a pot in a time of famine that was already poisoned with wild vines shredded to pollute the pottage recipe.

2 Kings 4[38]  And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. [39]  And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. [40]  So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof . [41]  But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

Note in summary the following points …

  1. Times of dearth and famine are times for extra care in obedience and diligence to follow the word in full.  There are times of dearth of truth…these are times to be cautious.
  2. Elisha asked for pottage to be set … but one we are told found some wild vine …to make the broth tastier no doubt… beware of wild herbs from strange vines in ministry, business and life in general.  They promise an exotic improved taste but they are poisonous.  Stick to the narrow recipe …the “old” paths.
  3. The cooks could not recognise these wild ingredients … do not seek adventure in matters of faith – rather seek  time tested truths in the word of God.  What you cannot recognise and be certain of its source should not be added into the mix of that you intend to digest. Seek counsel from elders if unsure…do not take foolish risks.
  4. Do not pretend when you discover you have taken in poison…Go quickly to God for help…note that Elisha did not ask that the broth be poured away … that would have been tough in a famine.  God is not turning you away and He does not propose that you be discarded for your wanderings … But He waits for you to cry out to Him for help.  Are you in financial, health or any type of trouble…cry now to God for help.
  5. Jesus – the Bread of Heaven is the solution..let Him come in afresh and grow in you …He instantly transforms all poisons to harmless substances.  Note, that immediately the broth became edible again.  Life can be sweet again if we let Christ be formed in us again …give Him a chance and see things begin to change rapidly.  Let His word begin to rule and control your life and watch the transformation that follows.

We are coming out of recession and many strange ingredients have already been shredded into the pot of many homes, ministries, nations, communities …and alas the poisons are taking their toll.  But you can go to the master apothecary , the Almighty for His solution…Jesus.   it is time to get the word of God…the living word to rule your life .  Christ needs to take His rightful place inside you in order for Satan and his cohorts to accept their place under your feet. Many are yet to exploit and maximise the possibilities of blessings inherent in Jesus Christ. Until Christ is formed in you, you may not see Him manifesting in His glory, His goodness and His grace in your life. It is time to grow the Anointed One – The Word of God – inside you, so as to heal all poisons and wildness and you will manifest in a new wholeness outside..

It is perhaps time for stronger teachers and elders – Like Paul, to pray … to  travail again that Christ be formed  in lives … “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” ~ Gal. 4:19.

Though they are slighting Him …Still He is waiting
Waiting the penitent child to receive.
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently
He will forgive if they only believe
Rescue the Perishing, Care for the dying … Jesus is merciful.  Jesus will save.

Someone reading this blog post mixed in the occult, worldliness, strange entertainment and music and toyed with astrology, yoga and several esoteric herbs and gourds …and now you see your wrong doing but too late (you think) as you already observe the poisonous effects.  Jesus is waiting to come in again. Invite Him now.

 

To another friend I sing this favourite song…”Roses will bloom again … just wait and see…”

 

God bless you.

Please read Open Heavens Devotional – Is Christ Formed?

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