When the light of God’s Word shines on the darkness of depression, and when we see the wake of destruction that is left behind by an emotional episode in our homes, it is more than obvious that depression, no matter what its cause, is linked to sin. Or, better stated, feelings of depression can cause us to sin. It may help to compare it to anger—and the Bible simply says, “In your anger, do not sin” (Psalm 4:4, Ephesians 4:26). It doesn’t say that anger is sin—but it can be the impetus for sin in our lives. Similarly, money in and of itself—and even having money—is not sinful, but greed and the love of money are identified as “the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).
So when you face depression, realize that it is simply one more method through which the enemy of our souls tries to tempt us to sin. That is why we must have the ready weapon of God’s Word in hand and be self-controlled and alert—to pray and to grow in godliness, despite the devil’s schemes. Keep in mind God’s warning to Cain when he struggled with anger and sin: “‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it’” (Genesis 4:6-7).
It is human nature to excuse our sin—to shift the blame, minimize the gravity of our sin, or justify ourselves by favorably comparing ourselves with others. Stay on guard when you are struggling to regain your footing during a depressive episode. Don’t let it master you! Commit yourself to mastering your feelings and your reactions to those feelings.
It is easy to say, “Well, I would certainly do better if…” (If my spouse were more loving, if my children were more cooperative, if I didn’t have to take care of my mother-in-law, if it were not necessary for me to work, or if I didn’t have the added burden of homeschooling…you get the picture. Just fill in the blank.) The fact is, we are only responsible for our own actions, and we can only take care of ourselves. A friend of mine simply asked herself, “What am I doing to contribute to the problem?” That’s a good starting point. So pray, do what you can do, and leave the rest with God. Don’t continue in sin just because it’s easy to excuse.
Instead, when your depression takes on a sinful self-focus or you find yourself behaving in sinful ways as a result of how you feel, do what must be done with all sin: REPENT. Don’t just be sorrowful, apologizing to God and to others, but seek the godly sorrow that leads to repentance (see 2 Corinthians 7:10)—that is, true change in heart, attitude, and behavior. Trust that as a result of true repentance, God will work more strongly on your behalf.
Depression as a Battle Tactic
The Bible is very clear that our battle as Christians is not against flesh and blood (see Ephesians 6:12). Although we are easily focused on the goings-on of the world around us and our circumstances seem large in our eyes, we must magnify the Lord and remember that there is more going on than what we see.
First Peter 5:8, tells us to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Ladies, the truth is, the devil uses our emotions! Our mind, will, and emotions, when uncontrolled, can become subject to depression. That depression is Satan’s form of warfare against us! Although he can’t steal our salvation, he can steal our joy, destroy our homes and families, and render our witness ineffective. We must be self-controlled—taking control of our thoughts, words, and actions so that God’s power can defeat the enemy.
(Transcribed excerpt from Defeating Depression: Cooperating with God to Experience Victory over Negative Emotions, part of the Values-Driven Emotional Wellness Audio Set.)