I hate depression. It saps my joy like a leach sucks out blood; it puts a weight on my heart that Hercules couldn’t lift; and it cripples me from accomplishing anything meaningful in life. Thankfully, God has promised that He has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), and depression is not outside that promise. So we are going to look at some of the antidotes God has given us in the book of Ephesians that can bring healing and life back to our tired souls.
Obey God Despite Depression Telling You Not To
You might be thinking, “How can obedience deal with depression?” The real question is, “Do you really think that disobeying your loving Father who has sovereignly designed the universe, while you revel in your sins that hurt your relationship with the one who is the ultimate source of true joy, can get you out of the pit of depression?” Heck no! We once lived in complete disobedience and sin, under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:1-3); running back to those sins that once enslaved us and separated us from God will only deepen our despair and lead us away from the one who gave us mercy, love, kindness, and grace (Ephesians 2:4-9). Engaging in sins (many of which are listed in Ephesians 4:17-5:21) only leads us towards God’s wrath (Ephesians 5:6), and true children of the light can never be satisfied while they are wallowing in the darkness they once were trapped in (Ephesians 5:8-21). So if you are depressed, obey God.
Preach the Gospel…to Yourself
However bad you are feeling, whatever disappointments or trials have come your way, however much pain you are experiencing, always remember: you deserve much worse. What?? Am I trying to bring more darkness to your day?? How is that comforting?? Give me a paragraph to explain.
We all started as disobedient, spiritually dead sinners who fully deserved God’s justice and wrath (Ephesians 3:1-3; 5:3-6). We do not deserve anything but punishment for our sins. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). We deserved nothing but punishment, and yet God was willing to love us, and show us mercy and grace! God is willing to pour out his kindness on us because of Jesus (Ephesians 2:7)! Because Jesus lived a perfect life, died to pay for our sins, and rose from the dead, all those who repent and have faith in him are saved for eternity and are granted “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3)!
Whatever pain you are experiencing, remember that you deserve to be under God’s wrath, headed for eternal destruction. But God has graciously given you salvation and an overflowing abundance of spiritual blessings. Remind yourself that salvation and those spiritual blessing are yours even in the midst of your pain and suffering. Nothing can take that salvation or those blessings away.
So when you are in pain, preach the gospel to your soul. Tell yourself the truths that set you free from your enslavement to sin. Proclaim to yourself that even though you are feeling terrible, you have been given so much more than you could possibly imagine.
Paul constantly proclaimed the power of prayer (Ephesians 1:16-23; 6:18-12). He illustrates the need for prayer by telling the Ephesians that he is praying that God would “according to the riches of his glory…grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19) Paul knew that the only way for the Ephesians to have inner strength, and to be filled with love and the fullness of God was to ask God to give them these things. If you are suffering from depression, then pray! God is willing to give you the strength to get through your inner suffering…so ask him.
Use the Word to Fight Depression
God is not dumb: He knows that we struggle with our own sinful hearts. He knows that we are in a lifelong fight against the “devil…and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12). He has graciously granted us a weapon to use against these “spiritual forces of evil,” and that weapon is “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Using the word (the Bible) is a necessity in fighting off the attacks of the devil.
Depression can be the result of many different things, and the word can effectively fight anything the devil uses to try and trip us up. The truth contained in the Bible can destroy the lies of the wicked one (and the lies in our heart), it can give us hope by explaining the great promises God has given us, and it can show us the path out of our sea of despair.