Are you depressed? Do you struggle with getting yourself going certain days, or even with seeing a purpose to your life?
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6, 7)
The peculiar truth is that while there are many ways we can fight depression–and that we should certainly not rule out seeking medical counsel if the situation is severe enough–the best thing a person suffering from depression can do to help himself is to grow in his knowledge of and love for our Lord, Jesus Christ. And since the best teacher is God Himself who has given us his Word, let’s read what He says:
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:9-23 NKJV)
This is a long passage, but it is full of truth. Let’s read it again in a modern paraphrase:
“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.” (Colossians 1:9-23 MSG)
Christ is everything, and i have to do all I can to make sure He is also everything to me, personally. A well known quote says, “Everything – Christ = Nothing, yet Nothing + Christ = Everything. This is so completely true! This doesn’t, of course, mean I stop living–to the contrary, it gives me the motivation TO live. The more I recognize His eternal possession of me–the tie, the bond He has on me through His Holy Spirit who lives in me–the easier my life will be. He bought me out of my sins, He loves me, and NOTHING can or will ever separate me from His love. That’s what He promised, and it’s true. Yet I must not turn away from Him. Listen again to what He says:
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works [and this is a huge category–it’s not just specific wicked deeds, but also evil, destructive and hopeless thoughts Satan tries to deceive and mislead us with and buy into which we have to resist through the power Christ gives–specifically by quoting Bible verses to the contrary as Jesus did when Satan tempted Him, if necessary], yet now He has reconciled us in the body of His flesh through death, to present you [Where? When? Presumably at the end of time] holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard.”
I am convinced that people who give up and take their lives actually see more clearly than most of us the emptiness and purposelessness of life without God. Life IS empty and without God. Yet that’s the point–it’s empty without God, yet completely full and meaningful with Him. And that’s where we can recognize Satan’s input–He attempts to deceive us into believing what isn’t true so he can destroy us. But we know differently, we know better, and the more we pick up God’s Book and read the words He told us, the more secure we’ll be in who we are in Christ, in His love, and in the meaningfulness of our lives and our purpose here!
So are you depressed? Don’t be! Do you struggle with getting yourself going certain days? Keep His Word by your bed and open it up first thing in the morning. Take a pad of paper, if necessary, and write out who you are in Christ:
*He has qualified me to be a partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light;
*He has delivered me from the power of darkness;
*He has conveyed me into the kingdom of the Son of His love;
*I have redemption through His blood;
*I have the forgiveness of my sins.
Then start your day by talking to the One who knows you like no other, who knows that, honestly, on your own you’re so lost in sin and have no hope of standing before Him, yet though Christ are totally and completely accepted and loved–He now sees your sins no more but only “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
Then recognize your purpose–your real purpose, regardless of the particulars of your specific day–which is to, as fully as possible, reflect Him to others who, regardless of how they come across on the surface, are just as hopeless and lost without Christ as you were, and be used by God working through you to pass that message of hope on to them too.
That’s your purpose–that’s why you get up in the morning.
So in conclusion, I pray with the Apostle Paul:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Dearest Lord–the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, (that great Shepherd of the sheep), through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Please make me complete in every good work to do Your will, please work in me what is well pleasing in Your sight.
Through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen!
(Hebrews 13:20, 21)