DEPRESSION: PROBLEM OR SYMPTOM?
It was asserted earlier that the root problem is the flesh—the believer attempting to live the Christian life in his own strength and asking God to help. Or, more simply stated, it is the self-centered life. Depression is merely one of the more flagrant negative symptoms of a life centered on self.
God’s remedy for the flesh is the experienced Cross—the experiential appropriation of the truth embodied in Galatians 2:20:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
It is the exchanging of the self-life with all of its inherent weakness for the Christ-life and the joy and victory that only He can give.
Depression can very well be the beginning of the end of the reign of the self-life. When viewed from this perspective, it can be seen as a friend of grace which God permits to break our self-dependency. It also means that we must see the futility of depending on the self-strength of others—including the professionals with the latest answers developed by the world system. That being the case, it is expected that, as with Joshua and Caleb, the minority opinion is herewith presented.
Comparatively few of the Israelites crossed the Jordan and appropriated their possessions in Canaan; in like manner, a small percentage of Christians—depressed or not—enter into the rest of Hebrews 4:9,10:
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from His.
As with the majority of the Israelites, so also with the majority of Christians—
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
Deliverance from bondage to psychological depression surely awaits the believer who is willing to step into the Jordan and
deny himself, and take up his cross...for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Matt. 16:24b,25).
It will be obvious to all that an article of this length can not purport to provide a formula which can be followed by the reader in finding freedom from depression. I have written it with prior knowledge that professionals from both the disciplines of psychology and theology will regard it as simplistic, and it is! Those who are depressed have been admonished to ‘turn it over to God’; and a seeming repetition of what they regard as a cliche can be all but maddening. Others might advise, “Let go, and let God”. This, too, is true; and, when properly understood, it can be the truth that sets the captive free.
Identifying the problem is a logical first step in arriving at a solution. I have posited that the problem is the flesh—not the depression. This puts the answer squarely in the arena of the spiritual, and the reader is referred to my books which provide a guide as to how a believer may find in the scriptures the truth that the Holy Spirit will use in setting him free.
This I say then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16)
It is the walk in the Spirit, exchanged for the walk after the flesh, which will release from bondage—whether to depression or to other manifestations of the self-life.