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~About Depression~

In 1923 a very important meeting was held at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. Attending this meeting were nine of the world's most successful men; at least, they were men who had found the secret of "making money."

Let us see what happened to these men twenty-five years later.

The president of the largest independent steel company, Charles Schwab, died in bankruptcy and lived on borrowed money for five years before his death. The president of the greatest utility company, Samuel Insull, died a fugitive from justice and penniless in a foreign land. The president of the largest gas company, Howard Hopson, lost his sanity. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cotton, died abroad insolvent. The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was released from Sing Sing Penitentiary. The member of the President's cabinet, Albert Fall, was pardoned so he could die at home. The greatest "bear" on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore, died, a suicide. The head of the greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger, died, a suicide. The president of the Bank of International Settlements, Leon Fraser, died, a suicide. All of these men chose to learn the art of making a living, but none of them chose to learn how to live!

St. Augustine said, "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee." The French philosopher, Pascal, stated, "There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ."

Man throughout the ages has continually sought a life of freedom and happiness through many ways: financial success, social status, education, sexual encounters, friends, marriage and children, approval by others, occupation and profession. However, many people have achieved all of these things and still have not found a meaningful and happy life. Man has even turned to religion and social reform in an attempt to fill the void in his life. However, even such a man as the great Hindu leader, Mahatma Gandhi, with his undying and sacrificial devotion to his religion, stated in his autobiography: "It is a constant torture to me that I am still so far from Him whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from Him."

Each year more and more people are turning to secular psychiatrists, psychologists and counseling centers seeking answers to the problems of life. For the Christian this can be a confusing and disappointing search as well as raise serious questions regarding his faith. Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10b) Does the Word of God speak only to the issue of salvation and then leave us to grapple with everyday life and its problems? Are God's promises of joy and peace and purpose available in the midst of adverse circumstances? The answers to these fundamental questions are crucial to the believer if he is ever going to experience freedom and victory in his life.

The problems of man all stem from one source: Mans attempt to find meaning and purpose in life apart from total dependency upon God. That was the issue with the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden and it is the issue with all men and women today. The grace of God has provided everything we need to lead fulfilled and productive lives. A quality of life other than this is the result of a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of what God has accomplished for us through Christ Jesus finished work on the cross and the believer's responsibility to live by faith in God's love and provision.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

Depression is not something you catch like a cold. It's something you bring upon yourself by free choice. As children of God, we don't need to be depressed or defeated by life. God has already provided us with everything we need to be successful.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for
life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called
us by His own glory and goodness" (2 Pet. 1:3)

This verse emphasizes that the battle is won in our minds. Like computers, our minds are constantly being programmed. Our choice is: To whom will we listen - the world, or God's Word?

But it is not enough to merely have information. We need the ministry that only the Holy Spirit, God's appointed Counselor, can provide.

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's
spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God
except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but
the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has
freely given us." (1Cor. 2:11-12).

No person can know what God is thinking. Only the Holy Spirit knows because He

"searches all things, even the deep things of God" (1Cor 2:10).

But God wants us to share His free gifts: forgiveness in Christ, righteousness, sonship, fellowship, love. But we need power to understand these gifts because

"the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot
understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1Cor 2:14).

At best, secular counselors can only help analyze and understand the flesh. Because they don't accept the existence of man's spiritual part, they cannot counsel those with a spiritual need. One needs the Spirit of God to know the mind of God. If you are wrong about a man's nature, you'll be wrong about answers to his problems. Surely natural frustrations must follow this inability to find the real answers to life.

Emotions Respond To What We Are Thinking

 When someone is depressed, we say he has an emotional problem. But emotional problems, except in severe cases of physical abnormality, are caused by improper thinking. Emotions are only responders and have no intellect or intelligence of their own. They cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality or past, present, and future. They merely respond predictably to whatever we are putting in our minds. People watching a horror movie experience fear even knowing there is no real monster in their room. If they know there is no reality to what they're experiencing, why do they feel fear? Because they are thinking frightening thoughts.

Whatever we put in our minds determines our emotions. If we think of a sad situation, we'll feel sad. If we think of an angering situation, we'll feel anger. These things are true regardless of the reality of the thought. The same principles hold true regarding the past or future. Our minds can instantly recall a past situation-for example, an insult. Pondering that will produce an emotion of anger just as real as when the insult first occurred. Once we are in the grip of an emotion, such as anger, we often begin fantasizing and projecting into the future as well.

Our thought processes go something like this: "That bum insulted me" (anger). "Come to think of it, he insulted me last week too" (past thinking, more anger). "As a matter of fact, he's always treated me that way!" (beginning to fantasize, more anger) "Everybody treats me like dirt" (fantasizing, anger, self-pity). "People will always treat me like nothing" (jump to future, fantasizing, self anger, pity) Sustained thinking like this will produce depression. What began as an isolated response in anger has become a state of anger as the mind continues to ponder the insult, remember the past, and project it into fantasies of the future.

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again
to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by
him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15)

God did not create man with the ability to live in guilt or anxiety, but to deal with reality which can be found only in the present. For this reason, Jesus said,

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry
about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:34).

Once we're in an emotional state, we often forget why we're angry but keep the anger: "I'm not mad at anybody. I'm just mad!" A sustained state of destructive emotions will eventually bring destructive effects to the body as well. The medical community recognizes, as never before, the link between our emotions and physical health. Sustained emotional states change our hormonal balances which, in turn, lower our immune systems, making us susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.

The emotional state of anger came about because of angry thoughts. Right thinking, as cultivated by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God in us, will solve that problem. Much secular counseling falls down at this juncture, however. Prescribing drugs is the major therapy used to gain control of emotions. Secular counselors defend this, saying drugs do calm the emotions. That's incorrect. Tranquilizers actually slow down the thinking that slows down the emotions. As soon as the drug wears off, the improper thinking patterns resume and the undesirable emotions return. The real root problems have not been solved. The root of depression can be traced to:

 1.  Unrealistic expectations
2.  Misplaced dependencies

Assuming that depression is an emotional state that stems from improper thinking, we must begin in the mind to find the solution. Paul says,

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2).

In other words, the believer must look at life from God's perspective (Truth), rather than from man's perspective.

A Christian's psychological and emotional problems begin with misunderstanding who God is and who he himself is in Christ. That's why Paul prayed God would give each Christian the power

"to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to
the measure of all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:18-19).

Christians need to ask, "Am I basking in the meaning of God's love for me? Do I understand it was God who took the initiative to reconcile me to Himself?"

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through
Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:18).

To be reconciled to a Holy God means we had to become holy ourselves. Because of His love for us: God took the initiative to pour out His punishment upon the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins

"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much
more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Romans 5:9)

We were guilty and the sentence was death. But Christ Jesus bore all our sins and took all our punishment for us.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1)

and there is nothing to be added to what Christ has done

"And where these have been forgiven, there is no
longer any sacrifice for sin." (Heb. 10:18).

It is all of Christ and none of it is of us. God took the initiative to become sin for us,

"so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21).

We stand, therefore, righteous before God because of His free gift not because of what we do. God took the initiative to justify us. To be justified is to be declared righteous-holy.

"Who will bring any charge against those
whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies" (Rom. 8:33).

Because of our justification, we are

"holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (Col. 1:22).

As a result of these truths, we have free access to come boldly into God's very presence to receive His grace, mercy, love, and total acceptance

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the
curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house
of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and
having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the
hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." (Heb. 10:19-23)

When a believer is not experiencing freedom and joy in his spirit, as Peter states, it can only be that

"he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has
been cleansed from his past sins" (2 Pet. 1:9).

He has forgotten his position in Christ. Someone says, "But I don't feel righteous and holy and acceptable." That's exactly the problem. The Christian should not be led by feelings, but should live by faith. Now,

"faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see" (Heb. 11:1).

Until we are resting our minds on the fact of our position in Christ, we will be neither feeling nor acting like the new creations we have become in Christ Jesus. To begin experiencing the peace and joy of our salvation, we must ask God to open our eyes afresh to His love and grace. We must live our lives according to who God says we are, not according to our feelings. With Paul, we must learn to say,

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body (that is, today),
I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).



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This teaching on depression came from the
"Real Answers" site by Bob George.

Through many years of teaching and counseling Bob George has encountered every conceivable question and issue confronting mankind on his walk through life on Earth.

On his "Real Answers" site, he has addressed many of these questions and he provides hope for you
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