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Sunday, August 12, 2018

What Does The Bible Say About Depression - A Sermon

This is the manuscript of a the sermon that I preached August 12, 2018 at The Church of Divine Guidance, Los Angeles California.  It is follow up to a Tuesday Night Bible Study,
"What Does The Bible Say About Depression?" taught on August 7, 2018.  

It is a subject that I have wanted to talk about for some time.  Because we in the church have been reluctant to talk about depression many of our brothers and sisters have suffered, and others died by their own hands because we have equated depression with some unconfessed sin, and all we have to do is confess and ask God to forgive us and then we can claim all the promises of the Bible that tell us that we shouldn't be depressed.   While hiding sin can certainly be a reason for depression it is certainly not the only, or most prevalent reason for depression.

If you know that you are depressed, think that you are depressed or headed for depression seek professional help.  Look for a Christian mental health professional but if you can’t find a Christian professional, find and go see a mental health professional anyway.    

If you are depressed ask God to deliver and heal you and go get help!!!!

Just like I told them, at Tuesday night Bible Study, I’m going to talk about something today that the church doesn’t like to talk about but we need to talk about it because it affects Christians, and if it affects us then it is addressed in the Bible somewhere. 

It is something that I know a lot about because I lived with someone for over 40 years who had a problem with this and I’ve seen so many of my brothers and sisters who suffer with the same thing.  If we talk about it then with the help of the Holy Spirit we can maybe do something about it.  So today I’m going to talk about depression and what the Bible says about it.

Believe it or not, Christians struggle with depression.

A discussion about depression fits in with Pastor's series on relationship because depression affects our  relationship with God. Just like depression has an affect on the relationship between husband and wife, or between friends, depression can affect the relationship between us and God. 


Definition - a state of feeling sad: a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way

This is from Harvard Health Publications

It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, depression has many possible causes, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.

Here are some symptoms of depression from the Mayo Clinic;

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

Can a Christian Be or Become Depressed?

The church tends to have trouble talking about depression because it’s messy and uncomfortable. Depression is almost never the major theme  of a sermon or a Bible study.  

There are just some things we didn’t talk about in church.  We don’t talk about sex and money for sure and we don’t talk about our hurts and issues because the church culture says that now that we are in Christ everything should be perfect in our lives.  If it’s not, then there is something wrong with our faith.  Because of that people with real issues never talk about them and never deal with them.

Because there has been a prohibition of talking about certain things or not expressing our feelings when we are hurting in certain areas like money, sex or depression, we are often putting lipstick on a pig so to speak.  We are masking how we hurt consequently we don’t get help. 

We’re taught that almost all feelings are unreliable and not to be trusted. It is true that some Christians follow their feelings in an unhealthy, unbiblical way. It is more common, however, to encounter Christians who do not believe they have permission to admit their feelings or express them openly. This applies especially to such “difficult” feelings as fear, sadness, shame, anger, hurt, pain, and depression.  And yet, how can we listen to what God is saying and evaluate what is going on inside when we cut ourselves off from our emotions?

The pressure to present an image of ourselves as strong and spiritually “together” hovers over most of us. We feel guilty for not measuring up, for not making the grade. We forget that not one of us is perfect and that we are all sinners.

I use to hear some old preachers and church mothers talking about the church being a hospital.   Well if you can’t talk about your sickness what kind of hospital is it?  Is it only one that deals with the common cold or a stubbed toe and not drug addiction or sex addiction, or depression?

What we often hear is that if a person is dealing with depression, it's because of some unconfessed sin that needs to be dealt with. While that's true sometimes that's not always the case.

The church has a problem talking about depression because we somehow believe that Christians should not get depressed.   Talking about it can be uncomfortable because many of our church leaders don’t know a lot about it so we in the church don’t talk about it. 

The fact is that we do have people who are depressed and with other issues who never talk about them.  The church should be a place of healing but it is often a place of cover up.  When people don’t address their issues what happens is somebody eventually finds out and it becomes rumor and gossip, the leadership finds out about it and asks that they step down from leadership or leave until the problem is solved, or they just leave because they can no longer keep up the charade. In some severe cases they may even attempt to or succeed in taking their own lives.

Let me let you in on a little secret.  If you’re a Christian and you’re depressed you’re in good company.   There are many examples of people in scripture, even some of our spiritual heroes who exhibited signs of depression.

We all know about Job so there is no surprise there.
Job suffered through great loss, devastation, and physical illness

Job 3:11, 26 NIV“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?  I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”


One time the people were complaining about having to eat manna every day they wanted something else so they complained  They complained a lot.  Moses was obviously frustrated said;

Numbers 11:14-15 (NLT2)14  I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!15  If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”


After his victory in the great cook-off with the prophets of Baal when Jezzabell said that she was gonna get him;
1 Kings 19:3-4 (NLT2)3  Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.4  Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”


He asked to be thrown out of the boat, knowing that he wouldn’t survive;

Jonah 1:12 (NLT2)  “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”


The great prophet Jeremiah wrestled with great loneliness, feelings of defeat, and insecurity.

Jeremiah 20:14, 18 NIV Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!  Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?


David was troubled and battled deep despair. In many of the Psalms, he writes of his anguish, loneliness, fear of the enemy, his heart-cry over sin, and the guilt he struggled with because of it.  In the 150 Psalms, most of them written by David 59 of them are some type of lament, meaning sorrow or despair.  

Psalm 13:1-6 NIV How long, Lord ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?  Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,  and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing the Lord's praise, for he has been good to me.

Psalm 42:5, 11 NIV Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 43:5 NIV Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.


2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT2)8  We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.9  In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

Here’s the shocker


Wait a minute you say well let me read something to you.

Hebrews 2:14, 16-18 NIV Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Even Jesus Himself was deeply anguished over what lay before Him.

Mark 14:34-36 NIV “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”  Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba,  Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

The Bible says that so great was his anguish, that he sweat “drops of blood.”

Luke 22:44 NIV And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground

What’s true about all of these men and stories I talked about today and many others is this: God was with them.  He was close, he was near.

Psalm 34:18 NIV The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

He was there in the good days and in the dark days too. He didn’t condemn them for their questions and pain. He didn’t tell them to just tough it out. He reached down to their deepest pit of suffering, and lifted them out.
He cared.
He showed compassion.
He offered mercy.
He brought hope.
He instilled purpose.
He gave victory.

Although a tragic event can trigger it  depression is usually not brought on by one thing.  

Here are a few signs that you may be headed for a crash:

Sign 1 An Unrealistic Pace

We are always rushing from one thing to another one deadline after another, a long to do list and everything has to get done today. 

When we are operating at an unrealistic pace we have no intimacy in our relationship with God because we don’t spend time with Him.  We are always in a hurry working for God, and not spending time with Him.    When anybody criticizes us or pulls our coattail about our pace we get angry and say stuff like; “The devil never takes a day off”.  Well “I’m not sure the devil is supposed to be your example.

Work for God that is not nourished by a deep interior life with God will eventually be contaminated by other things such as ego, power, needing approval from others, and buying into the wrong ideas of success and the mistaken belief that we can’t fail. We become “human doings” not “human beings.” Our sense of worth and validation gradually shifts from God’s unconditional love for us in Christ to our works and performance.

In the Ten Commandments the commandment that God spent the most time addressing was the one on rest. 

Exodus 20:8-11 (HCSB)8  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9  You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11  For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

Sign 2 Unrealistic Expectations of Others

When we are depressed we often put the blame on  others and are angry at them for the way we feel.

It’s easier to blame somebody else than ourselves.  They are the ones with the problem not us.  That’s the way depressed people act sometimes and I can tell you that it’s true I have firsthand experience. We should stop asking God to change the other person, because He won’t in most cases, but ask Him to change us and our attitude.  If we always maintain a victim mentality always blaming others we will never walk in the victory that Jesus promises.

Sign 3 An Unrealistic View on Life

If we don’t do anything differently things will not change and we will stay in our depression or state of anxiety.  Depression and anxiety do happen but they don’t just pass like the season.  If we think that depression is just a season and it will pass then we have a serious problem.  We must go through it.  But we don’t have to go through it alone.   We have God who said that He would never leave us or forsake us.  Even when things look insurmountable.  

Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB) Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:5 (HCSB) No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5 (HCSB) Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.

Sign 4 An Unrealistic Desire to Be Liked by Everyone

Well everybody is not going to like you so don’t sweat it.  Everybody didn’t like Jesus and we can’t let what others think about us dominate our lives we should be seeking the approval of God and not man.  

Psalm 118:6-7 NIV The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

Getting off the Collision Course

If you are headed for a crash it’s probably because of a combination of two things.  1) Something bad happened to you, and you are still carrying that baggage and you need to deal with it and 2) Choices you have made. We have to accept responsibility for our choices.  

How Do We Deal With Our Depression?

Denial Doesn't Help It Hurts - Rather than denying that we are depressed or anxious we should face it and address it.

Realizing That We can’t do life alone - We were not made to be alone remember in Genesis what God said about Adam?

Genesis 2:18 (HCSB) Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.”

When Jesus was facing his crucifixion that night in the garden of Gethsemane he took Peter, James and John with Him so that he was not alone.

Matthew 26:36-37 (HCSB) 36  Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37  Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

We Must Address What’s Broken on the Inside of Us - When we reach the point that we understand that our problems are often times of our own making, then we are on the way to conquering them.  Many times our problems are because of things out of our control but most often they are of our own making.  In those cases relief can come through repentance.  God’s desire is to take us through the dark times in our lives.  We should ask God to show us what was wrong inside us.   For us it may be pride, greed, sexual immorality, or other things but if we ask God to show us He will and He will even show us how to make the changes that we need to make. We just need to do them when He does show us. 

Situations that cause stress anxiety, and depression are real and here to stay until Jesus comes back. 

John 16:33 (NKJV) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 

Always remember these two things:

Believe That God is Holy and Good - Focus on God and His character.  We know that God never changes.  We change but God never changes and His character doesn’t change. 

 Numbers 23:19 NIV God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

James 1:16-17 NIV Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Believe His Promises - God is always with us and He has more power than anything that we may come up against

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

The Bible frequently discusses methods to deal with and overcome feeling depressed in the face of hardship and suffering.
As I said earlier;

Psalm 34:18 NIV The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

If you are depressed or think that you are depressed or headed toward depression keep these things in mind.
  • Denial Doesn’t Help It Hurts.  
  • We can’t do life alone
  • We Must Address What’s Broken on the Inside of Us

I know there are some people who still have trouble with the idea that someone who is truly a follower of Jesus could struggle with depression. If that’s the case for you, I would simply encourage you to read your Bible—and not just the uplifting stories but also the parts where it gets so real and raw that we squirm a bit.

If you know that you are depressed, think that you are depressed or headed for depression seek professional help.  Look for a Christian mental health professional but if you can’t find a Christian professional, find and go see a mental health professional anyway.

I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or trained counselor so I urge you to not try to deal with depression yourself without the help of a trained professional.

Our ultimate faith and trust is to be in God.  Doctors and other healthcare professionals can be viewed as God’s gift to us, a means through which God brings healing and recovery. Depression is an illness, or health care issue just like pneumonia, high blood  pressure, diabetes, or cancer.  If anybody has one of those conditions we tell them to pray but go to the doctor.

As with all difficult decisions, we should seek God who promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it.

James 1:5-8 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

●          Denial Doesn’t Help It Hurts.
●          We can’t do life alone
●          We Must Address What’s Broken on the Inside of Us

 If you are depressed ask God to deliver and heal you and get help!!!!

Romans 15:13 NIV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon Audio