Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #237 of the Bible 2021 podcast.  We are reading Psalms 42-43 today and our focus is on  How To Counsel Yourself When You Are Depressed. Can Christians Be Depressed? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new in listeners in Al Qahira, Egypt, Victoria, Australia, Ceara, Brazil, Scotland, UK, Gujarat, India, Stockholm, Sweden, Kingston,Jamaica, Seattle, Washington, Monterey, California, New York, New York,  HhoHho, Swaziland which is the only word I know with two double ‘h’s!   Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Depression is a serious and debilitating issue, and I want to talk today about a biblical truth that can and might help, but do not mistake me…I am not offering a biblical cure-all for depression. Depression is complex, can have a variety of causes that could be physical, mental, emotional, situational, spiritual, or some combination thereof. Let’s tackle briefly our first question – can a Christian even be depressed? Let’s ask Psalm 42:6

I am deeply depressed. Psalm 42:6a

And the answer is a solid and resounding yes. This writer of Scripture, one of the sons of Korah, was not only depressed, but deeply depressed! We see many mighty men and women of God in Scripture that have all the signs of depression, though I do recognize that diagnosing a historical figure is not wholly legitimate. Here are two more examples of Biblical characters that were probably wrestling with some form of depression:

 1. ELIJAH – 1 Kings 19 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods punish me and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow!”3 Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there,4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.

2. JEREMIAH Jeremiah 20: 14 May the day I was born be cursed. May the day my mother bore me never be blessed. 15 May the man be cursed who brought the news to my father, saying, “A male child is born to you,”bringing him great joy. 16 Let that man be like the cities the Lord demolished without compassion.Let him hear an outcry in the morning and a war cry at noontime 17 because he didn’t kill me in the womb so that my mother might have been my grave, her womb eternally pregnant. 18 Why did I come out of the womb to see only struggle and sorrow, to end my life in shame?

Those words strike me as not only the words of a depressed person, but also the words of somebody who is wrestling with suicidal ideation, and these are 2 of the major prophets in the Bible! I think there’s really no question about it that a genuine follower of God, even a mature one, can sometimes or often wrestle with depression.

Depression is a key theme of both of today’s Psalms, and, in fact, both Psalms end by asking the same two questions:

Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil? (Psalms 42 and Psalms 43) 

One other big question: Can a Christian feel like God has rejected them? Absolutely – we see it today:

Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about in sorrow
because of the enemy’s oppression? Psalm 43:2 

We see one thing in today’s passage that might help those wrestling with depression. A type of self-counseling. We see it in at least four places in both Psalms today. The Psalmist states the problem -what he is wrestling with, and then he states the response to such feelings of depression:

Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5

I am deeply depressed;
therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan
and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.  Psalm 42:6

Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

Why, my soul, are you so dejected?
Why are you in such turmoil?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him,
my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 

Brothers and sisters: we must follow the example of the Psalmist today and speak encouraging truth to ourselves when we are in turmoil and struggling with depression. So often, when depression comes, we add to it by speaking harmful and hurtful things, making hopeless statements to ourselves that only serve to further tear us down. We should edify others, and edify ourselves with our words and thoughts! We can take the commands of Ephesians 4:29 and apply them to our own thoughts and words to ourselves:

29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 

Don’t tear yourself down and don’t speak hopeless words in your thoughts, but remind yourself of the goodness of God in the same way our psalmist does today. Let me be clear: I’m not talking about the power of positive thinking, or something along those lines. I’m not talking about saying words of affirmation to yourself, or trying to manifest greatness in your life with mantras and positive statements. Most of that stuff is pseudo-psychology that is shallow at best. Instead, recognize your feelings, as we see in our Psalms…grapple with them, and then speak truth to yourself. Yes, says the Psalmist, I feel dejected – yes, I feel rejected, but I am going to tell myself to still HOPE in God and praise Him.

This is not the ONLY way a Christian should grapple with depression – never fight such a battle alone. But, this is ONE way – a God-ordained and Scriptural way -that you can stand against difficult situations and depressed and hopeless thoughts and feelings. Preach the Word to yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord your God – be like David:

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6, KJV. 

Let’s read our passage.

Bible Memory verses for the month of August: Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A church in North Salinas, California.

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