Dealing with a Spirit of Depression

Dealing with a Spirit of Depression

Most of us will experience a spirit of depression during our lives. Common trials that make us susceptible to a spirit of depression are: - Death or serious illness of a friend or family member - Loss of love or attention from a friend or family member - Breakup of a romantic relationship - Family problems, especially parents’ divorce - Isolation/loneliness (nursing homes are full of such people) - Rejection - Physical, verbal, and/or sexual abuse - Hormonal changes - Chronic illness or disease - Stress.

Some of these common trials may cause us to grieve, which is a healthy emotion. I’m not talking about grief. I’m talking about a spirit of depression that changes a personality to the same degree that the Holy Spirit changes a personality.

Medications can induce feelings of depression. Certain types of blood pressure medicine list “mood swings” as a possible side-effect. Substance abuse with legal drugs or illegal drugs creates a “high” followed by a despondent “crash” as the drug wears off. But these are temporary feelings of depression that will leave after a person recovers from the drug.

A spirit of depression can attack anyone, even vibrant, faith-filled believers. Jeremiah, Elijah, Paul, and others battled this spirit.

King David described his battle with a spirit depression and despair in Psalm 42. Notice the battle he is having.

Psalm 42 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon--from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me--a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

David is describing something every follower of Jesus faces at some point, whether it is from a personal loss, a physical condition, or a demonic attack. No Christian brings it on himself, nor does the Lord send it. When we are weak or hurting, Satan sends this spirit of depression to us. We need to know how to discern it and how to deal with it.

On the other hand, we can make ourselves vulnerable to a spirit of depression by sinning. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit, robbing us of joy, and makes us vulnerable to attacks from the enemy. We need to know how to deal with it in this situation as well.

The symptoms commonly observed in a person, who is being attacked by a spirit of depression, are:

An Expressionless voice: A person suffering from depression may sound bored and uninterested in just about everything, even things he usually enjoys.

Appetites are disrupted: By the look of many of us, one could assume we have never suffered a moment of depression. However, people suffering from depression often eat despite the loss of appetite, because food becomes a “comfort”. Other appetites for normal activities such as sex, work, and recreation are lackluster during attacks from a spirit of depression.

A sense of Emptiness: The spirit of depression sucks the desire to engage with life right out of the soul, leaving its victim feeling empty! Emptiness can lead to thoughts of suicide. Jeremiah felt empty – he got to the point of feeling sorry he’d ever been born. Job also cursed the day of his birth. Another example is Elijah, the prophet, who sat under a juniper tree and didn’t want to participate in life; he didn’t want to eat, drink or move. His plan was to sit there and die. Many formerly active people, who have become “couch potatoes”, may be depressed. Some don’t even want to get out of bed or get dressed.

A sense of Worthlessness: It is a deep, dark feeling that you don't matter, and nobody cares. You don’t even like yourself and feel unworthy of love. In this pit, it seems God can’t love you either. In this condition, you are an easy target for Satan’s lies, but you don’t care, your life doesn’t matter.

A sense of Hopelessness: The disciples on the Road to Emmaus felt hopeless – they thought it was all over. What is the use for going on? Jesus was dead, and they were part of His group, so they would probably be hunted-down and killed too.

There are many more symptoms, but let’s move on to how to deal with a spirit of depression.

Usually, people deny the reality of a spirit of depression. They don’t believe such a spirit exists because psychologists have declared depression a disease. Therefore, they just need some medicine to make them feel better, but they don’t get delivered from the spirit.

Some people try “drowning” their depression to deaden the pain. This takes the form of drug abuse, drunkenness, binge eating, and etc. These acts result in a deeper depression.

There are Biblical solutions for dealing with a spirit of depression and they are often the last solutions that people try. Understanding depression as a spiritual attack is the key, because spiritual problems require Scriptural answers.

In the case of sin, the primary need we have in overcoming a spirit of depression is repentance. Sin also generates guilt, which creates the depressed feeling David expressed: Why are you downcast, O my soul?

God will answer that prayer and show us the sin that makes our soul downcast. As we confess our sin, repent, and begin praising the LORD, Jesus delivers us from depression.

Praising the LORD sounds very simple, but while we are under attack by a spirit of depression, it can be very difficult to do. Praising the LORD seems hypocritical and ineffective. Nevertheless, in spite of our feelings, we must purposefully offer the LORD a sacrifice of praise in the simplest form we can muster. (Begin with “Thank you for forgiving and delivering me” or “I love you” or “You alone are worthy”)

In praise and worship, our minds are taken off ourselves, our sin, and our problems. The results of confession, repentance, and praise are: the joy of the Lord, the joy of our salvation, and the peace of God return as we focus on Jesus, our Savior and Deliverer.

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Regardless of the event that made us vulnerable to a spirit of depression, there are several lessons we can learn from these verses to help deal with a spirit of depression.

1. Patiently wait on the LORD every morning. Ask Him to deliver you from emotional, mental, or relational “pits”, created by a spirit of depression. Waiting on the LORD requires faith that God is greater than any problem, and confidence that He is in the process of delivering you. In the midst of this battle, He is giving you a firm place to stand by drawing you closer to Himself through prayer, His Word, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

2. While you are waiting, praise God in advance for His power, His deliverance, and His plan to lift you out of the “slimy pit” of depression. He always finds a way when there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. Praise Him with “a new song” of faith and love instead of listening to the “sad song” of self-pity in your head, and soon you will feel much better.

3. Rebuke the spirit of depression in the Name of Jesus and thank God for working in your life. Not only will the Lord deliver you, but He will bring others to Himself as a result of your experience of deliverance. God is using you to display His mighty power, grace, and glory. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in your weakness.

4. Don’t waste your sorrows. We gain new understanding, wisdom, and maturity as a result of our pit experiences. Take your mind off your troubles and go on the offensive. Attack the spirit of depression by doing something for others. Proclaim Jesus, share the Gospel. Focus on Christ, not self, and help others who are depressed. Share what you have learned and how God delivered you from a spirit of depression. We are able to comfort others with the same comfort we receive from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

There are other things we can do to deal with a spirit of depression, since it affects our whole being—body, soul, and spirit.

5. While there are physical benefits even for unbelievers from diet, exercise, and rest, they are also part of God’s plan for a believer’s physical and spiritual health. We do not wage war in the flesh; however, this is a defensive tactic. When our body is healthy, we are less susceptible to a spirit of depression.

1Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

6. Family life and church-family are God designs to help us deal with depression. Most of the pictures we see, which are representative of depressed people, are pictures of persons alone! Even God said, when He created Adam, that it was not good for the man to be alone. If you don’t have an understanding family at home, turn to your church-family and open up to someone about the depression you are experiencing.

7. Remember God loves you. The attack from a spirit of depression is not from Him.

Therefore, run to Him in prayer for grace to overcome the spirit of depression. You can talk to God about your feelings of failure. You can tell Him about your despair over your sins and foolish mistakes.

Our Lord invites that, and He will always be tender with us in our contrite condition. If the Holy Spirit shows us that we have allowed a spirit of depression to attack because we have sinned, confess your sin and repent, but never entertain the thought that God has abandoned you. That is a lie from the enemy.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

When you’re attacked by a spirit of depression from a great loss in your life, you probably don’t feel like praying. You may be blaming God for the loss. Don’t worry about trying to pray in your own strength. Just go to the Father for comfort and the grace you need. The Holy Spirit will intercede for you.

The first thing the Spirit does is expose Satan’s lies.

John 14:26-27 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

That is the work of the Holy Spirit. He undoes the lies of the enemy and brings encouragement from the Word of God. Believe the good things the Word tells you.

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Our Lord has a wonderful plan for every child of His that loves Him. And no satanic attack against us can ever alter those plans. God knows the sorrows, struggles, and pain we face each day— yet He also knows the glorious things He has laid out for us.

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

God will deliver us from a spirit of depression if we will wait on Him, praise Him, and thank Him in all circumstances. Learn how to effectively please the Lord in everything and bear fruit in every circumstance of life. As we do these things, we will get closer to the LORD, gain knowledge and wisdom, and fulfill His purpose for our life.

But right now, you may be in a time of utter despair due to a spirit of depression. You are suffering from a great loss or a gross sin and you don’t know where to turn. Whether you know it or not, you are in the best place you can be. You are in a place where you can to turn to Jesus, confess to Jesus, and trust in Jesus. He is your Savior and Deliverer. It is only through Jesus that we can properly deal with a spirit of depression.

2 Corinthians 1:7-11 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

The LORD will deliver you from a spirit of depression that causes you to despair over the things you are suffering. Call on Him. Praise Him.

Furthermore, you don’t have to battle the spirit of depression alone. The LORD also wants you to let His Church help you through prayer. For we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against a demonic spirit. Let us pray for you today.

On the other hand, maybe you are here and you are not a child of God. Don’t leave here in this condition. You can experience the greatest deliverance of all time. You can be saved from your sin, the devil, and an eternity in Hell.

You say “How is that possible?”

Well, if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who atoned for your sin on the cross, repent of your sin and make a public confession of your faith in Jesus. Die to your old life through baptism so you can be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will fill you with the joy of the Lord.