“Sin’s Connection to Anxiety & Depression” June 11

 

DepressionAre you or is someone you love struggling with depression or anxiety? Does the Bible have anything to say about those issues? Is it ever connected to sin in our lives?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 72.17-20
Proverbs 18.14-15
John 19.1-22

 

Sin’s Connection to Anxiety & Depression

 

Proverbs 18.14-15:

Verse 14, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?”

As human beings, we are able to withstand great physical and circumstantial difficulties. And as believers, who better understand how to respond to those difficulties, all the more so.

But when we lose hope (Prov. 13.12) or are undergoing spiritual pressure, even lesser problems can seem too much to bear.

depressionCertainly spiritual pressure can be the enemy’s attempt to get us to quit when we are walking in obedience or stepping out in faith. That’s one reason why Scripture tells us to encourage one another (1 Thess. 5.11) and why we are not to forsake coming together with other believers, including church attendance and fellowship. Hebrews 10.23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

But spiritual pressure can also come from God Himself as He deals with us regarding sin. Hebrews 12.5-11:

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

While I don’t want to imply that all depression has a sinful cause, sin can result in increased spiritual pressure, depression, and anxiety.

 

Mike Wilkerson in his book Redemption says that we are all fellow sufferers and fellow sinners. Sometimes it’s us who sins and sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others. But even when the initial sin wasn’t ours, we often respond sinfully. Sometimes with fear and worry, sometimes with anger and bitterness, sometimes we turn to alcohol, drugs, food or some other false god instead of turning to God. 

Sinful responses to our circumstances or the sins of others only leads to increased difficulties, along with a variety of negative feelings: anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and often, depression and anxiety. The initial reason for our feelings may not have been our own sin, but if our responses are sinful, we compound the problem. On the other hand, responding biblically to the events of life can allow us to experience God’s peace and joy in spite of our circumstances.

So, as Matthew Henry says in his commentary, “It is therefore wisdom to keep conscience void of offence.”

We are called to respond like Christ:

22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Pet. 2.22-23).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

The Righteous Judge of the Universe

2 Kings 9 & 10:

Chapter 9.8-10:

8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free. 9 So I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. 10 The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.’” And [the prophet] opened the door and fled.

Thus begins a time of great judgment on Ahab’s descendants, their allies, and those who followed him and Jezebel in the worship of Baal.

Even though God is love – that is – it’s His very nature, He is also the righteous Judge of the universe. In His mercy He gives many opportunities for people to repent and change, but He does eventually judge evil. We must also remember that He knows the end from the beginning and the hearts of every man, woman and child. So when His judgment comes, we must know that it is always just and right.

 

A Hymn of Praise

Psalm 72.17-20:

praise worship

The Psalms are organized into 5 books or divisions. This is the last psalm in Book II and ends with this doxology or hymn of praise:

18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.

 

Don’t Answer a Fool According to his Folly

John 19.1-22:

As the events leading up to the crucifixion continue, Jesus is brought before Pilate who mistakenly believes Jesus’ fate rests in his hands. In verses 9-10 he can’t believe Jesus won”t answer his question:

“But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?'”

Jesus knew who was really in control:

“You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above …”

As I quoted a minute ago, He simply, “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

There is another principle at work here, as well. Proverbs 26.4-5 says:

young asian couple having an argument. arguing“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes” (NASB).

We are not to respond to a fool by acting or speaking like him. When that happens all you have is two fools talking to each other. But on the other hand, we are not necessarily to let the other person believe he or she is right, if they are clearly and biblically wrong, as in this case with Pilate.

For example, if a person is threatening divorce, how might the spouse respond? First, he should examine himself (Matt. 7.3-5) and take responsibility for his part in the problem. He should seek forgiveness in genuine repentance. But if he has done that, and the other spouse continues to threaten divorce, he could say something like, “Honey, that would make me very sad, but I know God would give me the grace to get through it.” The same kind of answer might be appropriate in other situations.

While Jesus wasn’t concerned about defending Himself personally, he didn’t allow Pilate to believe he was the one in control. When it feels like the whole world is against us, we must not be tempted to believe our fate is in the hands of the wicked. God is in control and He is, sometimes almost imperceptibly, working His plan. Jeremiah 29.11:

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

And like Him, we should lovingly point others back to God, His sovereignty, and His grace.

 

What about you? Questions to ponder or journal:

journalHave you been experiencing some emotions that need to be examined in light of Scripture? Is there a sin issue at the root? If so, go to God in humility and repentance.

Or is there an area where you are seeking to go God’s way and feel continuously beaten down and discouraged? Get into God’s Word in a greater way. Use a concordance to find verses that apply to your situation. Memorize one or two and meditate on them throughout the day. Paul said, “faith (the faith to persevere and stay strong) comes by reading, studying, and internalizing God’s truth (Rom. 10.17; Phil. 4.8).

Blessings,
Donna

 

Featured Resources:

Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry by Mike Wilkerson

Exodus is a real story about God redeeming his people from the bondage of slavery and how their difficult journey home exposed their loyalties—though wounded by Egypt, they had come to worship its gods. Most Christians don’t make golden idols like the Israelites in the wilderness, but we do set up idols on our own desert road—idols like substance abuse, pornography, gluttony, and rage. And even those who don’t know the pain of actual slavery can feel enslaved to the fear and shame that follow sexual abuse or betrayal by a spouse, for we suffer at the hands of our idols as well as those created by others. We need more than self-improvement or comfort—we need redemption.

Redemption is not a step-oriented recovery book; it’s story-oriented and Bible-anchored. It unfolds the back-story of redemption in Exodus to help Christians better understand how Christ redeems us from the slavery of abuse, addiction and assorted trouble and restores us to our created purpose, the worship of God. Readers will discover that the reward of freedom is more than victory over a habitual sin or release from shame; it is satisfaction and rest in God himself.


Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Ed Welch

Where Is God in the Struggle? Looking away from despair towards hope can feel risky. What if God doesn’t come through for you? What if you don’t feel instantly better? Instead of offering simple platitudes or unrealistic “cure-all” formulas, Edward T. Welch addresses the complex nature of depression with compassion and insight, applying the rich treasures of the gospel, and giving fresh hope to those who struggle. Originally published as Depression: A Stubborn Darkness Light for the Path, this new edition is updated with added content.

 

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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.

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