Christian Depression Help – Biblical Encouragement and Advice

by Jack Wellman on April 11, 2011 · Print Print · Email Email

Everyone goes through depression from time to time. It is absolutely normal, even for Christians.  However it becomes a problem when you remain in a state of depression of an extended period of time.  What can a Christian do when they encounter depression?  What advice can we find in the pages of scripture?

What is the Source of Depression?

First of all, there is nothing wrong with being depressed.  It is natural for all people to experience times of depression.  When you are unable to break loose from a prolonged state of depression, you can seek counseling from a licensed Christian counselor or therapist.  They are trained in how to deal with depression and they hold to biblical principles and values so you can find God’s perspective and receive the help you need.  Aside from seeing a counselor or therapist, what particular Bible verses or stories can help a person break free from such a state?

There are several people in the Bible who endured depression and to such an extent where they contemplated suicide.  Of course suicide is never an answer.  It never solves anything.  We can read of others who went through severe depression and they are a veritable “who’s who” of the Bible:  Job (Book of Job), Abraham (Gen. 15), Jeremiah (Book of Jeremiah), Jonah (chapter 4), King Saul (I Sam 16), Elijah (I Kings 19), and even the greatest king that Israel ever had, King David (Book of Psalms).

Depression

Our emotions can change from day to day, but God never changes (Heb 13:8, Malachi 3:6)

Sometimes depres- sion has a physical cause and not an emotional cause.  I used to work as a Mental Health Case Manager and there are brain chemical imbalances that can cause severe depression. These are treatable.  At other times depression can be caused by emotional upheavals.  It’s important to realize that our emotions can not change our state of salvation.  We might have doubts and fears but God’s Word is certain and sure.  We can depend upon God’s unchanging nature; our emotions can change from day to day, but God never changes (Heb 13:8, Malachi 3:6).  His Word gives a believer so much hope and has real power in it to encourage us.

God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you and me (John 3:16).  Why?  Because God loves you unconditionally.  The Psalms are one of the greatest books in the Bible that can help us realize just how much God watches over us and is protecting us.  The Word of God is so full of the reassurance of God’s love.  Read these verses to see exactly what He thinks of you:

Bible Verses To Help With Depression

Zechariah, 2:8: “For this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.”

Deuteronomy 32:10:  “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.”

Psalms 17:8: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings”

Psalm 27:5: “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”

Psalm 36:7: “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Psalm 63:7: “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

Psalm 91:1: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (a fortification, a means of protection or defense).”

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Joshua 1:5: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5b has a similar saying, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Saved vs. Unsaved and Depression

Of course when a person loses a spouse, a child, a close friend or relative, it is natural to go into a state of depression.  This is a fallen world and things go wrong, but a great way to beat depression is to give thanks to God.  This is how King David came out of his depression.  David did not write all of the Psalms, but when you read the Psalms that he did write, you’ll find that they often start out with David being in sheer agony, hopelessness, and even in a state of depression — but keep reading.  David usually ends his Psalms by giving thanks to God: for His salvation, for His faithfulness, for His certain deliverance, for His protection.  We have a hope and a future that the world doesn’t have.  I often feel empathy for those in the world who are not saved.  They have no security in their tomorrows.  They don’t know where their deliverance will come from.  They do not have a God that is watching their back.

When I have experienced depression from time to time, I have sought the advice of others.  One thing that is helpful is to volunteer to help others.  It has harder to be depressed when we are helping others.  Also, find a trusted friend, family member, or a fellow Christian in whom you can confide in and talk with.  Sometimes just talking about your depression can help you identify what the root causes are.  Why not try writing out on a piece of paper the many things that you have to be thankful for (I Thess. 5:18).  These may include having a family, a home, a job, food on your table.  Even the poorest Americans are far richer than the vast majority of the world.  They can not always lay their head down at night safely on a pillow, inside a home, or know where their next meal is coming from.   It is hard to be depressed when we are giving thanks.

Disclaimer: This is not professional advice. If you remain in an extended period of depression, seek medical help, see your doctor, or seek a qualified counselor or therapist. It is believed that depression can be caused by a variety of reasons such as a chemical imbalance in the brain, hormonal changes, brain irregularities or other causes that may be undiagnosed. If you feel suicidal, seek immediate help.

Additional Helpful Internet Resources:

gotquestions GotQuestions.org is a volunteer ministry of dedicated and trained servants who have a desire to assist others in their understanding of God, Scripture, salvation, and other spiritual topics.

Focus on the Family – life challenges Focus on the Family offers one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They also offer referrals for licensed Christian counselors in your area.

Selah Mountain Ministries Biblical Counseling Selah Mountain Ministries offers Biblical Counseling to the community in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They also offer counseling via video conference. They believe that if God gave us His Word as a gift to humanity, it would not be proper to charge someone to share His gift. This means they do not charge for services nor turn anyone away for inability to pay or make a donation.


Resources:

The Holy Bible, New International Version

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

missy May 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Hi…I have been reading wat everyone else has to say an I did the same search as everyone else for a reason. I am 37 almost 38 and I have thought of sucide since I can remember as a young child. I had an aunt at 13 shoot n kill herself….I was 5 or 6 but remember it all. As I got older I didn’t have a good family life at home n had a baby at 14 on my own at 15. I have been used…abused mentally an physically for a long time. Only now its jus mental but feels the same.I’m married 2nd time almost 13 yrs he won’t change but I can’t leave financially. I went to church as a child but not in years. I had a Christian wedding an have considered myself a Christian. But I have not been saved. I have no small children. 1 grandchild…. I think of suicide everyday. My gpa passed 7 mos ago an that did it for me. I never lost anyone before. There r 100′s of other reasons but I won’t get into it all. I’m scared because I don’t care about myself at all anymore an would rather b gone. I’ve tried things but never succeeded as of yet. I’m really worried I may try soon an I want help. Cant get from hubby. I have no one. Wat do u do then? Why won’t god help me? I am on meds but they r not working. Don’t know what else to do.

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Jack Wellman May 30, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Hi Missy and thank you for your transparency here in your comment. I am glad you didn’t do anything drastic. Have you seen your doctor about this? Sometimes it takes a simple diagnosis and it is treatable so got back to your doctor and have your meds readjusted. Tell him that they are not working anymore. He can help change them I am sure. Have you ever spoken with your pastor about this? If so, what did he say? If not, why not? Do you even have a church home? Did you know that the greatest power source you have is the Word of God, the Bible? There is such power and it has the ability to transform the mind (Rom 12:1-3) so use it and tap that source. I am sorry you lost your grandpa, was it? You have no one you say? Why not your pastor? As a pastor, I know that most of them are godly counselors and rely on the Bible and training to give you help.

Why won’t God help you? You must seek help because God helps those who seek out help. God doesn’t just want you to sit alone and go this Christian walk alone. Please don’t consider suicide because what if you are not truly saved? No Christian typically commits suicide. If you do this and are not 100% soundly saved then you will spend eternity forever in a place of torment and regret it forever. Go back to your doctor, talk to your pastor, and read your Bible every day. These three things are your best solution. Please don’t put any of these things off any longer. I will pray for you Missy.

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Lila May 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Dear SOMETHING ELSE,

Suicide is NEVER the answer. The problems we go through in life are common to almost everyone. “Frustration, depression and shameful state” are issues that the Lord Jesus Christ can help you with, but only if you surrender to Him. There is no problem too big or small for the Lord. “Lack of sleep”…the Lord can help you with that but you have to surrender to Him. It sounds to me like you have been reaching out to those around you for help by telling them about your problems, which in my opinion is perfectly fine to do. I’m glad that you have reached out on this website as well. You ask the question “If I end my life will i go to heaven or not?” That’s not for anyone to answer because only the Father knows who are truly His and who are not. See once you become a born again Christian and develop a personal relationship with Christ, you should no longer have the desire to do the sinful things that you once did. God is your heavenly Father, and just like when you were a child and had difficulties or maybe even skinned your knee you would run to mom or dad to cry on their should for comfort and help, you should have the same type of relationship with your Father in heaven.

So lets see….the question you should ask yourself is “do I have a relationship with the Lord?” “Am I truly saved?” “If I were to die right now, where will I go?”

Here’s a quick test. Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain? Jesus said, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Have you looked with lust? Will you be guilty on Judgement Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. The Bible warns that If you are guilty you will end up in Hell.

That’s not God’s will for you. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. You broke God’s law, but Jesus paid your fine. That means He can legally dismiss your case. He can commute your death sentence: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death.

You want to commit suicide, which is murder. But I urge you to please repent (turn from sin) today and trust in Jesus alone, and God will grant you the gift of everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.

The Lord can bring you through this.

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t July 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm

watch one online sermon each day by pastor Joseph prince. NO one preaches the love of god like he does. you will feel so so loved and never feel condemnation…not ever. You can go to this website mentioned or to YouTube.com and type in Joseph Prince. you will fee great afterwards!!

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Jack Wellman July 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm

I appreciate your comment but I must beg to differ on Joseph Prince for many reasons. I could give dozens of reasons why this man is not preaching the true gospel and the whole counsel of God and I must warn that there are many doctrinal errors he teaches and that can lead believers astray. I have about 39 different reasons that this man should not be followed or listened to that have serious implications to the true nature of biblical truth and a serious distortion of the gospel. Here are but a FEW truth-errors:

There is the applicability of Jesus’ teaching to believers. Where Prince maintains that Gospel portions as the Sermon on the Mount are expressions of the Mosaic Law that do not apply to Christians but this is simply not true. If these teachings where not for believers, then why would Jesus even be teaching it?

The validity of exhortation of one another or exhortation for the believers, like in Romans 12 and 1 Cor 13. Prince sees exhortation as legalism. Really? Exhortation is legalism?

The validity of preaching on hell. Prince opposes such preaching or teaching and he won’t put hell in his statement of faith even though Jesus spoke three times as much on the reality of hell as He ever did about heaven.

Self-examination. Prince repeatedly argues against this but the Bible says that we are all to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith or as Paul wrote in 2 Cor 13:5: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” In 1 Corinthians 11:28 “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.” and for anyone that says they stand, take heed, lest the fall (1 Cor 10:12).

Godly sorrow is taught in the Bible but Prince seems to think this is an undesirable, negative experience. Wrong again Prince.

Divine correction. Prince incorrectly maintains that the Lord will only show us our righteous status in justification and never expose sin in our lives but has he ripped out of his own Bible in Heb 12:6 “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” And Proverbs 3:12 “because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

The definition of repentance. This is a very big issue. Many places we are told to repent (which means to turn from our sins) but Prince asserts that repentance is simply changing our minds to believe the good news about grace and has nothing to do with turning from sin. This man needs a good Hebrew and Greek Lexicon and dictionary!

I take no joy in warning others about false gospels but I cannot let this go and must tell you the truth for this is another Gospel (Gal 1: 6-9 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

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