Overcoming Depression

It is important for believers to know that negative emotions are not wrong per se.  We do read in Scripture of the strong painful emotion our Lord faced in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Paul revealed his depressing emotion in 2 Cor 1:8 that the affliction he suffered caused him to despair of life. Paul actually felt it was a death sentence but he was quick to realize the affliction was to make him rely on God instead of himself.  And God did deliver him giving him further assurance that God would deliver again. 2 Cor 1:9-10.

There is difference between circumstantial and clinical depression. One is triggered by circumstances like low self-esteem, abuse, loss of loved ones, divorce, or loss of job, etc, while the other is caused by physical disorder.

Clinical depression is just like any illness which need medical attention. As God is sovereign and all healing is divine healing, it is ok to seek medical treatment.

As for circumstantial depression, we read of how Paul and his missionary companions came out of it. They stayed rooted in God’s promises overriding their emotions with faith in our Lord – that trials are part and parcel of life, knowing nothing can separate the love of our Lord from them, and looking forward to the coming glory.

If one’s hope is on his achievement, career, loved ones or marriage and when these things turn negative, he will see failed hope and negative emotions will surface reacting to this failed hope.  But if this hope is placed on the coming glory, then no suffering is worth comparing to the coming glory as Paul reasoned.  Rom 8:18.

Feelings of depression can abate when one moves the focus from himself to Christ our Lord and others. Joining a support group and helping others more unfortunate can help him to shift focus away from himself.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalms 23 ESV

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

The Church And Civil Government

Both the church and civil government are institutions ordained and accountable separately to God.

The responsibility of the church is to preach the gospel, teach and nurture the souls of the disciples.  The responsibility of the civil government is to govern society and enterprise, raise and spend taxes accordingly, protect the life and property of her citizens, and also protect against foreign aggression.  The state is given the power of the sword by God so we can say the government is also a minister of God, while the church is given the power of the gospel to transform lives.  Rom 13:1-7.

Problem starts when the state behaves as God and tamper with God’s universal laws.  And the church behaves as the state in deciding how the state should spend the taxes responsibly or irresponsibly, or how the state should administer this program or that.  Both are accountable to God for their given roles so let God hold them accountable separately.  The church will be making a wrong turn to act on behalf of God to hold the state accountable for her given roles.

Christians honor their Lord by obeying His commandments to submit and obey the civil authorities and pray for them so that all can live tranquil and quiet lives. 1 Tim 2:2.  The only exception is when we are made to obey laws denigrating God’s honor and glory.  Daniel and his 3 friends served well in the government and were commended and they only disobeyed when they were forced to dishonor or disobey God.

Will God’s laws be changed and we end up prosecuted for non compliance; and our religious freedom to share the gospel be curtailed ?  These are concerns we weigh on in praying and voting for the civil government, as they affect our quiet lives to discharge our Christian duty.