Years ago I had been a believer for about two years and was drowning in depression. I was talking to my sister about this depression and she point blank asked me if there was sin in my life. Why, yes, actually. There was something I was doing that I felt convicted about but was doing anyways. Because I was depressed. Because God felt so far away.
It is a vicious cycle. Life often disappoints. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” A sick heart, a.k.a. depression, can make us lose sight of the goodness of God and lead us to turn away, fueled by a lack of trust, and a feeling that we have to meet our own needs. The more we harden our hearts towards God the less we feel his gentle leading and the more lost in depression we get.
Sin hardens the heart. Hebrews 3:13 Sin acts as a suffocating blanket that smothers our prayers. Psalm 66:18 Sin acts like a dam that blocks the joy of the Lord and leaves us weak. Sin keeps us from being the pure vessel that God can use to bring reconciliation, healing, and salvation to others.
My advice- keep short accounts and a clear conscience before God. Don’t let hopelessness set in. Take your disappointments to God. Pray often that God would work in you the willingness to obey, a heart that trusts, and a growing faith.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” Acts 3:19
Any downward spiral can be halted immediately. “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:7
Unconfessed sin is not, obviously, the only cause of depression. But it is a biggie. For me, virtually every time I find myself succumbing to a cloud of depression it is because there is something off in my relationship with God. Like a kink in a hose. Locate it, get it straightened out, and the joy and peace bursts forth.
Depression may by a red flag, an invaluable warning. Don’t treat the symptom. Address the root.
Remember a tree doesn’t toil to produce fruit. it just acts in accordance with it’s nature and draws it’s strength from it’s roots.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“Jesus, helps us to be your pure vessels here. Help us to keep our hearts soft in responsiveness to your gentle leading. Enable us to discern and heed your voice. We ask that you would renew in us the JOY of our salvation. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and fill us with fresh hope. Amen.”