You may know a Christian who has faced depression, but what can cause this profound lack of joy? Christians experience inner joy as they walk with God, having their spirit refreshed every day. It’s a dichotomy for a child of God to face depression, but it’s fairly common.
Someone can appear to be doing everything right, participating in Christian activities, but we cannot thoroughly know the heart, only God sees this. If a relationship with Jesus is forsaken, then a void exists in the heart, and burdens can be many.
Values of God are learned, studying his Word is a life long journey as the Holy Spirit continually reveals mysteries and secrets, according to each individual’s level of spiritual understanding. If someone neglects to put forth effort toward learning God’s values, then they probably believe they are saved no matter what, and in turn, walk through life performing religious duties, thinking this pleases God.
People in that boat are Christian zombies, trying to do what they think is right, but the effort is derived from the carnal person, which can never please God. Outside of church, they generally live the same as people who want nothing to with God, enjoying the same sinful pleasures.
There are basically two requirements God expects of people, a close relationship with him and obedience. Whether or not a person goes to heaven, depends on if they know Jesus. Did they draw close to him and submit to his wisdom, or were they walking through the motions just appearing to be faithful, while the heart was elsewhere?
This situation can easily lead into depression, because although Jesus appears to be in the forefront, the heart is with the world. The only way we can live in obedience to God is with a new heart, and this can only be accomplished through Jesus, forming a loving friendship and allowing him to be our Lord. This is when the Holy Spirit empowers us.
As we learn to walk with God, trusting him as our leading partner with everything, he carries our burdens, providing us freedom to give his Kingdom high priority. This is how it was meant to be, and then God‘s peace resides in the heart, providing inner joy that lasts through anything, except sin.
Disobedience can take away our joy, allowing depression to move in, so we need to be cautious with what we allow our thoughts to dwell on and saver, because this sways the heart. It is reckless to allow lust, pride, selfishness, jealousy, or greed into the heart, these destructive cancers form a wedge that fractures our relationship with God.
The whole world is full of sinful enticements, but we are required to use wisdom and discipline, endeavoring to live by God’s values, which leads to holiness. This is only possible because we’ve been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, allowing the Spirit to create a new heart within, as we learn to walk in faith.
This isn’t walking in blind obedience, rather we obey Jesus because we love him, and if we didn’t love him then we surely wouldn’t be right with God. Our only doorway to the Father is through Jesus, not just to receive him as Savior, but to love him as a friend, Lord, brother, King, teacher, and leader.
It’s heartbreaking that so many Christians allow worldly enticements to draw them away from God. He won’t share our heart with the world, he requires our whole heart. If we are half heartedly following God, then we are half heartedly conforming to the world.
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
Matthew 6:24 NLT
Fortunately, the Spirit doesn’t easily give up on a wayward Christian, but ultimately, failing to turn from disobedience is a huge risk, in the beyond Jesus may say, “I don’t know you, depart from me”. Nothing could be worse than that, because it would be forever. If we choose to live estranged to the Lord now, then in the beyond, that choice will be forever. It is much better to draw close to Jesus, and experience the love of God. Depression cannot dwell in a heart that is filled with God‘s love, it’s like turning on the light switch, darkness cannot remain.
“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT
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