In part 1 of these series, I talked about depression and its spiritual root, gave some biblical examples of spiritual depression, and told you the 8 common causes of depression.
In this article, I’ll be showing you 8 possible spiritual cure for depression.
1. Keep Studying the Word
When the blackness of spiritual depression is heavy upon your soul, you may not sense a hearty appetite for Scripture, but you must sit yourself at the table anyway.
While intentional Bible reading is not the only means God will use to lift the veil, it is indispensable, and it must be used together with other means.
Remember that David, who more than once cried out to God in mind-numbing despair also confessed that God’s word “restores the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
To pursue a way out of your spiritual woes apart from Scripture will either lead to greater trouble or set you on a trajectory of unstable experientialism. So stay with the Word of God (Bible).
2. Remain in Church
Most times when people are going through get alone with God. Although this sounds good, it can be wrongheaded and dangerous.
Although time alone with Jesus is essential, our Savior does not intend to remedy our troubles by removing us from the community of believers. Rather, he has given us brothers and sisters and pastors for our joy and to help us persevere in the faith (Phil. 1:27; Heb. 3:12-15).
3. Immerse Yourself in the Gospel
When I say immerse yourself in the gospel, I mean primarily two things. First, do what you can to ground your mind and heart in the doctrine of justification.
Dive into books and read until you are convinced that your right standing with God is based on Christ’s righteousness alone and that God justifies the ungodly -- Rom. 4:5.
Your spiritual troubles are likely to remain to the degree that you are not resting in this foundational truth.
Secondly, seek to understand the doctrine of indwelling sin. Regeneration provides you with a new power to fight sin, not an instantaneous eradication of all my inward corruption.
If you are unclear on this particular truth, you will be tossed to and fro by temptation and your many sinful inclinations.
4. Seek Means, Not Just Breakthroughs
While I don’t think it is wrong to ask God for immediate breakthroughs of light into our spiritual darkness, I am convinced it is far better to seek means of gradual restoration.
This approach is preferred because the constant desire for existential breakthroughs can unseat us from sure rock of Scripture and draw us away from the disciplines that God typically uses to grow and sustain our faith.
Most often God will use the unheralded means of adequate sleep, exercise, a reasonable diet, regular worship and fellowship, Bible reading, good books, time outdoors, faithfulness in our responsibilities, and profitable ministry to pull us out of the throes of spiritual depression.
5. Pursue Obedience, Not Just Introspection
Those who tend toward spiritual depression are often those who ruminate incessantly over the condition of their hearts.
Some self-examination is good and biblical (2 Corinthians 13:5), but if we are not careful, self-examination can turn into morbid introspection where we relentlessly appraise our motives and evaluate our affections.
And, although our introspection may appear super-spiritual, it might become a substitute for obedience. But God grants assurance not through introspection, but through obedience.
As you actively repent from known sin, you will find far more assurance and relief from depression than if you merely look inward for conclusive evidence that you really love Jesus.
6. Keep Working
When going through depression, there are times you will think that time alone reading Scripture, praying, and pouring over books is the sole answer to your misery; but this is far from the truth.
Although the above actions will play a significant role in your recovery, you will also find significant help in the simple means of a profitable workday.
God made us to work, and He intends that we find much physical and spiritual refreshment in attending diligently to our responsibilities.
7. Fulfill Your Ministry
The weight of spiritual depression will often tempt us to fold in on ourselves. The remedy to our plight, however, is not more turning inward, but turning outward: first with faith to Jesus and the gospel, then to others in good works.
You might feel that you are unqualified to serve in ministry in light of your own spiritual troubles. But let your pastor make these decisions as you submit to his leadership, and commit to fulfill your ministry.
God has given you a spiritual gift to use for the good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7) and you might be surprised by how the consistent use of your gift will set you on the path toward renewed joy and steadiness in the faith.
8. Don’t Stop Moving
Those who tend toward spiritual depression may begin to look for a remedy that removes the need for further action on their part. They may also conclude that the slowness of their recovery is the reason for more despair.
But both of these tendencies obscure the truth that our Christian life is best likened to a marathon. Occasionally we may sense that we’ve hit our stride, but often we will enter stretches where the weight of our burden is enough to bring us to a crawl.
But continue we must, for God has set along our course all the refreshment we need to remain in the race. So don’t stop moving.
In conclusion, spiritual depression can come upon us suddenly or gradually over time. It is not a season that any Christian desires to endure. Yet, it can be one of the greatest means for our sanctification and reveling in the grace of God.
For how filled our lives would be with eternal depression if not for His grace. Take these seasons to discern your own heart, to search for any way the Lord might be prodding you, to look to the throne of grace, and to have your affections stirred for heaven where depression will have no place.
Question: Have you gone through spiritual depression before? Please share your experience with us and how you were able to overcome it, by leaving a comment below.