April 6, 2011
Did my repentance cure my depression? Quite probably, my hardness of heart to His Church most likely was the primary reason for my depression. The Church is God’s “invention.” Not only is the Church created by God it is formed by God and “headed” by Jesus Christ. The Church is so important to God that He gave His Son Supreme Leadership over its function in the world.
God, the Supreme Power, would only grant authority to His Son for that which would achieve His ultimate mission. That mission is to reconcile the world to Himself. While it is Christ’s work and the Holy Spirit’s leading that actually accomplishes the task of salvation it is the Church that is the chosen vessel in which He works to help the world understand God loves them.
Just as God gave Adam, before sin, the ministry of care for His creation, God has given His church (the gathered and unified believers in the Biblical Jesus) the ministry of care for God’s creation. The primary care is to be with God’s most prized piece in creation, those created in His Image. The human race.
To not love this chosen transformative agent of God, His people, His Church, is to NOT love God Himself. If then I do not love God’s people as described by His Word (1 John 4:19-21) I do NOT love God. I am a liar according to God’s Word. If that is the case (and it is!) then I can’t be “near” Him. If I am harboring anger, resentment, or vengeance I am “grieving” and/or “quenching” the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. I cease to be transformed when I am not in love with His Church (the gathered and unified believers in the Biblical Jesus). This is the direct result of my depression, is caused by not loving His church.
I am not trivializing the alleviation of depression as simply loving God’s people as God has loved them (John 13:34)! Quite frankly, we all struggle to achieve this mandate on our lives without the work of the Holy Spirit (even with His help). But, for those who truly seek to be “called according to His purpose” claim to “love Him” we do not have the option to love His church. When we (me) become hardened to this fundamental expression of our faith we can be assured depression (or worse) can (and in my case will) manifest.
My bouts with depression have always been related to my disgust, resentment, frustration, and generally lack of love for His church. When I say His church I mean His people. My disgust, resentment, and frustration (again, lack of love) revolves around my sense of the people of God betraying me, letting me down, or just not getting the Biblical mandates He has so clearly given us to follow. Sometimes it is quite valid that His people have let Him down. Sometimes it is not valid at all and I am the one who feels let down (this doesn’t necessarily mean God wasn’t let down also).
My supposed righteous indignation is usually self-centered and not God centered. While God may have certainly been dishonored my self-centeredness tends to take this as a personal violation. I find that issues which appear traitorous or hurtful cause me to escape from “loving” people. Yet, if I truly desire to be like Christ I would simply (not simply as in simplistic) move forward with the aid of the Holy Spirit. After all, didn’t Jesus completely love Judas who He knew was stealing from His ministry’s treasury? And, didn’t He choose Judas even though He knew Judas would betray Him? Didn’t Jesus completely love Peter who He knew would betray Him three times? Yet, He restored Peter. Remember, He knew all the disciples would abandon Him yet He loved them completely and later, after His resurrection would commission them to sacrifice for Him. He completely loved them before, during, and after their sins against Him.
For me to do anything less will almost certainly lead to depression. I have been forgiven so much. Much is expected of me because of this forgiveness. Not in a performance sense, but in a loving sense. The “cure” for my depression is to love His church. If I love the Church (the gathered and unified believers in the Biblical Jesus Christ) I cease to be a “liar.” I am restored and reconciled to my Father when I love people, especially His people! When this occurs the Holy Spirit is again released into my life and the life His has planned for me in regenerated. The ultimate relationship in my life is restored AND, as it pertains to me, my depression is GONE!
My depressions are rooted in my weakness(s). My most profound weakness is broken relationships and my disobedience to love is my “defense” or, even worse, my “excuse” to that issue. It is a simple (again, not simplistic) equation. If I love people as Christ loved me (His command), depression is significantly mitigated. If I decide to be resentful, jealous or vengeful (all emotions are subject to my self-control), then I am in WILLFUL disobedience to God’s call on my life (and yours by the way). I then suffer the “natural” consequence of this sin, the sense of separation of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. This causes me deep depression! To know the presence of God and to “lose” it is devastating.
Your consequences may be different when it comes to deliberate sin. Yet, please know, whatever the consequence, it will render you “less” than God has intended for you. As for me, I am committing (recommitting!) to love ALL His people, His church, of which I belong. I do this not to be free from depression, I do this so that I may bring honor to my Savior who NEVER has given up on me. May my life reflect this in others who fall short of His glory.
God bless you, may you find Christ.