Tuesday, October 27, 2015

God’s Cure for Depression

Before this cure for depression is revealed, let us be certain we understand exactly what depression is.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines depression as (1) “a state of feeling sad,” and (2) “a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.”  In scripture, the definition for depression is “worship”; yes, you heard me right—worship.  I will explain later, but first, the dictionary definition only defines what depression is at a symptom level.  So what is the root cause of depression?  The bible is clear: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression” (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV).  Anxiety or worry is the root cause of depression.

The sad and seemingly hopeless state of depression as defined by the dictionary is both obvious and helpless; however, the scriptural definition, that of “worship,” is both surprising and helpful (once it is understood).  The word “worship” in Hebrew, according to James Strong (S7812), is “shaw-khaw’; a prime root; to depress, i. e. prostrate (espec. reflex. in homage to royalty or God):—bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.”  Now let’s make the connection.  Looking again at that specific verse of scripture, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression” (Proverbs 12:25), and then wording it instead with two of its definitional terms, we get, “anxiety in the heart of man causes it to depress or worship.”  It is noteworthy that the physical phenomenon of depression or worship is virtually synonymous in outward appearance, but vastly different in inward reality.

Depression in picture form is a pothole in the street, a sunken aspect of the whole, and in spiritual reality, every soul is gravity effected and pothole bound.  Worship is nary a whit different to the carnal eye; it too sinks lower than the ground it stands on.  But the difference in inward reality is worlds apart.  So, what’s the difference?  There is no difference—except in heart attitude alone.  Gravity depresses every soul and body upon this globe; just living in this demon possessed valley known as earth tends towards decay and death and utter deflation, e. g, depression.  We are ever flattened out and made like pancakes before God—either with a good attitude about it or not; hence, we either lose our souls temporarily by giving them to God or we lose them permanently by not giving them to Him.  Where else can we go?  He has the words of eternal life!  Thus we see two souls dying, their outward appearance differs hardly a whit; one dies beautiful and gloriously in the eyes of the Lord while the other dies hideously and shamefully.  The key is that one worships as he dies while the other curses as he dies.

“By faith Jacob, when he was dying…worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21).  I believe the picture drawn in our imagination—that of Jacob dying and leaning upon his staff—is the perfect picture of worship, expressing exactly what true worship looks like.  It simultaneously epitomizes both the proper external posture and the correct internal condition of worship.  Jacob’s posture (leaning upon a staff in a dying state) is the very essence of worship.  His natural life waned—depressed—and as he succumbed to the downward pull of death’s onslaught, he placed all his weight upon his staff (a symbol of his God given authority).  In other words, dying is worship, and to willingly die, to die by one’s own authority—to become a sacrifice in the process—is the highest form of worship.  Every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, either willingly (spiritual) or by force (flesh).  Every man is appointed once to die, but how we die, and for whom we die, determines our destiny.  Beast and man alike die (see Ecclesiastes 3:18-21); indeed, in regards to the death of flesh, we share parallel fates.  But to speak of man and beast together—to juxtapose our fates like that—is only to demonstrate our affinity with flesh.  In other words, if our death does not transcend the significance of the death of a beast we are of all men most to be pitied.  Any fool can die (and will), but to die with purpose and for a purpose is what worship is all about.

“All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul (Psalm 22:29).  Thus, worship is essentially acknowledging one’s inability to keep one’s self alive—how ridiculously elemental and primary is that?  He is God and we are not.  His people that die for lack of knowledge are those that think they own eternal life without having to endlessly go through death to get there (those that sadly and erroneously avoid the cross—true worship—as a necessary component of genuine Christianity); those that do understand, however, die daily to draw from the Lord’s resurrection life—the only possessor of it and therefore the only one who can give it to others.  This only occurs when we see Him as He is and He fully manifests Himself to us.  When Christ said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3), He is saying that happy or joyous are the ones that do not claim anything as their own—even the upkeep of their souls.  When we realize this, we cease to sorrow over something we never really had; our life and possessions are not our own.  We have indeed been bought with a price.  We are all flattened out and completely deflated, but some are depressed about it while others are simply worshipping.  Remember, worship is dying and dying is worship; one begrudgingly stoops and the other stoops out of a sense of heartfelt adoration and love.

Now a little digression.  Recently on someone’s Facebook post I read that “anxiety occurs when we think we have to figure it all out.”  Somewhere else I read that “disobedience causes depression.”  First, the idea that “anxiety occurs when we think we have to figure it all out” is merely speculative.  Some might very calmly think they must figure it all out and hardly be flustered at the immense—nay impossible—challenge, while others might be anxious over the prospect of figuring out one single innocuous thing.  Two variables (temperament and intelligence) makes this first saying suspect.  Second, the idea that “disobedience causes depression” is correct for one very simple reason: worry or anxiety is disobedience.  Again—and for the third time—I quote Proverbs 12:25: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,” but now I add the remaining words of that verse: “but a good word makes it glad.”  Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him; worry/anxiety in the face of all the promises being yes and amen in Him is disobedience.  Ultimately, circumstances are never the issue, but how we respond to them is.  Consequently, the inward reality of a grateful attitude in worship is the key to overcoming depression.  Worshipping God in Spirit and truth is the cure for depression.