I want to follow up on my post a few weeks back in which I asked the tough question - Is my depression a sin? If you didn't read that post, you can here.
One of the biggest red flags for me regarding the possible sin nature of my depressive episodes is that they are a part of a long established pattern. As I said in my first post about this, I have had these dark seasons since I was a pre-teen. I have swung between balance and imbalance so many times that I cannot differentiate between one episode and the next. They have just become a part of who I am. I don't like them, but I have forged this truce within myself – a peace treaty between the healthy part of me and the unhealthy part of me. It's as if somewhere along the way I said to myself, “Cristine, you're gonna' go there, so just accept it. Just deal with it. It's who you are. It can't be changed.”
But today, this treaty just isn't sitting so well with me because God's word says that living the Christian life is all about change – big change. Ephesians 4 tells us that we are to put away with our old selves and rid ourselves of our former way of life. Romans 6:11 says that we are to count ourselves dead to sin and not let it reign in our bodies so that we obey its evil desires. Romans 6:4 reminds us that we were buried with Christ and therefore should walk in the newness of life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that we are new creations, that the old has passed away and that all things have been made new. And 1 John 1:6 tells us that God is light and that there is no darkness in Him at all. Those that say they walk with Him and yet are still walking in the darkness are lying and not practicing truth.
The fact is that Scripture goes on and on about spiritual change, about doing away with the negative and getting on with the positive. And Scripture assures us that this is all possible because we have One within us who has overcome the world. We have One in us who gives us the supernatural power for such change. All we have to do is yield to it. Submit to it. Follow it. Obey it. Walk in it. We don't have to talk about getting better and then struggle in our own willpower to so do. The power is already there... in us... because we have been born again and have the Holy Spirit within.
In this light, what makes my depression a sin is not that the emotions come or that I seem to have a bent toward them, but that I give into them when they come. It's what I choose to do with those murky feelings once they begin to form. You see, in every depressive episode there are always choices I make along the way. The choice to simmer in my own thoughts, rather than to marinate in God's word. The choice to listen to depressing music (even some Christian music), rather than to lift my hands in praise. The choice to lick my old wounds, rather than to focus on the blood that flowed from Christ's wounds. The choice to focus inward toward myself, rather than outward toward others and upward toward God. The choice to fill myself up with counterfeit comforters, rather than with the word and the spirit. The choice to fall down to the lies rather than to stand firm in the truth. The choice to shout darkness over my circumstances rather than speak light into my life. Choices.
Depressive emotions, in and of themselves, are not sins – but those of us that struggle to contain those depressive emotions should prayerfully go before the LORD and honestly evaluate the ways in which we get there. We should seek to uncover any sins within us that cause us to stumble over our emotions. We can't just accept that we get depressed as if there is no other way – as if it can not be changed. We must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal whether we are fully submitted to Christ or if we are submitting instead to the darkness that leads to depression.
My prayer tonight:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Blessings and Love,