The Spiritual Warfare of Depression
Last week I discussed possible physical reasons for anxiety and depression. If you are struggling mentally there very well may be a physical reason and therefore, a natural solution. I encourage you to read that post if you haven't already.
Next week I will tackle anxiety but today I'd like to talk to you about the spiritual aspect of depression.
Please hear me when I say that my intent is not to undermine the seriousness of mental illness and the need, at times, to seek professional help. Yet I believe all too often we turn to medicine unnecessarily, or allow our struggles with mental illness to rule our lives, rather than seeking other solutions and taking charge of our own minds.
That being said, sometimes there is a spiritual reason behind our depression. Spiritual warfare is real and it affects us all, whether we are cognizant of this or not.
There is an enemy of our souls, Satan, who delights in bringing misery upon our lives. He is a liar, and Scripture calls him the father of lies. He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy and he employs hosts of demons to do his dirty work.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12
Now, when we think about demons many of us might recall some absurd movie we have watched about possession and exorcism. This isn't quite how demons operate. Demonic activity many times is more subtle than this and therefore will go undetected. Yet, when we arm ourselves with knowledge of God's Word and pray for His discernment it will become more easily recognizable.
It was common in biblical times for evil spirits (demons) to harass and oppress people. A malicious spirit tormented King Saul mentally (1 Samuel 16). Demonic affliction drove a man in Jesus' day so crazy that he would cry out and cut himself, and it caused him to live alone in the tombs (Mark 5).
An instrumental part of Jesus' ministry throughout the New Testament was the casting out of demons to set their captives free mentally and physically. There is no reason to believe that these same spirits do not operate today.
One of the primary ways demons oppress us is through attacks on our mental well-being.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of a spirit of heaviness as he prophesied the coming Messiah to the Israelites. We know this wasn't just a feeling he spoke of because the original Hebrew word he used to describe this heaviness was the word ruwach which represented the breath of a spiritual being. This word can be used to describe God's Spirit or as in this case, an evil spirit.
This particular spirit can be described as dark, heavy, and downcast. This spirit can feel as if it is settling over us like a cloak. It robs us of hope, and darkens our vision of the future. It brings discouragement and despair.
Have you ever felt this type of heaviness? It can come on suddenly, enshrouding you in sadness. Or it can be likened to a dark gloomy cloud that hangs overhead every waking moment, seemingly impossible to shake off.
I think many of us have experienced this to one degree or another. For some this is sadly the reality that they live in.
But there is hope! Victory lies in Jesus" name.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
If you are a believer in Christ you have been given authority over Satan and his demons. You have the power to break the demonic attacks against your mind, in Jesus name.
Put on the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
So, how do we stand firm against the spirit of heaviness?
1. Recognize the attack. We can't fight what we don't identify. The first step is recognizing that these thoughts are not your own, that this depression is coming from Satan. Refuse to allow depression to control you any longer. Make a commitment to reclaim the ground the enemy has stolen, whatever it takes.
2. Confess and turn from any sins. Patterns of unrepentant sin will give the devil a foothold into your life and invite demonic presence. We must search our hearts, asking for the Holy Spirit's help in identifying any areas of our lives where we are living in disobedience to God. Some examples can be sexual sin, pride, habitual anger, or holding on to unforgiveness. Once these are revealed, or if you already know, confess your sins to God and commit to living life His way, with the Holy Spirit's help.
3. Pray and speak God's truth over your life. After confession now is the time to pray bold prayers. This can seem intimidating but you must take charge and resist the enemy or he will continue to torment you mentally. Here is an example of a prayer to fight the spirit of depression. Pray it out loud and pray it like you mean it! In addition to this, search out and meditate on Scriptures that remind you of who you are in Christ.
“Heavenly Father, I know that you have a good plan for my life that is meant to prosper me and not harm me, and to restore hope for my future. Today, I make a choice to rise up in that hope and use the anointed blood of Jesus Christ as my weapon. I release the blood of Jesus Christ over every spirit of darkness associated with the strongman of Heaviness.
I bind the spirit of depression that is harassing me in the name and blood of Jesus Christ. I bring all prayers, thoughts, and words that have been spoken over me, or by me, under the judgment of Christ and declare to every spirit attached to these words that you are subject to the blood covered judgment of Jesus Christ.
I loose love, joy, and the peace of God that defies all understanding over me right now in the name of Jesus. I make a choice today, to meditate on you, your truth and your word. I will no longer listen to the lies of the enemy. I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.”
4. Praise God with everything you have. Scripture tells us to praise God continually, and there is nothing Satan hates more than hearing us sing God's praises. Aside from this, when we are filled with thanksgiving and gratitude, there is no room for anything else. Praising God always elevates my mood, whether I'm dealing with a spirit of heaviness or just having a bad day. So turn on some worship music and sing to God with all of your heart.
Remember that because of what Jesus has done for you, you can walk in victory over all of the devil's schemes. Cast off whatever heaviness may plague you today and exchange it for the unshakeable joy of the Lord!
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
If you are not a believer and would like to talk more about making Jesus your Lord and Savior, please contact me.
Disclaimer: If you are having suicidal thoughts, please talk to a pastor, a doctor, or some kind of professional immediately. Do not stop any antidepressant medication without consulting a health professional.