A RENEWED MIND AND HEART
The Problem of Depression
One of the most common problems I meet in my ministry is that of depression, usually caused by problems which people cannot seem to find a solution to. And because there is no apparent solution, this drags them down into more depression. In the New Covenant we teach that one of the roots of depression can be pride, and knowing this can make people even more depressed!
I, like everyone else, suffer from depression from time to time, and like everyone else, I am sure the root is often pride. But recently I had an experience which has changed my perspective on this most human of problems which I would like to share with you.
One evening I became aware of a domestic problem which I had thought was beginning to sort itself out slowly. It is a problem that has dogged the family for a very long time and at last it seemed as though the sun was coming over the horizon for us. And all the evidence pointed in that direction. It is a problem that I have devoted many hundreds of hours of prayer to. And when you have invested so much energy in such a matter, it is natural to experience elation when it seems as though the problem is beginning to sort itself out.
Well, I realised that evening that the problem was as large and as looming as it ever had been and I was sent plummeting into a depression. My head grew tight and my eyes heavy such that I could hardly keep awake any longer. I went to bed, read the scriptures and prayed as usual, and went to sleep, hoping I could "sleep" the problem away.
When I awoke the next morning I felt as tired and heavy as I had when I went to bed the night before. My eyes felt like lead and I could hardly keep them open. I went to my office to bind some books to try and take my mind of the matter, ate breakfast, and returned to my room. I felt no better. I took my Bible and began to read where it opened. It was a section I knew very well and was very fond of, in Numbers 12. I also read the 13th chapter as I felt it had a bearing on what was happening in the Church.
I could not keep my eyes open. Weariness swamped me and I collapsed into my bed, my eyes no longer willing to remain open. I prayed while I could still remain conscious. I told the Lord that He knew what my problem was and begged Him to help me. Then these words came flashing into my mind: "Dear Lord, renew my mind and my heart." I prayed them with all my soul.
I felt a tingling at the base of my spine -- nothing very dramatic -- more like a gurgling sensation -- and then, in a flash, all the heaviness was gone! My eyes opened wide -- they weren't heavy any more! My mind was clear and active! I leaped out of bed and praised the Lord, took a shower, and then got on with the business of the day.
I understood at once what had happened. In truth, I had always known the answer to the problem, but my mind and heart were not in tune with the Holy Spirit. The Lord had actually told me some months before that my particular problem would be solved -- completely -- after a certain period of time. But I let it weigh me down because I lacked faith in His promise.
The apostle Paul said: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put of your old self [habits, thinking patterns, ways of feeling, etc.] which is being CORRUPTED BY ITS DECEITFUL DESIRES, to be MADE NEW IN THE ATTITUDE OF YOUR MINDS; and to PUT ON THE NEW SELF, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph.2:22-24, NIV).
Our real need is not finding the solution to problems but FINDING THE CORRECT WAY TO DEAL WITH THEM. There is the way of the flesh -- the world's way of dealing with problems -- and there is the way of the Spirit. There is the way of resentment, bitterness, anger, disillusionment, selfishness -- which lead to depression -- and there is the way of an inner life RENEWED BY GOD which brings peace, life, and joy.
My particular problem is as large as it always was -- I know it will be solved, because God has promised me so -- I have actually heard His own voice tell me so -- but now (at this moment of time while I am in the Spirit) I am riding ABOVE the problem and am facing life joyfully.
We must stop lying to each other by trying to solve problems out of our carnal natures, since in Christ we have "taken off (our) old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" (Col.3:9-10, NIV).
So if you have problems which seem insurmountable, and if these lead you to depression and a sense of despair, I pray that you will "not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is UNSEEN. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor.4:16-18, NIV).
My eyes were focused on the wrong thing -- what I could see, my problems, which are temporary (even if they don't feel that way) and so I was not inwardly being renenewed. I allowed my wrong focus to allow myself to waste away inside as well as outside (tiredness, heavy eyes, etc.). But when I went to the Lord and prayed with all my soul: "Lord, renew my mind and heart", I focused on that which is invisible, the active Spirit of Almighty God who is always near to those who are seeking for Him. He renewed my mind and my heart -- instantly!
And this, friends, is God's promise to you, no matter what your problems may be. Praise the Lord!
This page was created on 30 May 1998
Last updated on 30 May 1998
Copyright © 1987-2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved