Knowing Your Value in Christ ...Only
or, A Can of Worms Called Depression
by Michelle Amirault
No, we are not going fishing...or maybe we are. Ever have moments (or days) where it seems like the Grace of God is lifted...gone?! Do you notice how you feel absolutely miserable, totally unhappy? You become very down-hearted and downtrodden. You wonder what happened to His sweet Spirit hovering over you. It seems to have vanished. Then you may notice how quickly you return to old patterns of thinking, speaking and even acting. You may sense discouragement, resentments, loneliness and realize you are depressed. With depression you can feel completely VOID inside, no love, no faith and no hope. Then you think, "This walk with Jesus isn't fun anymore. Where's my joy and the abundant life?" You may then wonder, "How did I get here?" and "How do I get out of here?" Then finally you may ask your heavenly Father "What is happening and why do I feel so far from you? Where is the way of escape?"
Recently I went through one of these down and desperate times. As I sought the reason for my depression, one response came saying, "You are not important. You are not worthy. You are not of "special" value! All you are good for is earning the money, doing the laundry, and other unspiritual and unfulfilling things." Then thoughts like these came, "What are you doing for the glory of God?" and "You are just ugly inside and out!" At the time those thoughts were a real and hellish trial because "I" was weary. Perhaps weariness is why we seem unable to "see" what is happening, for these thoughts can appear to-- or seemingly consume and destroy-- the flow of the Holy Spirit within you.
I say seemingly consume and/or destroy because you are in a miserable, though God-ordained, fire and can slip too easily back to thinking, walking, and talking old, all-too-familiar lies. Often, thoughts of hopelessness lead to thoughts of wishing you were dead-- and even suicide. It is a terrible place to be. You are listening to the carnal mind leading to death and a thought life where God's Grace goes unnoticed. In this place it is hard to listen to others and hard for them to listen to you because you are quick to bite, very argumentative and defensive, easily irritated and quick to anger. That makes you quick to speak and far from pleasant or kind. You may even be in denial, blaming others and the vicious cycle continues until you feel like you want to crawl into a hole. In fact you are mentally and spiritually in a pit. So how do we keep the lioness ("lie"-on-us) thoughts from devouring us so we can come out of the den?
By now I hope the familiar written Word of God is stirring as the clear solution to this "down" cycle. Our Father, through James 1:19,20, says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." We all know this. How did we forget it and walk totally the opposite way--quick to speak and anger, and very slow to listen? It may have come from that needing to be heard, needing to feel of some "special" importance to men and self, and forgetting our value lies only and fully and preciously in Christ Jesus. It seems the way of the natural man, when worrying about his own worth, will have no or too little room to care about the worth of others. Yet it is in caring about the worth of others that we find our worth in Christ. It is in this place that we find our needed supply of love, faith and hope given to us in overflowing measures!
One cannot truly care about another, however, without understanding that they are deeply valuable to and in Christ Jesus. Only a living, intimate relationship with God can give you that constant knowing of your preciousness to Him. This is part of the work of the Holy Spirit. And only in that working within, which reveals Christ in us, can any of us have real and lasting fulfillment. It is for that purpose that we were formed. . .to be made whole, or complete in Christ Jesus.
There is a cost for fullness in Christ. One must give his whole life to God. Most of us probably have done that long ago. If not, that is a good first step. . .seeing our personal need for our Living God to rule in us.
Then, however, as we begin to grow up in Christ, sometimes we may hear phrases like "Others can, but you cannot." We thought we would be FREE in CHRIST JESUS, so this expression can fill us (in full service to God) with resentments, especially if that service is done in "self-strength," for then we can be self-righteous. Our need for closeness and dependency on God then is slowly, but surely, lessened. Thoughts like "Oh, 'I' will do that for You, Lord." creep in even though we should know better. Before we realize it, we are grumbling, at least in our heart of hearts, about "all we are doing for God!" Oh, what a subtle destroyer! Those words too can stifle the power or flow of the Life of God within, and if not repented from quickly, the comfort of the Grace of God may vanish, too. It must. Only then, can the darkness or lie be exposed to us. Our Father has to lift His grace to get our attention back toward Him. He is the true source of righteousness and Life within us. In Him we are free, free to love Him, and let that love overflow to those He puts in our path. The life He has given us has purpose, as does all we go through to be molded by Him for that purpose.
So, although it may "seem" like Grace is lifted, even that really is GRACE IN OPERATION! For He loves us enough to purge us of all unrighteousness, which definitely includes self-righteousness. Then, and only then, can we become His pure and spotless beloved bride, His manifested sons, His glory on the earth. Then HE will shine forth as our vessels are becoming transparent . . . having been cleansed by this internal fire or inward workings of the Holy Spirit. There is no need to deny or cover up as Christ formed within us is the hope of glory. (Col 1:27-29 is so beautiful.)
Depression or oppression is a serious problem for many people. It must be overcome by the Living reality of the Christ within us. Once several years ago when I had fallen deeply into a pit, I remember finally asking the Holy Spirit for the way of escape and hearing "Phil. 4:8." At the time I doubted I heard God for I was in unbelief that He was with me. But in a tiny measure of hope, I read it anyway. Phil 4:8 reads, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." I had, however, fallen so low or deep in this hole of discouragement that it seriously took me over twenty minutes to think of one good thing. But that thought began my ascent upward. Now, it is almost "natural" for me to look for what is good in every situation because God's Word worked this into me. That is why He speaks to us, to give us His Life, from His mouth.
Check next time "depression" strikes. Where is your focus? Before doing this article, I was wondering why I was seeing so many depressed people. It was very depressing to feel so helpless. When I found myself again tasting of this miserable state, everything the Holy Spirit had previously taught me was rekindled. Usually depressed people are full of self-pity, self-piety, self-centeredness, or/and a need for self-importance. "Tell me I have value," is the cry of their heart. This is why a true son of God must receive his love and know his value lies in Christ Jesus alone. Any other thoughts are death to the power and flow of God. Do we know this? Sure we do! But do we walk "in Him," or like the Israelites of the Old Testament, when things get pretty good, do we forget how they got that way and have to be reminded of God's reality? I used to wonder after all God did, how the Jews could turn away from Him. Now I know first hand. I, too, have done this. But it is all for His glory as we grow stronger spiritually by walking in and exercising that which He has taught us. (Phil. 3:16)
Catch anything? I hope so! Remember even as the earth worm used as bait can bring forth natural food and give life to us, so can even our earthly ways be used by the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual understanding or food. All in God's providence. For He says in Rom. 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Forgive us O'Lord of All Life and forgive us our daily trespasses, cause us to be quick to forgive ourselves as well as others. . .cause the mind and heart of Christ to rule in each of us. Resurrect Your Life in us. Amen.
(Also we should all pray Eph 1:3-14 & 3:16-21.)