I just challenged these twenty-year-olds with a SOBERING REALITY. Have you noticed that MOST of the Bible is in the major key. Saints FEARLESSLY witnessing, churches valiantly serving against all odds—and what a JOY those sections are to our souls. But side-by-side with all that is the minor key. God’s Word contains true glimpses into the weaknesses and frailties that God understands and shows us in the lives of some of His greatest saints. These are men and women who were sad, discouraged, and depressed—yet the Lord does not correct them and tell them they are ion sin. He just encourages them and helps them go on.
Life in the minor key—is it always sin that makes us depressed? Is it always a sin to be depressed? No is the answer from God’s Word. We have come to Psalm 142, and as you open there with me we enter into David struggling with depression. In verse seven he asks the Lord to bring his soul out of prison. The cave, the pursuit of Saul, the men and all their troubles had locked him down emotionally—it was keeping him from the joy of his walk with the Lord he loved.
What do Paul, Ezra, Hezekiah, Job, Elijah, Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah & David all share in common with us today? They were all Spirit-filled servants of the Lord, who all struggled with negative emotions.
Our question to answer from God’s Word is–can believers struggle with emotional problems and still be Spirit-filled servants of the Lord? I looked up depression in Webster’s dictionary and found it fascinating: 1. a state of feeling sad; a disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies 2. A reduction in activity, amount, quality, or force; a lowering of vitality or functional activity.
We must be careful to not say that anxiety, depression, discouragement, and other negative emotions are in themselves sinful. This is because we see these same emotions in God’s servants. In Christ, we see anger that is not sin, deep emotional distress, grief, and anguish all of which were perfectly displayed. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he “began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death’ “(Mark 14:33-34). Jesus, in coming to earth, took upon himself the form of a human with all its frailties, yet he did not sin.
The key is not to call each occurrence of a negative emotion sin—the key is to not stay there. That is what David explains to us.
“The Christian who remains in sadness and depression really breaks a commandment: in some direction or other he mistrusts God—His power, providence, forgiveness”
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