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Reason For Season

 

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The Bible and Depression: Is Depression a Spirit? Week 3

Brief Review

In Step 1 we saw in 1 Kings 19:1-4 Elijah, an Old Testament prophet, suffered from depression. Then he was restored by the Lord.

In Step 2 we took a look at how the secular world looks at depression and anxiety. To be diagnosed with clinical depression, three of the listed symptoms are required. By comparing Scripture (1 Kings 19) and this modern list of symptoms we saw that Elijah would have been diagnosed as suffering from today’s definition of clinical depression.

Depression – The Spirit of Heaviness

We can begin to get some insight into the spiritual side of depression in Isaiah 61:3. Before looking at the verse a little background will give an indication of how significant this passage in Isaiah is. After being tempted in the wilderness Jesus began teaching in the synagogues. In Luke 4:16 we are told He came to the synagogue in Nazareth. He stood up to read:

Luke 4:17

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

This passage that was read by Jesus was Isaiah 61:1-2.

Now Look at Luke 4:21

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Here Jesus has just revealed to us that He is the fulfillment of this passage in Isaiah. This passage in Isaiah was a prophetic message about Jesus.

Let’s look at Isaiah 61:1-3.

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

This passage in Isaiah is prophesizing about Jesus. Jesus confirmed that in Luke 4:21 which we just read. Here the Lord used Isaiah seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus to reveal a snapshot of what Jesus would do during His time of visitation. When you read this list, you do in fact see a snapshot of the ministry of Jesus.

Looking at verse 3, we will see some glorious good news for all who suffer from depression. This verse contains a startling statement concerning depression.

“ ... the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; ...”

The common symptom of the various modern definitions of depression is a darkness in our hearts. ”Heaviness” is one word used in the KJV to describe a darkness of heart.

Look at what precedes “heaviness”:

“spirit of heaviness”

In this verse it is called a spirit, this would not be a good spirit, this would be a demon! The spirit of heaviness is a tool of Satan.

This spirit can bring a “heaviness” over us, it tries to rob our hope and joy. It brings a heavy, oppressive feeling. Today we call this depression. It tries to steal our faith. Depression tries to come over us like a dark, heavy cloud. When this cloud is hanging over us, it may come over us at once or it may be a slower progression.

Depression can corrupt our love or send us off in search of faulty substitutes. Depression makes us feel alone, even when there are people reaching out to help.

Most importantly for those who know the Lord, depression can raise a barrier in our relationship with the Lord. For those who do not know the Lord depression can turn you toward the failing and declining worldly ways.

Depression causes us to isolate ourselves from others. This opens the door for our enemy, the devil. When our heart and mind are heavy, our emotions say, “Leave me alone. I don’t want to see anybody. I don’t want to talk to anybody. I just want to be alone.”

This is the work of the devil. If he can get you by yourself, he has you all to himself to plant words and pictures and stir up old painful memories to torment you. When people are isolated from others, their anger, sadness, and depression begin to interfere with their thinking processes, which become distorted. Suspicion and distrust of others is common, whether warranted or not. Past hurts take hold and it is hard to trust anyone. This brings even further isolation because we begin to avoid people.

So these are the results of the spirit of heaviness, which drags many into depression today. We will cover this in more detail in later weeks.

Now for some good news. Jesus came to Restore.

For people who are suffering from the effects of depression, describing the symptoms is certainly not new nor exciting. But this same verse that we have been studying has some very good news which should be exciting.

One of the reasons that Jesus came to live with us as a man is to give the “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

The Lord can restore His people who are suffering from the spirit of heaviness – those who suffer from depression caused by Satan – without resorting to a life of drugs. From the material on Elijah. He could be diagnosed as clinically depressed. However the Lord restored Elijah, removing the spirit of heaviness without resorting to medications.

In Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

If you or someone dear to you is suffering with the spirit of heaviness called depression and anxiety, there may be a Spiritual Restoration available to you if you know the Lord. We will learn more about the “garment of praise” and how to utilize it in your life next week. In the meantime begin your Restoration, follow Matthew 6:33

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

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