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Secular Definition of Depression


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Bible and Depression - Week 2 - Secular Definition of Depression?

Brief Review

Last week in Step 1 we took a look at Elijah. Elijah, an old testament prophet suffered from depression. We studied some of the great works that the Lord used Elijah for. We also saw that in 1 Kings 19:1-4 Elijah suffered from depression. Then he was restored by the Lord.

From 1 Kings 19:1-4

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

What Is Depression?

This week we are going to look at how depression is diagnosed in today’s secular world. There are many definitions; for the purpose of this study we will start with a secular one from the American Psychiatric Association:

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

• Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
• Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
• Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
• Loss of energy or increased fatigue
• Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
• Feeling worthless or guilty
• Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
• Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.

Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.

Perhaps most or at least some of you will recognize symptoms that you have experienced in your life.

Evaluating Elijah

The definition above is for what most call clinical depression, a severe level of depression that statistically has 15 times higher rate of suicide than the general population. This is a very serious subject. Let's compare this modern 21st century definition with what we know about Elijah ...

From the scripture above, we can see that Elijah exhibited at a minimum the following list of symptoms:

• 1) Feeling sad or having a depressed mood;
• 2) Feeling worthless or guilty and
• 3) Thoughts of death or suicide.

So even modern day psychiatry would have diagnosed Elijah as suffering from depression. However, Elijah was restored by the Lord, not from a lifetime of medication.

As we continue through this series we will discover that Scripture gives some vivid descriptions of depressed people and their restoration by the Lord. This will include:

Gloom and pessimism, apathy and fatigue, hopelessness, physical problems, withdrawal feelings, knowledge of guilt, sleeplessness, loss of productivity, thoughts of death or suicide.

For many or most people, the thought that the Bible, the Lord's Word, can provide a solution to such a common ailment as depression is something that has not crossed their mind. But that does not mean it is not true. As we have seen, Elijah went from the peak of major accomplishments to the pits of depression vary rapidly. God restored Elijah.

Let's focus on the last phrase above: “God restored Elijah.” God restored Elijah from what today could be diagnosed as clinical depression.

For many or most who are suffering from the effects of the various forms of depression, that is a message of hope. That is a message of Good News.

The Lord can Restore His People

The message and good news is very clear. The Lord can Restore His people from the pits of depression. We will see several examples as we proceed through this study.

There is one very important question that each person participating needs to ask themselves this coming week.

Am I one of the Lord’s people so that the only
true source of peace and joy is available to me?

If you cannot answer with a yes, please seek guidance here or in your church this week.

Next week we will see that Scripture tells us the depression is a tool of Satan and that Jesus was anointed by God to bring restoration from depression to mankind.

Spirit of Heaviness

To get the full benefit of the Scripture and lesson next week please:

• Read Luke 4:14-21
• Read Isaiah 61:1-3
• Bring your Bible the rest of this series


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