Taking the Initiative Against Depression

sunshine after the rain
Arise and eat. —1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive— only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things— things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

by Oswald Chambers

Developing a Spirit of Humility

1 Timothy 1:12-13

Some people believe that thinking badly of themselves is a sign of humility. But Paul is a beautiful example of how we are to approach God. He does not berate himself and tell God how vile and sinful he is. Instead, Paul talks repeatedly with a spirit of humility about the grace of God. There are seven things we can do to allow the Lord to develop such a humble spirit in our life.

To pursue humility, it is necessary that we die to self. We must refuse to put ourselves first and instead ask the Lord what is His will for our situation. God wants us to be devoted to other people because He has made us reservoirs of His truth—something those around us greatly need. And when God blesses others, we who follow Christ are to delight in the good things that come to them (Rom. 12:15).

For ourselves, we must wholly depend on God. If we want to live with genuine humility, we must rely on Him in every circumstance. The Lord has many good things in store for us. When we direct our thoughts continually to His grace and goodness, our confidence in Him will grow. It is also important that we distance ourselves from whatever appeals to our pride, such as wealth, prestige, applause, or certain relationships—the list is different for every person. Finally, we must determine to obey God regardless of the earthly consequences. When you humble yourself before Him, you can mark that day as the beginning of the best part of your life.

Lively Hope

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)

This verse contains several enlightening words:

Blessed: The word in Greek means to be well spoken of, or praised. According to: This does not say that we are blessed according to the extent of His mercy, but rather that He was impelled by His “abundant mercy” to save us.

Begotten: A child is begotten of parents and is of the same nature as its parents. We are begotten into God’s family by the work of Christ. Again: There are two possible concepts which are attached to the term “born again”—born “the second time,” or born “from above.” In our text, the term used is literally born “the second time,” but the Father mentioned is God. We are indeed born “the second time,” and that “from above.”

Lively: The word is in the form of a verbal adjective, having all the descriptive power of an adjective and all the active power of a verb. A “lively” hope is more than a hope that is living; it is actively alive. Hope: We hope, not in the sense of desiring something to come to pass, but in the confident assurance of something which certainly shall come to pass. We may “lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 6:18-19). We shall follow Christ in life everlasting.

Resurrection: It may seem strange to think we are born again “by the resurrection,” but this was the instrument God used to bring about His purpose. In a real sense, Christ was “born again” with a glorified body when He arose from the dead. Since He is “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18), many will follow, “that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). JDM

The Power God Recognizes

Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin. —Isaiah 30:1

The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify….

It is not, however, the frequency of the Spirit’s mention in the Bible or in other writings that matters most, but the importance attached to Him when He is mentioned. And there can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. There He works powerfully, creatively; here He is little more than a poetic yearning or at most a benign influence. There He moves in majesty, with all the attributes of the Godhead; here He is a mood, a tender feeling of good will….

The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus.

O Lord, work powerfully, creatively: move in majesty. Send the divine afflatus to overshadow our intellect and personalities. Come in power, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The Christian Life Cannot Feed on Negatives

Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Philippians 3:13

The Christian is saved from his past sins. With these he simply has nothing more to do; they are among the things to be forgotten as the night is forgotten at the dawning of the day.

The Christian is also saved from the wrath to come. With this also he has nothing to do. The wrath of God exists, but not for him. Sin and wrath have a cause and effect relationship, and because for the Christian sin is canceled, wrath is canceled also. To be engrossed still in what we have been saved from is to live in a state of negation.

We are not called to fellowship with nonexistence. We are called to things that exist in truth, to positive things, and it is as we become occupied with these that health comes to the soul.

Spiritual life cannot feed on negatives. The man who is constantly reciting the evils of his unconverted days is looking in the wrong direction. He is like a man trying to run a race while looking back over his shoulder!

There is an art of forgetting, and every Christian should become skilled in it. Forgetting the things which are behind is a positive necessity if we are to become more than mere babes in Christ.

And here’s the good part: into the empty world vacated by our sins and failures rushes the blessed Spirit of God, bringing with Him everything new. New life, new hope, new enjoyments, new interests, new purposeful toil, and best of all a new and satisfying object toward which to direct our soul’s enraptured gaze!

We Were Outcasts Too

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. JOHN 15:9

We confess, do we not, that we have a Christian responsibility to believe God’s Word and to obey God’s Truth?

Then we should accept the fact that it is our task to practice the Christian virtues in the power of the Holy Spirit as we await the coming of Him who will come.

The great spiritual needs around us should drive us back to the Gospel records of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. When evil men crucified Jesus, killed Him, they had no power to change Him. They could not alter the Person or the personality of the Son of God. Putting Him on the cross did not drain away any of His divine affection for a lost race.

The best thing we know about our Lord and Savior is that He loves the sinner. He has always loved the outcast—and for that we should be glad, for we too were once outcasts! We are descended from that first man and woman who failed God and disobeyed. They were cast out of the garden, and God set in place a flaming sword to keep them from returning!

Dear Heavenly Father, that You love us at all is amazing. But to think that You came down to earth to redeem us is nearly inconceivable. Such love is worthy of all my praise and obedience.