Spiritual Depression – Feelings

Feelings are important, aren’t they?

We just can’t get away from them, too.

Maybe this scenario sounds familiar to you: you find yourself feeling down, depressed, or in disarray, and then you end up feeling guilty for feeling like this. It can be a vicious cycle that is hard to break, and one I have found myself in many times. Perhaps you then think to yourself ‘well, I’m a Christian, I should never feel like this…’ and, ironically, this then adds to your ill-feelings. Feelings are complex, aren’t they?

Some of how you feel is going to be down to who you are, how you’re made. One mental health professional told me that the likelihood of us falling into clinical depression is, in part, genetic. Who you are, unique you, doesn’t change when you become a believer in Jesus. We see this truth in action in how believers suffer with other bodily ailments, right? So, simply, if how you are wired naturally leads you to a gloomier outlook on life, if you lean towards bouts of depression without even trying then, sadly, becoming a believer won’t magically take this away.

As varied as our giftings and talents are,

varied are the battles we face and the ways that we process them. 

The good news about this is that even though becoming a believer won’t magically take away your feelings on certain things, your perspective on life, your natural disposition, it will give you something far greater and more important and more powerful than feelings to rely on – truth. 

Rather than work and toil and struggle to control and generate the appropriate feelings about the appropriate things (an impossible task), we ought to focus on what is true in our lives and what is true about ourselves. 

Becoming a believer in Jesus, a Christian, doesn’t take away your feelings on things. God made unique you to feel uniquely about anything and everything there is to have a feeling about (Psalm 139.14). But, becoming a believer in Jesus, a Christian, means acknowledging and accepting fundamental truths about yourself and the world we live in that are far more important and influential than how we feel about things. D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes on this,

That is something constantly emphasised in the Scriptures. After all, what we have in the Bible is Truth; it is not an emotional stimulus…It is primarily Truth, and Truth is addressed to the mind, God’s supreme gift to man; and it is as we apprehend and submit ourselves to the truth that the feelings follow. 

What he is saying then, is this – becoming a believer, accepting and acknowledging the truths of Scripture, first and foremost, is not an emotional exercise, it is something to be understood and accepted. Feelings will then follow. Truth informs our feelings, but our feelings aren’t always true. 

Do you believe what is written in Scripture?

Do you believe what is written and taught about Jesus, and what He did for you?

Do you believe that by placing faith in Him you are justified before God? 

When feelings of spiritual depression strike, when you wake to find yourself feeling down, depressed, or in disarray, remind yourself of the truths about yourself: of who you are, of whose you are, of what the Word of God says about you, of what Jesus did for you, and of what Jesus will do for you.

Your feelings are important, but more important is what God says about you.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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