Ever find yourself doubting the things you know to be true?
You should just have more faith. That's what Christians tell you, right? If you're depressed, or anxious, or struggling, you just need to have faith, brother.
Sometimes, reality is far different than the happy face you wear to church on Sundays. When things are going well, it's easy to look at someone who's struggling and say that he should just have faith. I'm guilty of this attitude far more often than I care to admit.
That's spiritual pride at its core: "Hey, if you were as spiritual as I am, you wouldn't be so depressed."
Or well-meaning Christians tell you that you should just pray. How do you pray, when all seems hopeless and you don't have the words? "Just pray, brother." In other words, "If you were as spiritual as I am, you'd pray, and you'd be over it already."
Right. In the real world, life is hard sometimes. If this walk was so easy, we wouldn't need Jesus. We'd just "have faith" and "pray," and nothing could touch us.
So what do you do when you don't know what to do? Sit and wonder if you're really a Christian, because "real" Christians don't get depressed? Strain with all your might to muster up the faith "real" Christians have?
Recognize the "Real" Challenge
Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:1-3)
What was the real challenge Satan presented Jesus with here? It's the same challenge you and I face when we battle feelings of depression, anxiety, and discouragement.
Immediately before this challenge, here's what happened:
And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
So God the Father said to Jesus, "You are My beloved Son." Immediately, Satan questioned the truthfulness of God's word: "If that's really the case, prove it." Or, as he told Eve in the Garden of Eden, "Did God really say" that?
Of course, Jesus would never fall for such a thing. But we do, and that's the only trick Satan has left in his bag. He can't posess you. He can't destroy you. He can't do anything to you.
Except make you doubt God's word.
What's the Antidote?
The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” (Luke 4:3-4)
Don't try to transform yourself. Sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. He'll transform you by renewing your mind (Rom 12:2).
Don't try to "have faith." Sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him. Faith comes by hearing His word - not by trying to have more faith (Romans 10:17).
Don't try to be spiritual and strong. Sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him tell you, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!”
Like Daniel, you'll be able to say, "When he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me” (Daniel 10:19).
Today, stop trying to be spiritual and strong. Instead, pick up the sword of the Spirit - God's weapon against your depression. Open your bible, and nourish your spirit by feasting on His Word. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Allow times of refreshing to come from the presence of the Lord.