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Dying to Self and Getting Connected: The Pathway out of Depression

Posted by Dave Shields on

I recently read an article titled “The Bondage of Sin” by biblical counselor and author Edward Welch. In this article, Ed touched on the rapid growth of depression in our world today:

Isn’t the absence of community and connectedness with other people and God one of the most prominent experiences of this generation? Depression researcher Martin Seligman has seen it in the growing numbers of depressed adults. He asks, ‘Why are so many people depressed these days?’ His explanation is that we have lost a sense of community. There is no such thing as the common good or common goals; nothing appears bigger than the self. Furthermore, Seligman indicates, the experience of depression is intensified in this culture because we have lost not only a sense of family and extended family, but our belief in God. What Seligman calls ‘the very small and frail unit called the self’ is not able to stand alone. What an astute description of the pitiful human condition, not just from the perspective of this culture, but apart from Christ! How useless and miserable it is to be isolated and to put our hope in ourselves! 

As I began to ponder Welch’s words, it caused me to reflect on my own story. You see, a little over a decade ago, I was at the lowest point of my life. I lived in a constant state of depression while coming off of years of drug abuse. When I decided to get clean, I entered into a residential discipleship ministry in Florida. I’ll never forget what the pastor told me on my intake day. He said, “Dave, you know what depression is? It is sitting around all day thinking about yourself.” Those wise words are what began a shift in my thinking when it came to depression. 

Now, fast forward to 2018; I was attending a Bible study at The Bible Chapel in Washington when the topic of depression came up. As we were in discussion, one gentleman stated, “The opposite of depression is connection.” Later on, the pieces all came together as I read Welch’s article.

On my faith journey, depression dissipated when I decided to get involved in the local church. It was fellowship with the family of believers that changed the outlook of my life.  

First and foremost, God had to break me, bringing me to the end of myself. And when I came to this point of great need, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. As I pursued a relationship with God, He began to heal my wounds and restore my life.

But even as I was walking with Christ, I was still struggling with depression and fear. Then brought Isaiah 41:10 to remembrance. “Fear not, I am with you.” God comforted me with those words and gave me the confidence to start to face my fears. The only way I was really going to overcome these issues was to push through them with God’s help. Then by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, there were two things I implemented into my life that lifted me out of depression and produced victory over fear. 

  1. I had to learn to die to self by serving in the church.
    In Matthew 16:24, Jesus tells us that dying to self is the way to discipleship. Then in Matthew 20:28, Jesus demonstrates that He did not come to be served, but to serve. It’s as simple as this: If Jesus is saying it and doing it, then I need to follow His example.
  2. I decided to get connected in the church by sharing my life with other believers.
    Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” If I wanted to be lifted out of this pit of despair and get built up in my faith, I had to be intentional about spending time with fellow believers. 

If you battle with depression, I strongly encourage you to get connected here at The Bible Chapel or another local church in your area. Ask God to help you leave your comfort zone behind and push through the fear. Serving in the church and sharing your life with others are key components to experiencing a life of purpose, joy, and contentment.

For the complete article from Edward Welch, click the link below:

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