What science say about depression
Science says depression is a result of chemicals in the brains gone haywire. Although there are antidepressants drugs, the National Mental Health Institute said it won’t work on long-term recovery. Doctors admit they don’t fully understand the root cause. (Harvard Med)
Of course, there are obvious reasons for depression. It can happen because of lingering and debilitating sicknesses such as cancer, nerve damage, or trauma. Small tweaks such as Deep Brain Stimulation can be a powerful treatment of the brain or by taking brain-altering drugs. However, depression that progress to suicide is much more complicated.
What the Bible says
Insanity and disability were often associated with sin and demonic oppression in the Bible. It sounds awful to a person having an emotional breakdown but sin has many shapes. You could be depressed because of passion, narcissistic personality disorder, or financial rut. Moreso, it could be a demonic foothold when you engage in immoral sex, porn or drug addiction. These are self-gratification, a form of idolatry, which is sin itself. (Colossians 3:5)
→ The worst kind of depressive state: Anhedonia
→ The satanic and demonic nature of sexual sins.
Science and the Bible
There is a correlation between faith and depression. About 61% recover from depression much faster if they have a religious or spiritual affiliation. A higher percentage (75%) is found in suicide. This has been reported in hundreds of both quantitative and qualitative studies on coping with stress (NCBI). There are also studies that show faster recovery from sickness with faith and prayer, though it remains debatable. Exercise is also linked to depression.
Faith-based support can protect psychological well-being through hope and social support during stressful experiences (APA). The research affirms what the Bible teaches about troubles in this world and how we can overcome.
→ Practical discipline to help prevent child depression.
When science or faith didn’t help
There are mental problems because of physiological issues such as the inability of the body to produce enough serotonin. A combination of drugs is needed, much like how herbs or protein supplements work to heal the body. However, it doesn’t always work.
About 800,000 people die by suicide each year. It’s the second cause of death aged 15-24 years (WHO). Many of them are smart and successful. Recently, 20 students in India killed themselves because of a failed exam. In their mind, they believed that there is no hope.
Book author and megachurch Pastor Rick Warren’s son Matthew killed himself. Jeff, son of Charles Morris, radio host of a program heard in 600 radio stations died from a drug overdose. Recently, megachurch Pastor Andrew Stoecklein committed suicide despite having a happy family. They did everything, best doctors, meds, counselors, prayers, but the mental illness remained. If church leaders we consider as closest to God failed, what hope do we have?
Depression is a spiritual battle of the mind where in most cases, our depravity, self-indulgence, self-pity, and self-centeredness allows the enemy to cloud our mindset. It is hopelessness, the opposite of why Jesus died on the cross. He is our hope, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). On the other hand, Satan tells you “there is no hope,” and the only escape is death. Indeed, the mind is the devil’s playground. Consider these verses:
2 Kings 6:11 – Troubled mind
1 Timothy 6:5 – Depraved mind
Romans 8:7 – Sinful mind
2 Corinthians 3:14 – Dull mind
2 Corinthians 4:4 – Blinded mind
2 Timothy 3:8 – Corrupt mind
God’s children are Satan’s trophies
In John Gill’s exposition, the passage in Luke 6:18 meant we can be vexed with unclean spirits, possessed with devils, tormented, and afflicted by them. But Jesus can heal us. The following verses clearly tell us Satan is after Christians as his trophies:
1 Peter 5:8 – Satan hunts and wants to devour you.
1 Samuel 18:10 – Harmful spirit rushed to King Saul to kill David.
John 10:20 – The man has a demon and is insane.
Luke 22:31–32 – He wants to sift God’s workers like wheat
Luke 6:18 – Those troubled by impure spirits were cured,
Luke 8:35 – Demons left and he was in his right mind.
Matthew 17:14-18 – Jesus rebuked the demon, the boy was healed.
Matthew 4:24 – Jesus healed the sick, those oppressed by demons.
Romans 7:18-20 – The evil I do is because of sin that dwells in me.
→ Can Christian be possessed by demons?
Is Jesus the anchor of your faith?
Research indicates that depressed patients with strong “intrinsic faith” recover 70% faster than those who are not deeply religious (Wiley, Todd Chan). The scripture is clear, we can overcome depression if our faith is anchored on Jesus. However, it’s a decision you have to make and “practice faith” to see it work. (James 2:22-23;Hebrews 11:1). Meditate on the following verses:
1 Peter 5:6-7 – God will lift you up in due time, cast your anxiety.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – God will comfort us from all kinds of troubles.
Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear or be dismayed. I will strengthen you.
John 16:33 – In our troubles, Jesus can help us overcome.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord!
Psalm 40:1-3 – I waited patiently, the Lord heard my cry.
Psalm 42:11 – Why are you downcast? Put your hope in God.