Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series
where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years,
the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them
with you. This morning we seek to understand the nature of spiritual depression
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Nature of Spiritual Depression
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart, the spirit is
broken." Proverbs, Chapter 15, Verse 13.
Brothers and sisters, in today's broadcast, we shall consider the nature of spiritual depression. We
are familiar with biological depression, but we may not recognize spiritual depression since spiritual
reality is not readily recognized. Biological depression we define as a psychological reaction towards
a perceived loss. It may have occurred remotely or recently, but it is the self reacting towards a loss
that it considers necessary to its sense of emotional well being. Sometimes this depression may be
situational and may be associated with a temporary situation such as the loss of a job, an illness or
a temporary disappointment. How deep the self sinks into this depression is dependent upon the
degree of the perception of the loss and value of it.
For example, the loss of a job may usher in a temporary state of depression that may last only until
the job is replaced. Conversely, the loss of a significant other either to death or estrangement may
usher in a depression that may last a long time relatively speaking. It all depends on the person’s
resiliency--the ability to find a suitable substitute. A substitute does not completely erase the sense
of loss, but it does gradually cover the gaping wound that has been left in the psyche. As time passes
the two are cemented together so that, from a functional perspective, no loss is appreciable. Though
the memories of the losses remain, they have no power to cast the psyche back into depression.
In some situations, such as the loss of a parent, a child may have extreme difficulty getting over this
hurdle of loss. When the loss occurs before the child has organized a strong sense of his emotional
identity and is still very much dependent upon his parent for his identity, this loss may throw him
into a tailspin, as he unsuccessfully tries to regain his equilibrium. Very much depends on the
availability of a parental figure with whom the child can identify and with whom he can have his
emotional needs met.
In some cases depression appears in the emotional background from no perceivable loss. The
individual becomes depressed and remains that way. Usually the chemistry of the brain keeps a
balance between our sense of optimism and our sense of pessimism. When this balance is disturbed
we can have a depression that cannot be explained by an apparent loss. Or we can reach such a high
manic state that can derail us because of unrealistic optimism. We can experience both of these states at the same time. Thus the person can swing from extreme highs to extreme lows. We know that this kind of depression is biologically linked because we can treat it with drugs, which will restore some emotional normalcy to the individual.
Spiritual depression is likewise a reaction to a perceived loss, but the loss is spiritual rather than
material. Spiritual depression is the spiritual recognition of the loss of spiritual value and thus the
loss of spiritual meaning. This type of depression may be the result of a person’s rebellion or the
result of a person who fails to see the relevancy of spiritual values and meanings in her life. Spiritual
depression may also result from a believer--one who recognizes the reality of spiritual values and
meanings but because of the difficulty of her material struggles loses sight of the source of all
spiritual values and meanings, the heavenly Father. This connection to the heavenly Father (though
absolutely real in the spiritual sense) is made real in the spiritual consciousness by the exercise of
faith. And this faith must be living and continuous. It must expand to embrace the spiritual values
and meanings in every situation. More precisely, this living faith insists that there is spiritual value
and meaning to be found in all bonafide human experiences. This is also another way of saying, "not
my will but your will be done."
When the believer allows the ups and downs of her material life to block the spiritual values and
meanings streaming in from the Father, spiritual depression sets in. It usually follows on the heel of
a biological depression brought on by the distresses of the material life. Biological depression does
not cause spiritual depression, but often we associate loss with spiritual depression. Sometimes when
the material mind is weighed down from pain and suffering, it looks to its heavenly Father for
material relief. When it does not come, the mind often becomes spiritually depressed. Spiritual
depression makes it harder to bear biological depression because faith, hope, and trust have been lost.
Although spiritual values and meanings are concealed in everyday material life--our spiritual
relationships with the Father are not material. Spiritual depression presently manifests itself as the
loss of a sustaining purpose, the failure to perceive spiritual values and meanings in the activities of
life, the loss of a zest for life, and the entrapment of a crippling fear that all is lost and that there is
no eternal escape from material problems. This effectively blinds the soul to the life-giving mercies
of truth, and the shades of darkness cover the soul and triggers the biological depression of the mind.
The only effective cure for spiritual depression is to hold fast to the truth that nothing of spiritual
value is ever lost, that all experiences no matter how difficult or trying have an end just as they have
a beginning. Only eternal values are without beginning or end. The believer must insist on expressing
faith and trust in the heavenly Father no matter how difficult or trying the experience is. This faith
and trust in the heavenly Father sustains us as we live through the material struggles of life. Even
though spiritual elevation cannot cure biological depression, it does provide hope, which is so
essential. Each and every material loss or perception of loss should propel the believer into a deeper
and deeper relationship with the Father. And even though the material status remains fixed, no such
limitation applies to the soul. Jesus says, "Come to unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and you shall find rest unto your souls."
The best and only way to avoid spiritual depression is to maintain a strong spiritual faith and to
exercise this living faith through the ups and downs of life. The best way to keep this living faith
strong and vibrant so that it is up to the task of being exerted is to maintain a constant living
relationship with the Father through prayer when spiritual power is needed to display the values of
the spirit, and through worship when the need exists to grasp new spirit values. And if the depression
is the result of rebellion, sincere repentance and accepting forgiveness will do the trick.
This concludes today's message on understanding the nature of spiritual depression. We hope you
find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.