In the past five posts we have taken a look at David Murray‘s eight reasons why caregivers, pastors, counselors and loved ones ought to pursue greater knowledge of the complex issue of depression. In his book, Christians Get Depressed Too, Murray concisely explains these reasons below:
We ought to study Depression:
- Because the Bible speaks about it
- Because it is so common
- Because it impacts our spiritual life
- Because it may be prevented or mitigated
- Because it will open doors of usefulness
- Because it is so misunderstood
- Because it is a talent to be invested for God (today’s post)
- Because we can all improve our mental and emotional health (today’s post)
Because it is a talent to be invested for God:
Firstly, let’s understand the use of the word “talent”. Murray is not speaking about ability or skill to be used in God’s Kingdom. He is not expressing that depression is some sort of skill set to be employed on God’s behalf. Rather, he is using a monetary term from the New Testament, specifically from one of Jesus’ parables.
Murray explains that, just like any kind of affliction or suffering, depression can be viewed as something given to the believer to be invested in such a way that it will benefit others as well as bring glory to God. (Matthew 25:14-30) I like this simple sentence from David, “God often uses broken people.” That is true, is it not?
Perhaps Elisabeth Elliot, quoting Ruth Stull of Peru, said it best:
If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.
God does not set aside his broken children. Rather he allows their affliction to be used for his glory.
Because we can all improve our mental and emotional health:
Current day believers are on top of the latest ways to stay healthy, not only physically, but spiritually. However, as Murray points out, “…there is less consciousness of the similar effort required to maintain or recover mental health.”
There is much less awareness of the biblical strategies and proven techniques that can be used to achieve good mental and emotional health, with beneficial side effects for our bodies and souls.
The importance of understanding mental illness, depression, anxiety, etc, is just as we benefit from a knowledge of how to treat our bodies properly, so, too, we benefit from treating our minds and souls properly. Murray goes on
What I have learned is helping me on a daily basis to overcome disappointment and handle stressful situations without my mental and emotional health suffering as much as before.
If you are not suffering major depression and severe anxiety, the importance of educating yourself about these issues actually assists you when you hit “low spots” in your life. As you improve your mental health, you also will see benefits in physical and spiritual health.
Chance to Interact: Of the eight reasons Murray lists, which were the most beneficial to you? Why? The least beneficial? Why?
We now will move from looking at The Crisis (ch.1) to The Complexity (ch.2) in which Murray considers the attitude and spirit in which we should study depression. Viewpoints will be shared from Jay Adams, CCEF, Jonathan Edwards, Puritans and others. It should be an interesting read.