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"It was no big deal for Peter to try walking on water. He was a fisherman. Obviously he must have been a good swimmer, right? If he sank, he’d just swim out. No sweat. I’m like that," my dear friend said. "If I see I’m getting in over my head in my business, it’s no big deal. I can always swim out." My friend’s faith was in himself until one day God said, "Listen Sport, this time I’m going to let you get so far from the shore that you’ll never be able to swim back."
Perhaps you identify with my friend. So long as you were able to keep your arms and legs flailing, you never experienced depression or defeat. But, when the currents have carried you far from shore and you can’t swim out, you become a candidate for depression. Don’t despair! Your loving Father wants to show you how to stop placing your faith in the wrong object, self or others. Christ alone must be your primary Source if you are to be liberated from the chains of depression.
A practitioner who always treats depression as the problem is missing the mark. Just as fever is but a symptom of the cause, so it is with depression. Depression is a symptom of a deeper cause. Most counselors would agree that less than 5% of depression cases have physically induced depression which does not respond to counseling. PMS, hypoglycemia, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, thyroid or blood sugar problems, etc. are physical factors which can cause depression. Counseling such a Christian with spiritual truth can subject him to even greater despair because although he may see the truth which sets a man free, he can’t appropriate it. However, the remaining 95% of the depressed Christians can experience victory solely through spiritual counsel.
Let’s work backward from the symptom, depression, to identify its source. Show me a person who is depressed and I’ll show you a person who is hostile. Show me a person who is hostile and I’ll show you a person who is frustrated. Show me a person who is frustrated and I’ll show you a person who is not getting a basic need met. An unsatisfied need is the root cause of depression. Let’s identify which need it is:
1.       You feel rejected by others: You feel rejected or abandoned by the one(s) whom you’ve chosen as love sources. Your love-need is unsatisfied.
2.       You reject yourself: You need to respect (love) yourself and you can’t do it.
3.       You can’t control: You can’t control your circumstances, the people you’ve targeted, or God. They just won’t "act right" and you are hostile. You feel you have the right to control. Although this is not a basic need, falsely assuming it to be can produce depression when it can’t be satisfied.
Depressed people typically experience one or more of the following thought patterns:
1.       Self-condemning thoughts: I’m such a sorry person! I always mess up! I don’t blame them for the way they treat me; it’s all my fault!
2.       Low self-esteem thoughts: I understand why they don’t love me. They’ve discovered what I have always known. I’m unlovable!
3.       Pity-party thoughts: It’s her fault! If she’d just try as hard as I do! You’re not fair, God! I don’t deserve this! If only I had (this)…If only I hadn’t lost (that)…if they (or God) would just do it my way!
Thoughts of this type are served up to your sound mind through your flesh (old patterns of behavior) with first person singular pronouns by a power called sin. You can’t stop them, but you don’t have to obey them (Rom. 6:11-13). Reject them! God commands you to "let your mind dwell on" (those things that are good and true and right…) If you are depressed, you are doing just the opposite. Given the fact that your emotions respond to your mind, it’s no wonder that you feel so down.
You must "let your mind dwell on" these facts:

  • Your Creator designed you to need His unconditional love which you already have through your relationship with Jesus Christ. But, you seek to satisfy your love-need through conditional love from people; you seek to merit or earn their love. Or you seek to bestow love upon yourself via the same technique and because you’ve let yourself down, you can’t value yourself. When your love supply wanes it paves the way to depression.?


  • Your Creator designed you to be dependent upon Christ and His strength through you, but you’ve sought to depend on self. Not hearing of exchanging your life for Christ’s Life, nor who you now are in Him, you appropriated Him only as Savior and Lord. So you’ve been living independently which is sin. You’ve actually believed it was noble to face Monday mornings trusting in your strength. This is trusting in the arm of flesh which will fail you. Like my friend at the beginning of this article, when you find yourself so far from the shore that it’s hopeless to swim back on flesh power, you begin to sink into the murky waters of depression.

So much for the problem. Let’s talk about letting the One who created you give you victory over it. After all, who knows what’s best for you, your Creator or His creation?
1. Make God’s unconditional acceptance through Christ your major Source of love. Stop grieving over the human love you want but can’t obtain. It isn’t that God is against our getting human love; He tells us to love one another. But notice He never says we are to strive to get loved by people. It’s fine when you get it, but people-love must not be your source, God is. And your tank is already topped off with God’s love. Believe it with your mind whether your emotions agree or not. It’s always to be believed, not always to be felt!
2. Stop trying to run your little portion of the universe. As a friend of mine says, "If you want to get along with God, stay out of His chair." Move! Tear up declaration of independence! You’re cutting in on His job description! Stop it!
3. You are obviously of such value that the One who created you "spent" His only Son to purchase you as a son. This cannot be denied, so choose to believe this with your will. Your emotions may not buy it. They think it’s nonsense. You must accept the fact that you are extremely valuable to your Creator. Adopt His opinion.
4. God says that upon your death in Christ, you were recreated in Him for a specific purpose (Eph. 2:10). This purpose is to enjoy an intimate, warm relationship with Jesus and to bring honor to His reputation by letting Him express His life through you. Rain on whether you feel like it. Dive in and begin acting like it! Give life your best shot and believe Christ is doing it through you.
5. Accept the fact that you are a new creation in Christ, someone different whom you can learn to respect (2 Cor. 5:17). The new you is a lovable delight to the "Father of your spirit." Everything offensive about you was crucified in Christ and buried in Him. Then when Christ arose, you were reborn as a lovely new creation much like a worm which becomes a butterfly.
6. To us, it seems like we’re earthlings with a heavenly hope, but God says we are heaven-dwellers who temporarily live in earthsuits. You have already ascended to heaven in Christ where you are the apple of your spiritual Father’s eye. He even wants you to call Him "Daddy!" ("Abba" means "Daddy").
7. You can believe all of the above and it will not make a dent in your depression. You must sell out to the truth. You must walk in the light if you are to come out of the darkness. Close your eyes. Picture yourself treading water far from the safety of the shore. Say, "Jesus, I have been trying to swim in the ocean all of my life myself. I didn’t know You came into me through me. It’s no wonder I’m so exhausted and defeated. They say that a person being rescued from drowning is supposed to relax and submit himself to his Rescuer. Jesus, I do that right now."

You are now relaxing in Christ’s loving arms and He is in control. Yes, you move your arms and you flutter kick your feet, but you think, "not I, but Christ through me." Call us and order the tape series on depression. Listen to it repeatedly, trusting in the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ as all He desires to be to you. Slowly, step-by-step, you will begin to experience the lifting of your depression. Why? Because you will experience God’s unconditional acceptance (love) which will relieve your frustration, which will relieve your hostility, which will lift your depressed spirit. As you learn to walk in the Light, fellowshipping with Jesus, letting Him serve others through you, you will begin to think, "You know, Dad, thanks to You, I’m actually learning to respect myself. Oh, use me to show others the purpose for living."

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.