What if I told you that you weren’t created to live in anxiety and depression? What if I told you that Jesus has made a way for you to be free from that and he’s calling you to join in on that freedom today? Would you believe it? Or does your life’s experience make that sound like an unattainable fairytale.
The weight of life is heavy and its vision is often dark. When we fail to “feel” Jesus, we often assent that he isn’t there, or that we have done something wrong to dispel him from ourselves. What if I told you that the key to unlocking freedom from depression and anxiety has nothing to do with feelings at all? The world today is all about feelings, walking in the way that seems right, chasing after a pleasure which was meant to be filled by God. Why would we want to walk in the same way as the world, when we are called to walk differently (Rom. 12:2)? We aren’t called to live by feelings, but by faith.
Now some of you might say “Brennan, are you saying that I have to go through life denying my feelings living in a lie that says I’m okay when I feel broken?” My answer to that would be: By no means! What I am saying is that it is not a reversal of feelings that bring freedom, but an understanding of truth. It was Jesus who said “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). This is the beginning of freedom, understanding that not any truth, but knowing that Jesus who is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6) is the ONLY means to freedom. Without him we remain slaves to sin, reaping the effects of depression and anxiety with no escape.
Are you to blame for your depression and anxiety? I don’t think so. Many hold blame on themselves even though God says we who are in Christ have no more condemnation (Romans 8:1), but others then usher blame to a God who “has abandoned them” not realizing that the God of the Bible never forsakes his children. If God created you in his image, wouldn’t that mean God intended you to think like him as well? I think this is true, and precisely why after Jesus redeemed those that believe, Paul in the Bible says “we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Those that have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved, have full access to not just his thoughts, but his thought process as well. We aren’t just to flood our brains with his truth temporarily, but to actually reason and develop thoughts throughout our life as he does.
Humanity chose to disobey God in the beginning, resulting in a fallen world, and experience that is less than the original design of God. Understanding this is vital to understanding the new identity given in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). If you think your brain is to be mended and “fixed” to think properly, then you may just be attempting to accomplish what no one in the Old Testament could. They could not “cure” their fallen state by trying to hold to God’s law; they all fell short (Rom. 3:23). What if instead the key was understanding the TRUTH about your new identity; that you have been given the mind of Christ and have been called to partake in his divine nature?
Now I understand that’s easier to say than to accomplish, and I agree. But wasn’t it already finished when Jesus died on the cross for our salvation, which is not just a ticket to haven, but a transformed self, with a new mind and heart to know God? Why do I still feel like this if it’s already finished you might ask? Maybe you’ve been deceived by the world, and by Satan, to think that God is not powerful enough to restore your brokenness. Hear me clearly, I am not condemning you, but I know that God is good, and his will is to heal and restore brokenness, and to destroy the works of the devil. That being said, he has invited us to have faith, believe in his truth and be saved, without working to do righteousness, but to simply be it.
You may still ask, how do I grow in faith to understand my new identity? Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ”. The response is simple, read the Word of Christ, the Bible, surrender the old self which we were NEVER created for (the old self filled of depression and anxiety) and RECEIVE the new self that is freely given by Jesus. Will this happen overnight? Maybe. Will it take time to grow in faith and belief in the word? Maybe. In either case, the emptiness of surrendering the old self has to be filled with the truth of God. Repent (turn away from sin and a corrupted self and to God), and embrace the new life lived in the Kingdom of God which is far better than anything the world has to offer, and incorruptible by the world. Just reading these words about the nature of Jesus will begin to stir the seeds others have sown into your life which God will grow into such beauty. In all things know that GOD IS GOOD.
If you do not know God and you want to, just know that he receives all that come to him in need. There is a cost, but it involves giving up the self we weren’t created for, and surrendering all of our new self to him. I can promise you, in this new life is joy, peace, and purpose like never before. Trials and suffering still come to anyone who lives in this world, even Christians, but what an honor it is to walk through trials and sufferings not in despair, but in joy with the hope of Christ living in side of me. Those who choose this new life are made new and have become:
Alive with him (Ephesians 2:5), free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), far from oppression and fear (Isaiah 54:14), born of God whom the evil one cannot touch (1 John 5:18), holy and without blame in his love (Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:16), God’s child born in an incorruptible seed of the Word of God, living and abiding forever (1 Peter 1:23), God’s workmanship, created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), a believer in which the light of the Gospel shines through the mind (2 Corinthians 4:4), a doer of the Word who’s actions are blessed (James 1:22, 25), a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17), more than a conqueror through Christ who loves (Romans 8:37), an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11), a partaker of his divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4), an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9), the righteousness of God in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), his elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility and longsuffering (Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12), forgiven of all sins and washed in the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1:7), redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68, Galatians 3:13), called of God to be the voice of his praise (Psalm 66:8, Timothy 1:9), healed by the stripes of Jesus (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24), raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6, Colossians 2:12), greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7, Ephesians 2:4, Colossians 3:12, 1 Thessalonians 1:4), strengthened with all might according to his glorious power (Colossians 1:11).