Overcoming Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are real problems, affecting millions. The Bible has several solutions.

tommy asks: Why do i feel so beaten down and so afraid over everything that something bad may happen at any moment? I dislike my job, my business is going downhill with this economy and I wish to do something else. something bolder but as immediately commercial.
Question about A Personal Question: I need help
Motivation - Trouble: Personal crisis; Fear, anxiety, worry: Fear of circumstances
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 29, Sunday, 28-Aug-2011]

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.
- 1 John 4:18 [KJV]

Anxiety, depression, and fear of impending doom are real problems, Tommy. Some dismiss them with a flimsy phrase like 'get over it' or 'it is all in your mind.' But those phrases are not true. Those phrases don't work. I am not a doctor, but I have been through these problems and have a few Bible-based steps you can take. These steps have helped me.

The Bible solution for fear is love. The verse from 1 John above (in the box) applies directly. But the idea of 'perfect love' is vague and needs to be defined. We define it in the paragraphs below.

Worried man
The Bible has solutions for fear, anxiety, worry, depression, frustration, and similar maladies. The solutions are simple, and they work.

The Bible says fear has torment, and it surely does. Fear eats away at your mind and your gut. The Bible also says love casts out fear. This love comes from God, and from other people, including doctors.

In the Bible, love is not something you feel. It is not a gushy, mushy, feel-good emotion. Instead, biblical love is something you do. In this article you will find specific, almost mechanical, things you can do to overcome torment and frustration. Give them a try.

The Bible says that God loves you. He loves you so much He died a cruel death on a cross for you. Jesus does not feel good for you, He does good for you. That's biblical love: doing things, not feeling things.

Tommy indicates that changing jobs, or starting a new business, may help. It may, but it is chancy, with no guarantees. Try implementing the biblical principles outlined below, then turn your attention to your job. Things should improve immediately, even if your job situation lags behind.

The paragraphs below address these topics:

  • Where does fear come from?
  • Physical solutions: Doctors help a lot
  • Spiritual solutions: Specific Bible steps you can take immediately.
Please keep reading, Tommy. We are praying for you.

Where Does Fear Come From?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 [KJV]

The first step in solving any problem is to understand its source. Where do fear, anxiety, and depression come from? They don't come from God. Instead, God provides in power, love, and a sound mind (verse in the box from 2 Timothy).

If not from God, there are only three possible sources of fear: the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

The world is the everyday system we live in. In the US today, the world system is broken. It is limping along under poor government leadership and mis-directed, ungodly commercial forces. There are hundreds of millions of people who are adversely affected by the world. The Bible acknowledges that people live 'in' the world, but they do not have to be 'of' the world, that is, they do not have to participate in a corrupt world system. Jesus says of those who truly follow Him:

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [John 17:16, KJV]

The flesh is the physical part of our being, usually described as our body and our mind, distinct from our spirit. No one has to tell us that our flesh comes up short. We do not live up to God's standards. Instead, the Bible says that every person is a sinner, that is, every person disobeys God and trouble is the result:

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. [Isaiah 64:6, KJV]

The Devil - As if the world and the flesh aren't enough, sometimes the Devil shows up and works us over. The Bible teaches about spiritual forces that come against us (against our spirits) to hamper and side-track us. The good news is that God controls the Devil, and keeps him in check. If you are a believer, here is a promise God makes for you:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. [1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV]

Knowing the sources of our troubles, we can now fight against them with love. Love casts out fear, and love is not an emotion, it is good things we do. Here are those specific things to cast out fear:

Physical Solutions: Doctors Help a Lot

counseling works wonders
Counseling works wonders.

I have been to counseling many times in my life. These professional people have much to offer and, almost always, help tremendously. If you have not seen a professional counselor, make an appointment today. Here are several specific steps.

(1) Find a counselor in your local area and call him or her. You probably don't need to see a psychiatrist (a medical doctor); an experienced counselor will do. A good place to start is the 'Find a Counselor' page of the AACC web site www.aacc.net. The question of insurance and payment will come up, so be ready to answer such questions when setting up the appointment. But, EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE INSURANCE, hook up with a counselor anyway. Many free services are available in America today. Praise the Lord!

(2) Visit with your counselor as he or she prescribes. Usually the sessions are one hour long and they run for a few weeks or months. This is not a long-term endeavor. Most counseling starts quickly, gets the job done, and stops.

(3) If prescription medications are indicated, the counselor will probably ask you to visit a medical doctor. As I understand it, sometimes depression and and anxiety are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and medications can help restore proper levels.

(4) Don't go to a free service. In other words, don't see a pastor, priest, or rabbi. These professionals are compassionate and can help significantly, but they are not as effective as paid counselors. It is human nature to hold back information from free practitioners. If you are paying, the exchange of personal information happens quickly, and the sessions stop sooner, conserving your funds.

Some people think the Bible teaches that going to doctors shows a lack of faith and a disdain for God. This is not true. The Bible has many good things to say about doctors and medicine. One of my favorite verses applauds the benefits of medicine:

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
- Proverbs 17:22 [KJV]

One really good medication you can administer yourself is exercise. You can walk, run, use weights, or apply any number of methods to get those endorphins flowing. But the best bet is to join a gym. A gym gets you involved with other people. Interacting with other people, even a little bit as you work out, is a good way to boost positive emotions.

Spiritual Solutions: Specific Bible Steps You Can Take Immmediately

Get some good music you like and listen to it.
Get some good music you like and listen to it.

As biblical love is not a mushy emotion, Bible-based spirituality is not a mystical, paranormal undertaking either. Here are four important, nuts-and-bolts things you can do to cure fear-based problems like anxiety, depression, feelings of impending doom, worry, apprehension, and overall mental uneasiness:

  • Praise
  • Pray
  • Read
  • Go to church

If you have not tried these, now's the time. The Bible says they help, and many people, like me, ratify what the Bible says based on our own experience.

Praise - The Bible says:

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.
- Psalms 150:6 [KJV]

If you are breathing, you qualify.

Praise usually takes one of two forms: spoken words and music. Speaking to God, telling Him how wonderful He is and thanking Him for His blessings poured into your life, is the spoken form of praise. You are blessed. You might not think so, but a little thought will show it is true. For one thing, you are alive, not dead. That's a blessing.

Count your blessings
Name them one-by-one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!

Some believers employ 'speaking in tongues' to praise God. In the Bible, most of the time, praise comes in musical form. You can sing God's praises, or you can listen. You can listen quietly, or you can listen and shout at the same time. It is a personal thing. Just do it! It works.

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD is not a catchy phrase or a religious saying. It is a command from God, as important as 'Thou shalt not kill.' Following God's commands always makes things better.

He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.
- Psalms 102:17 [KJV]

Prayer and Bible Reading - Today we communicate with God by prayer and Bible reading. This was not always the case. In Bible times communication was often more direct, with visions and voices. Today 99+ percent of heavenly communication happens when we pray (we talk to God) and when we read the Bible (God talks to us). Be wary of visions and voices, because, while not impossible, they are not the norm today (see Hebrews 1:1).

There is nothing magic or mysterious about prayer and Bible reading. Just do it. Get alone and talk to God, knowing he hears:

It's like the old Gospel song:

  1. Have a little talk with Jesus
  2. Tell Him all about your troubles
  3. He will hear your faintest cry
  4. And He will answer, by and by

Reading the Bible is the same thing. Just do it. You can find scholarly dissertations about how to read the Bible, where to start, what to look for, and why to do it. But it is all moot unless you actually read it. I personally started with Exodus in the Old Testament and Mark in the New Testament. It worked for me! How about you?

Go to Church - Our final note is one on church-going, or synagogue-going, as the case may be. The Old Testament is filled with God-ordained group meetings, and the New Testament commands us to go to church:

let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together
- Hebrews 10:24 [KJV]

local church community
A local church community is important for personal fulfillment and happiness. Join in. It's free and non-threatening.

At church you will find opportunity for corporate (with other people) praise, prayer, and Bible reading, which is just as important as private praise, prayer, and Bible reading.

If you already attend a church or synagogue, continue there. Switch churches only if you are spiritually starved and cannot find uplifting praise, fervent prayer, and helpful Bible teaching. Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with the church. The thing that is wrong is you! And if you start to fix things personally, the church seems to fall in line.

If you do not go to a church at all, find one near you and start attending. You should experience godly love (people doing things to help you while glorifying God at the same time) right away. My recommendation is to steer clear of small groups which say they are a 'church' but meet in houses, rented buildings, or store fronts. Go instead to an established church with a nice building and plenty of people, 50 or more on Sunday morning. Such churches usually have good track records and plenty of resources that can help people. Denomination-wise, I am partial to Baptists and Pentecostals, but you may have other preferences. Avoid any church that talks down other churches. Prefer churches that lift up other churches.

My Hope for Tommy and Those Like Him

Often an article like this ends with a disclaimer along these lines:

Give it time. Don't expect immediate results. The problem took a long time to develop, and it will take a long time to resolve. Hang in there!

But I'm not saying that. The principles above: (1) doctors, (2) praise, (3) prayer, (4) Bible reading, and (5) going to church, will have immediate and noticeable effects as soon as your start doing them. That's God's promise and my hope for you:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
- Galatians 6:7ff [KJV]

by Paul Richards

Fri, 21-Nov-2014 10:09:33 GMT, unknown: 308352 AB73VaBsrOogo
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