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Archive for December 13th, 2014

Counseling

Counseling: Depression, Part 2

STEP THREE: Study God’s Words.

Introduction:

Studying God’s Word is crucial because it provides illumination. Without studying, we will not be able to have proper discernment and wisdom. Studying God’s Word allows you to take your thoughts captive to Christ, be complete in Christ, learn how to trust and obey, mortify idols in your heart, and to have joy in His word as seen in the psalmist when he wrote Psalm 119.

Also, please continue to memorize Psalm 119:25-32 if you have not done so.

Action (depression):

  • Please list down the activities that need to be eliminated or decreased in order to mortify your sin (s) (Wayne A. Mack, 168).
  • Please study these following verses and try to understand what the author is speaking about and see how they apply to you. List down things that you believe causes your depression (Psalm 32:3, 4; 73:1-14; Gen. 4:6, 7; Deut. 1:28, 29; Psalm 55:2-8; Lk 24:17-21; 2 Sam. 18:33; 1 Samuel 1:7, 8; and Habakkuk 1:1-4); and please note down the particular circumstances in your life that are present when you feel you are prone to becoming depressed.[1] Also you may want to read the context surrounding the given verses in order to pinpoint what caused the individuals in Scripture to weep, become saddened, etc.
  • Please study the following verses and explain what you must do to overcome depression: Psalm 16:8-9; 1:1-3; 32:1-2; John 13:17; James 1:22-25; Gal. 5:22, 24; Rom. 15:13; Acts 13:52; Prov. 15:23; and 1 Thess. 2:19-20.[2]

Action (anxiety):

  • Study these following verses concerning anxiety and note down anything that speaks about anxiety (Lk 10:38-42; Prov. 28:1; Ezekiel 4:16-17; Lk 8:14; Lk 21:34; Prov. 15:15; Psalm 38:6; Gen. 45:3; 1 Samuel 28:20-23; 2 Thess. 1:7; Psalm 77:4,8-9), and read these pamphlets by Adams: What to Do When Fear Overcomes You, or What to Do About Worry.

Action (fear):

  • Also delighting in God will prevent us from conforming to the pressures of man, which in some cases can cause the blues.  Now in terms of the homework assignment, I will break it down into three categories. Please write down the results of fear (Lk. 21:26; Pro. 29:25; 1 John 4:18-19; Pro. 10:24; Pro. 28:1; Matt. 25:14-25; Deut. 28:58-67; Lev. 26:27-37; Gen. 21:16-17; Gen. 26:6-7; 1 Sam. 15:20-25; Gal. 2:12; Mark 4:35-41; Num. 14:1-4; Matt. 26:69-74), causes of fear (1 John 4:18-19; Pro. 28:1; Pro. 1:33; Pro. 29:25; Heb. 13:5-6; John 7:13; 20:19; Hebrews 2:15; Ezekiel 11:8; Gen. 32:11; Ps. 46:2-3; Gen. 21:16-17; Gen. 26:6-7; Matt. 10:28; Gal. 2:12; Ps. 23:4; Ps. 56:4; Matt. 26:69-74; Mark 4:35-41; Num. 13:25-14:5), and note down the solution to fear of man (1 John 4:18-19; Ps. 112:1, 7, 8; Heb. 13:5-6; 2 Tim. 1:7; Pro. 3:21-24; Gen. 32:7-12).[3]

Reflection:

  • Please explain if sorrow and rejoicing are incompatible and explain if there is a difference between the two.[4] Please refer to 1 Peter 1:3-11 and 2 Cor. 6:10 to answer the question.
  • Is there a difference between depression and sorrow?
  • Please explain what it means to “rejoice in the Lord.” Please explain if there are reasons to rejoice in the Lord.[5] See Phil. 4:4 for help. Note that Paul gives an imperative in that verse.
  • Please explain if the Bible allows for godly sorrow.
  • Please make a list of profitable things you were able to do before you were depressed and make a list of unprofitable things you did when you were depressed (Prov. 4:8-9).[6]
  • Was the depression the reigning influence in your heart? If so, why?
  • How will your life end up like in this earth if there is no victory or godly progress over depression (see Proverbs 13:15)?
  • Why do you want to sit on the bench when it comes to fighting your sin? The Bible prohibits that attitude. As a result, are you willing to repent from that mentality?
  • Is Christ enough for you? If not, how will your life end up in this earth and after you die?
  • At this juncture, you should already have picked up and read some if not the entire book, The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney.
  • After having read the entire book, please note down 15-20 quotes from the book that impacted you. Share this with your counselor or mature believer.
  • Please have a daily Bible reading plan (i.e. Psalm 119) and prayer time; get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, exercise; make a daily practice of noting down what are some of the things you are thankful for towards God, memorize Phil. 4:8, keep a daily journal of times that you were anxious (i.e. what thoughts you had, how you responded, what you should have done if you responded incorrectly), and share with a godly Christian/counselor your problems (Heb. 10:24-25).
  • Fear is defined as “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”[7] This definition of fear is an unhealthy one for Christians. There is healthy fear, where we fear God, but unhealthy fear, which is the fear of man. Fear of God is reverential because of His awesomeness, but fear of man causes one to have insecurity in one’s spiritual life. When this happens, one’s view of the sovereignty of God weakens.
  • Whenever the fear of man exist, I believe it is important to embrace these truths: “know the fear of the Lord,” “grow in the fear of the Lord,” “examine biblically your felt needs,” “know your real needs,” and “delight in the God who fills us with His presence and love.”[8]
  • When we grow in the fear of God, we see Him as Big and people being small. But when we fear man, we substitute man’s smallness for God’s bigness. When we study Scripture, people are small and weak, but the God we worship is mighty. There is no need to fear man.
  • Usually the fear of man is a result of the influence of man upon us or the influence of our wicked desires. We want to please them so we are not under their pressure. To combat that faulty view, we need to examine our real needs. Our real need is to glorify God in our thoughts and deeds (Col. 3:17).
  • What is your view of sin? Do you see it as an offense towards a holy God?
  • If you want to stop or make war against depression, please explain why? Is it because you just want fire insurance so that God will rescue you from Hell or is it mainly because you desire true joy and forgiveness in Christ?
  • Write down in a journal daily about your good and bad thoughts when temptation to give into depression arose.

[1] Wayne A. Mack, A Homework Manual for Biblical Counseling (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 1979), 58.

[2] Ibid., 58.

[3] Wayne A. Mack, A Homework Manual for Biblical Counseling, 72-73.

[4] Ibid., 58.

[5] Ibid., 58.

[6] Wayne A. Mack, A Homework Manual for Biblical Counseling, 59.

[7] New Oxford American Dictionary.

[8] Edward T. Welch, When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub, 1997), 7.

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