If we only spent more time looking at Him [Christ], then we should soon forget ourselves.
— Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones
I intend with this post to address one of the most unnerving and uncomfortable topics we will encounter in our day-to-day lives: depression. Depression is an ugly thing. It claims families, relationships, and even lives. Often swept under the rug, it is scarcely talked about and even more scarcely talked about with serious intent to understand the problem. So, what I want to do in this post is try to really pinpoint where depression comes from.
Depression is a state of being sad, or in a melancholy mood, for extended periods of time for some reason or no reason at all. So, where does it come from? I think that depression fundamentally comes from catching a glimpse of ourselves. Allow me to explain. As a Calvinist, I believe that people are created in the image of God, but that they are marred beyond recognition by our Federal Head’s falling in the Garden. This doesn’t mean that we are any less valuable per se, merely that our value is much more difficult to spot. It is hidden under layers and layers of sin and filth.
Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve been covered in thick. black oil. Every day of your life you jump into more oil. It’s all you know how to do. Eventually, you decide to look in the mirror, however you don’t see yourself. You see this large “oil monster” who seems to have hijacked your body. This is the way it is with sin. When we finally determine to view ourselves, we don’t see ourselves as the image of God, we see our sin natures. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that seeing yourself as a sinner is inestimably important, but that is only part of the equation for salvation. One cannot repent of something of which he knows nothing. So, it’s obvious that seeing our sin is important if we want to be saved, but there’s more.
If I see my sin, without seeing my Savior, I have done myself no good and, in fact, may well have hurt myself more. If all I see is myself in my sinfulness, I have little over which to celebrate. I will get down on myself if I see myself as I am. That’s because I want to be whole. Everyone wants to be whole. Everyone, because they are created in the image of God, thinks they ought to be beautiful, but the stain of sin removes any semblance of beauty we may see. This is why we must look to Christ! He, being completely and totally holy and sinless, is the answer God has provided for our sinfulness! All that must be done is repentance and faith in Christ for us to be saved. While this doesn’t immediately solve the problem of depression, it becomes increasingly difficult to be depressed the closer you walk with Christ.
As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, believe me when I say that Christ is the only one who brings my life meaning, and keeps me afloat. Robert Murray McCheyne once said, “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.” If you do nothing but look at yourself, your sinfulness and wretchedness will drive you insane, but if you look to Christ as the answer to your sinfulness and wretchedness, you will be satisfied. Please, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns concerning depression or anxiety, reach out. I’d love to talk with you. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ grant to you grace and peace.
Soli Deo Gloria.