Death & Depression

by Jerry Alderson

First of all, let me make a disclaimer.  I do not consider myself “professionally qualified” to speak on either topic.  But that is true of most of what I say and write about.  My “qualification” comes only from trying to point to the Scriptures.  The thoughts that follow come from two experiences I had in the past two weeks.

A fellow preacher whom I deeply respect and appreciate informed me recently that the doctor had informed him that he likely has less than six months to live.  I don’t know what his immediate thoughts were when he heard this, but I doubt that he was totally surprised.  He said that he had never had to face crucifixion like the Lord did, nor had he ever had to face stoning like Stephen did.  He had been granted the opportunity to live the Christian life and, because of that, had enjoyed a very good life.

Within these past two weeks, I believe, if I have remembered correctly, that I have heard someone speak of feeling depressed or have been told of someone who has been depressed some six times.  All were Christians.  Without question, much of what brings depression concerns the events and circumstances of life.  We often have little control over these, so it is necessary that we control what we can–our minds.  In Colossians 3:2, Christians are instructed to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  And Philippians 4:8 guides us into thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

When Jesus called people to be disciples, he said that required “denying SELF.”  SELF had to be moved into the proper place in our lives, and that could not be “first” place.

If my mind is centered on “me,” then much of life will bother me and perhaps control me.  If my mind is centered on what the Scriptures ask that I make my focus, can that produce anything except all that is good, joyous and uplifting?  Can it happen?  Romans 12:2 says Christians are to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Following are JUST A FEW of the truths that must occupy your mind if you are to enjoy and benefit from Scriptural instruction.  If thoughts like these are not enough, what possibly could be?

1 John 1:3b-4 — “And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.  We write this to make our joy complete.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 — “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

1 Peter 1:3-4a — “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature….”

1 John 3:1a — “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!”

When I contrasted the words of my preacher friend with the feelings of the other folks, my thought was “he hasn’t forgotten these and all the other statements about what we as Christians have.”  We cannot afford to forget.  Think what it does to us when we do!

                             via Bulletin from Park Ave. church of Christ; Charleston, WV


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