Today’s devotion is about the actual cause of depression. One of the most basic responses to depression is to blame people or circumstances for causing it. There are the sudden tragic turn of events. There is the long list of hurtful words and acts of betrayal by friends and family. And there may be the unexpected loss of health. And through all this, there is the sense that you are the victim of all this.
In your small group: Share your list of things that you blame for your discouragement.
No doubt, these things can take its toll on your body and soul. But the actual cause of depression is not anything or anyone. The actual cause of depression is…
Your Response to the Situation!
Consider today how your life is filled with various experiences. The truth is that God allows and actually schedules in various experiences, good and bad, into your life for your benefit and to his glory.
No situation automatically produces a result inside you. We think they do, but they don’t. It’s your response to those situations and people that makes all the difference. And you know that your response is a basic decision that you make.
Consider the popular saying: Adversity builds character. It’s actually not true! Adversity could break down your character. The truth is that your proper response to adversity builds character.
People also say things like: What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. Actually, that’s not true either, because what doesn’t kill you could leave you half dead! The truth is that your proper response to such hard times will make you stronger.
It’s your proper response of faith, trusting that God has a greater purpose in allowing these things to come into your life and then learning and growing from these experiences.
Today’s Scripture is James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
A Better Response to the Greater Purpose
So, adversity could make you or break you. It’s our decision. We could actually respond positively, knowing that God has a greater purpose. And even if your own life is at stake, there can be a better response to the greater purpose. For example, one pastor I know….or I should say…“knew”….because he passed away from cancer. His cancer was very public as he stood before his congregation each week. And each week, the congregation saw him stand before the pulpit just withering away. But his response was to see the greater purpose and to accept that his life is part of God’s greater plan. And so, he responded with these words: “All my ministry years, I have taught the people how to live, now I will teach them how to die.” And with this, lived and died for that greater purpose. And isn’t that what Jesus did? He lived and died for the greater purpose, fulfilling God’s greater plan.
In your small group: share your perspective on how God is working in your life and the greater purposes you see.
Consider today that the challenges in your life are more than a series of unfortunate events. And look to God who can strengthen you towards the greater purpose for your life.