As a nurse in the medical field, I had come to the point where I thought depression was my burden, my disease that would consume and plague me my whole life. My psychiatrist looked me in the eye after my third episode of suicidal thoughts and told me that I would be on medications for the rest of my life. I felt hopeless. But God changed my perspective and gave me hope.
Each one of us is a unique individual. Not a single one of us is completely identical. Even identical twins have differences in personalities, wants, dreams, and skills. So also, each person’s experience with depression is different and can be caused by a number of different things. I believe, depression has MANY different factors that affect it; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. However, for me, I have come to discover that my depression is mostly caused by physical and spiritual causes.
I have been raised in a Christian home and been a believer for as long as I can remember. I attended the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, BIOLA University, and got a minor in biblical studies. I prayed a lot. I read my bible. I studied it a lot. I went to church. I served in the church… but I had still not found healing until God gave me a HUGE revelation.
For those of you who have been believers for any amount of time, you know the verses that tell us that we are fighting a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We live in a world where Satan and demons want us to be completely unaware of the spiritual battle we are in. It is our job to be aware and stay on guard. As 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Many of you have probably heard the verses in Ephesians that speak about putting on the armor of God in order to fight this spiritual battle. It says in Ephesians 6:13-17, “Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you make be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.”
I had memorized these verses before and studied the book of Ephesians at Bible study. I had always seen myself wearing the armor of God. I had my helmet, belt, shoes, and breastplate on. I had my shield of faith, but I was so tired of getting beat down by the flaming arrows of the evil one. I felt like I just couldn’t hold my shield up anymore, my strength was gone.
There is a moment in the movie Wonder Woman when she goes to the trenches during WW2. She’s in the fox hole and she knows that the only way to end the war is to get out of the fox hole and fight. She jumps out and starts to run across the battle field. Immediately, she gets pummeled by bullets from the enemy. Wonder Woman has her shield up and she doesn’t get shot. The power of the bullets against her shield push her backwards many feet and it looks as if she might fall. I felt exactly like Wonder Woman when she was getting pelted by the bullets. I didn’t think I could hold up my shield anymore. But the story continues: Wonder Woman gathers her strength, runs across the field, uses her sword to fight and wins! God saw me, tired and ready to give up, but then He stepped in and taught me how to wield my sword and win the battle against evil.
Battle is not won by only fighting defensively, you only win the battle when you fight OFFENISIVELY!! And we can fight because we have a sword!!!! Did you notice that in Ephesians 6:17? The WORD of God is our sword to fight this spiritual battle. I know that sounds so simple, but I had forgotten I had a sword and I had no idea how to use it.
I know we don’t talk about spiritual warfare often, so let me be clear, it is NOTHING to be afraid of. I grew up fearing evil. I knew it was there, I knew it was out to get me. But Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” I find it so comforting to know that the biggest battle against evil and death was waged and has already been WON!!! We will have trouble, we will be forced to fight battles, but we can rest assured that the war has already been won!
It is true, 1 John 10:10 says that, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” BUT as 1 John 4:4 says, “You children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We are God’s children and His Holy Spirit dwells in us. The one who literally has taken up residence in us is greater than any evil power. I never knew that I had the authority to fight evil and I certainly had never before seen the power of God move in direct response to evil until 3 years ago…
You have been given power and authority in the name of Jesus because, “the spirit of God dwells in you… the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit.” (Romans 8:9-11). The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, that spoke the world into being, that healed the sick and calmed the raging sea, is the spirit that dwells in us who believe! We who believe in Jesus as Lord have POWER to demolish strongholds and do the work of God in this world.
“We are more than conquerors through Jesus who loved us” (Romans 8:37). We were made to conquer evil. God would not have told us to fight a battle that He knew we could not win. We are on the winning team, so we need to get up and fight. We don’t need to wait for anything. I used to pray in the depths of my depression, please help me God, please help me. Never realizing that I needed to get up and use what God had already given me to do battle. Never knowing I would win, by the power of God, for the glory of God.
The first time I was told how to stand firm against evil so that I could use my sword, was that day when my friend came over and told me to tell evil OUT LOUD to get away from me in the name of Jesus. I tried it. I stood firm. I used my words, along with the Holy Spirit in me, and the power of Jesus name, and told evil to “Get away from me!” And He DID! It was instant. It was physical. My depression had become so literally heavy that I felt like I always carried 20 extra pounds around on my chest. The moment I stood firm, asserted my authority as a daughter of God Most High, the evil that was oppressing me fled. I felt light for the first time in as long as I could remember. It took my breath away and then God filled my lungs with fresh breath. I breathed deeper and more freely than ever before. It felt like the dark veil that hung over me was pulled away and the light of God shone on me anew. Right there in my closest, surrounded by dirty clothes and stinky shoes, I felt the peace and glory of the Lord. I fell to my knees and worshiped our amazing and truly POWERFUL God!
For the 3 practical steps God taught me so that I could successfully use the sword of the Spirit, the WORD of God, see my next post.