Question: "What does the Bible say about depression? How can a Christian overcome depression?"
Answer: Depression is a widespread condition, affecting millions of people, Christian and non-Christian alike. Those suffering from depression can experience intense feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness, fatigue, and a variety of other symptoms. They may begin to feel useless and even suicidal, losing interest in things and people that they once enjoyed. Depression is often triggered by life circumstances, such as a loss of job, death of a loved one, or divorce, or psychological problems such as abuse or low self-esteem.
The Bible tells us to be filled with joy and praise (Philippians 4:4; Romans 15:11), so God apparently intends for us all to live joyful lives. This is not easy for someone suffering from situational depression, but it can be remedied through God's gifts of prayer, Bible study and application, support groups, home groups, fellowship among believers, confession, forgiveness, and counseling. We must make the conscious effort to not be absorbed in ourselves, but rather to turn our efforts outward. Feelings of depression can often be solved when the sufferer takes the focus off himself and puts it on Christ and others.
Clinical depression is a physical condition that must be diagnosed by a physician. It is not caused by unfortunate life circumstances, nor can the symptoms be alleviated by one's own will. Contrary to what some in the Christian community believe, clinical depression is not always caused by sin. Depression can sometimes be a disorder that needs to be treated with medication and/or counseling. Of course, God is able to cure any disease or disorder. However, in some cases, seeing a doctor for depression is no different than seeing a doctor for an injury.
There are some things that those who suffer from depression can do to alleviate their anxiety. They should make sure that they are staying in the Word, even when they don't feel like it. Emotions can lead us astray, but God's Word stands firm and unchanging. We must maintain strong faith in God, and hold even tighter to Him when we undergo trials and temptations. The Bible tells us that God will never allow temptations into our lives that are too much for us to handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Although being depressed is not a sin, one is still responsible for how he responds to his affliction, including getting the professional help he needs. "With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name" (Hebrews 13:15).