Article by J. Mike Peters:
Major depressive disorder is when one feels an intense level of sadness, worthlessness or apathy. This feeling may come and go, and it varies in its duration. Half of the population will battle with depression at least once in their lives. 
First, allow me to share a bit about my own personal experience. I have dealt with these sensations of utter despair and failure due to a perceived inability to achieve success or acceptance by peers and family. According to the behavioral model, one needs reinforcement to maintain levels of motivation. When that reinforcement does not exist, a feeling of worthlessness begins to take over like a dark, looming storm cloud just before a downpour. When you are constantly pushed to perform and inevitably your performance always falls short of pleasing the authority or yourself, depression is lurking.
Next, cognitive theorists add to these insights as they say that depression can be caused by a negatively biased or distorted way of thinking when a person encounters failure or disappointing events.  These cognitive distortions, in a religious context, can cause a person to develop an unhealthy view of God and others as they watch themselves or others battle with sin during their Christian walk. If you feel like God can’t stand you because of something you did today, depression is lurking.
Lastly, consider this. How many times does personal failure and the disapproval of self and others have to take place before we reach a conclusion of futility and just give up? This “learned helplessness” is a way of thinking that can add to the depressive state because one thinks that acceptance and love are always out of reach. Add all the stress involved in a demanding religious paradigm and you have someone who just may want to give up on God, life and everything. If you have ever wondered, “what’s the point anymore?”, depression is lurking.
The answer is not an easy one as we navigate these waters. I have lived and am tempted to sink back into these modes of moods on a regular basis. Don’t let my following explanation seem to be oversimplified because I believe in professional help for those suffering with depression.
The best answer is the gospel. The gospel says that even when I am bad, I shouldn’t despair from my own self disapproval or the disapproval of others, because Christ was good for me. The gospel says God is not mad at me when I mess up and I don’t have to view my sanctification process negatively, because Christ lived perfectly for me. The gospel says that inner change is possible and there is hope for me to become more like Jesus because Christ is in me and I am in him.
If you battle depression, I implore you to get ongoing help from a professional just as I have. Beyond that, I plead with you to see Christ more clearly. Romans 8:1 says that “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. There is nothing to be ashamed of because anything you could have ever done is able to be covered by the finished work of Christ. Don’t listen to the feelings that tell you you’re worthless. Seek comfort amidst your failures from the Great Comforter and ask His help for change as you battle sin. Seek community from a group of believers who know and live the gospel because they have seen it transform them. Believe the Word when it says you are treasured by God because you are in Christ, not because of your performance.
Christian friend, you were worth the immeasurably precious shed blood of the Son of God, so don’t let anyone else, including yourself, tell you otherwise.
Editor's note: If you are struggling with depression and would like to speak with someone from our church, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 Nevid, J. (2018) Essentials of Psychology. Concepts and Applications, Boston, MA: Cengage Learning
Our church is privileged to partner with Mike and Jen Peters, along with their children Jack, Ollie, and Henry, as the serve the Lord in southern Spain as church planting missionaries. To connect with them and read their latest newsletter, click here.