Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
—1 Peter 5:8
As we consider what the Bible says about depression, we will look at 1 Kings. In 1 Kings 18 we read the story of Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah had proved to the whole nation that Jehovah, not Baal, was the true God. But remember, Ahab and Jezebel weren’t overjoyed when they learned that Elijah had killed their prophets. And Jezebel was especially ticked off. Look at her reaction in 1 Kings 19:2: “Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” In other words, “I’m going to kill you.”
How did Elijah react? Verse 3 says, “And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba.” I think it is interesting that 1,850 angry prophets of Baal couldn’t faze Elijah. But one disgruntled female sent him running. And that’s what happens when you take your eyes off God and put them on your circumstances. Elijah ran for his life—and boy, did he run. He ran 120 miles to Beersheba. And notice what happened next. Finally, out of exhaustion, “he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.’”
Elijah sat under that tree and threw a gigantic pity party. “I’m through, Lord. This is it. Take my life.” Now I want to point out something obvious. Remember this: great spiritual highs are almost always followed by great spiritual lows. I think there is a natural reason for that. Sometimes we are physically worn out when we have done spiritual battle, and it is only natural that the deficiencies we feel result in depression.
Also, when we have experienced a great spiritual victory, we sometimes let down our guard and are prone to Satan’s temptations. We see that throughout the Bible. For example, after Jonah had been used by God to convert the city of Nineveh, remember how he responded? “Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life” (Jonah 4:3). I think there is a spiritual reason for this as well as a physical reason.
When God has granted us a great victory, we need to be ready for the attack of the evil one. First Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” We can never let down our spiritual guard. We have an adversary who is always on the prowl. First Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Dealing with Depression” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.