I want to throw something out at you, and see if it sticks. Do you really believe God is good? I mean, He actively loves you, cares for you, wants to provide for you, and has a positive future and plan for you? I have a feeling, if you are depressed, that you don’t – especially because I fight this every day. I believe He loves me, but not necessarily in a fully practical way – not enough to meet what I consider to be my needs and wants.
Read Genesis 3:1-23. In summary, the serpent goes to the woman and immediately tries to get her to focus on what God has told her she can’t have.
“Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'”
She replied, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
And the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die: For God knows that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
What is Satan REALLY saying about God? The bottom line is that he is saying God is EVIL. God is NOT good. God is withholding things from you that He should be giving to you. He doesn’t really care about you, and always wants you dependent on Him, so He can control you.
So Eve looks the fruit over, and decides that it will nourish her and taste good, looks good, and can make her as wise as God – all without God, so she ate it, sharing it with her husband. It made her feel good sensually, nourished her physically, was enjoyable visually, and also made her feel smart, independent and proud. She could make her own decisions and feed her carnal fleshly self whenever she wanted – without God’s help.
But immediately, Adam and Eve felt sick to their stomachs. Whereas before they felt protected and covered by God’s presence and provision, now they felt uncovered and vulnerable. They felt ashamed and guilty, because they disobeyed God, and the only knowledge they now had was of their own guilt and sin. What a trick from Satan! They had knowledge of good and evil – because they now knew they had become evil!
They thought they could somehow cover up the nakedness and guilt that they felt by creating fig leaf coverings of their own creation, but it didn’t change how they felt. And their best friend, God, upon whom they had always relied and in whom they had always trusted for every single portion of their life – body, soul and spirit – was now someone whom they did not trust, and was someone they feared.
They no longer felt like they could freely approach God. They felt cut off, and hid themselves from Him. And although God made an animal sacrifice and created skins to cover them, He also had to put them outside of the garden, because they had chosen to make their own decisions instead of relying on Him to take care of them. Now, instead of allowing God to provide fruit from the tree of life for them, they had to grow their own fruit to nourish themselves (work the ground). That’s what we do when we feel cut off from God – try to feed our flesh, our carnal desires, to make ourselves feel better.
Does this sound at all like how you feel at times? Like you aren’t worthy to seek Him? You feel sick to your stomach at the thought of Him approaching and seeing you like you are? You are not alone. Satan did this to Adam and Eve, and he will do this to us as well.
But the bottom line is that God is GOOD. He is NOT evil. Even after Adam and Eve sinned, He provided a blood sacrifice and covered them in the animal skins. He prophesied the coming of the Messiah who would crush the serpent’s head and who would provide a blood sacrifice for all sin throughout eternity. He made a way, through the blood of Jesus, that we could return to the garden, the kingdom of God where He reigns, and live in complete and total dependence upon Him again.
When we hear Satan telling us that we have really screwed up, that we have gone too far away or have disappointed Him too many times, and even (what he has been tormenting me with lately) that God is through with us – He will never use us again – we are simply hearing Satan repeat his infamous line to Eve… God is evil. He doesn’t care for you.
Don’t listen to Satan. This scripture clearly shows us that he is lying about God’s goodness. I know, I know, I struggle with it daily, too. But I have to make a conscious decision to choose what I will believe about God. Either I take the easy way out, believing what is piped into my mind by Satan, or I FIGHT against the lies to hold on to the truth about God from His Word.
Satan will do absolutely everything to SEPARATE us from God. He will isolate us from others of the faith so we can’t get encouragement. He will isolate us from loved ones, so we feel unloved and forsaken. If we are to WIN, we MUST repeatedly remember that we MUST remain around others who will tell us that God is good, REGARDLESS OF HOW WE FEEL or WHAT WE SEE, especially when we cannot remember to say it to ourselves.
“Even when your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart.” “I will never forsake you or leave you.” “His love endures forever.” “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
In my case, my depression caused me to become more carnal, which made the hole I dug for myself even deeper. In the absence of my belief that God is good, and in my absence of trust in Him as I faltered to believe He still loved me and wanted good things for me, I tried to make myself feel better however I could. Eating, drinking, relationships, immersion in fantasy and entertainment were all ways of “getting my own fruit for myself” instead of trying to allow God to provide the fruit I needed from the tree of life.
Once we become a carnal Christian, trying to feed the flesh to make ourselves feel better, we pull further away from God. Every time we try to plant and reap our own fruit, we continue in the wrong direction. The ONLY option is to stop trying to make our own fruit, and go back to Him, in the garden, and eat the fruit He provides daily from the tree of life.
I’m not being “spiritual” here. I’m being practical. What I am finding lately is that I need to make a U-turn and stop trying to make myself feel better by anesthetizing myself with carnal things. I have been called to QUIET, not the constant clatter and chatter of my Netflix shows or my Audible audiobooks. I’ve been called to fast from the things in which I always hide myself to feel better, all the while avoiding my biggest fear – that God is no longer for me. And I’m finding that is the beginning of returning to Him.
Now, instead of avoiding Him, I am talking to Him. Nothing big, just little baby steps. I’m reading short devotions and listening to random Christian teachings mixed in with my shuffled music. And in these moments when I am NOT trying to grow my own fruit, I am learning to practice the art of living in the NOW. I’ll share more about that in another post.
If you want to escape this cycle of depression, isolation and negative thoughts, make the decision (and the concerted effort) to say out loud if necessary, “God is GOOD. God loves me and wants me with Him in the garden where He can take care of me and protect me. Even though I don’t see it with my eyes, or feel it with this carnal body, He has a plan for me, to prosper and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future.” If you are feeling weak, then ask someone else to speak it to you and encourage you. Just HANG ON for dear life – to HIM, and no one else.
Try NOT making yourself feel better. Try going back to a few scriptures and some time talking with Him. Try quiet and focusing on what is going on around you right now. He is FAITHFUL, He is true, He is real, and we are overcomers because of our faith. Keep on believing, no matter what!