Renewing your mind is the third step in overcoming depression. Depression can be divided into two categories. One is related to life-style and the other is precipitated by some crisis event. Lifestyle depression can be traced to early childhood development or living in an oppressive situation that created or communicated a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Over time, our minds have been programmed to think negatively about ourselves, our circumstances, and the future. These negative thoughts and lies are often deeply ingrained. There have been thousands of mental rehearsals that have added to the feelings you are experiencing right now. The natural tendency is to ruminate on these negative thoughts. Daniel Goleman said, “One of the main determinants of whether a depressed mood will persist or lift is the degree to which people ruminate. Worrying about what’s depressing us, it seems, makes the depression all the more intense and prolonged.”

There is a major difference between winning the spiritual battle for your mind, and the long-term growth process of renewing your mind. It doesn’t take long to establish your freedom in Christ, but it will take you the rest of your life to renew your mind and conform to the image of God. There is no such thing as instant maturity, but the ability to experience your freedom in Christ can happen in a relatively short period of time. Once a person has established their identity and freedom in Christ, the process of renewing the mind is quite easy. That is why we encouraged you to go through the “Steps To Freedom In Christ” first.

Changing false beliefs and attitudes is necessary to overcome depression. The world will put you down, and the devil will accuse you, but you don’t have to believe either one. You have to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. In other words, you have to believe the truth as revealed in God’s word. You don’t overcome the father of lies by research or by reason, you overcome him by revelation. God is not going to remove us from the negativity of this fallen world. We are sanctified and protected by the truth of God’s word. Jesus said, “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” (John 16:33). Renewing our minds with truth will not continue if you don’t actively work to sustain it. Every mental stronghold that is torn down in Christ makes the next one easier. Every thought you take captive makes the next one more likely to surrender. Lifestyle depression is the result of repeated blows that come from living in a fallen world. Rehearsing the truth again and again is the key to renewing your mind.

Dr. Neil

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