Joy and Depression

Rev. Matthew Winzer:

Helianthus annuus inflorescenceHuman personality is not designed to function as a disembodied spirit but as a physical entity in a physical world. Our present physicality is tied to the earth. There are pleasant and painful feelings associated with it. That is a fact. It cannot in and of itself be judged as Christian or non Christian any more than other physical feelings of pain and pleasure. We personally feel a certain way with respect to the world and our physical condition in it. For some people those feelings can be quite painful, and the way man deals with pain is by suppression/depression. That is our natural response. The pain gets too much to deal with so we suppress it. In reality, that is all depression is, but it can also be complicated by numerous physical and psychological factors.

The joy of a believer is of a different kind. It is a deep-seated satisfaction which does not rely on physical conditions in the world or feeling related to the body or even to a specific mental state. It is joy in God, in the contemplation of reconciliation with God, in the present communion which is shared with Him, in the future prospect of being partaker of His glory. It is commanded. It is something which can be “reckoned” even when there is no outward stimulus for it, but only what is contrary to it. It can, then, exist side by side with those other emotions. One can hope against hope, live by the evidence of things not seen. If that is so, it should not be measured or judged by a comparison with these other emotions. It is a joy unspeakable and full of glory, which means it cannot be bound by the limitations of other human feelings. The presence of depression does not indicate the absence of Christian joy.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/crying-out-emotionalism.72966/, Comment 13

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