Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
Finding a Way Out of FEAR AND DEPRESSION
Plain Truth Magazine
May 1985
Volume: Vol 50, No.4
QR Code
Finding a Way Out of FEAR AND DEPRESSION
Donald D Schroeder

Why does this world not understand the CAUSES for so much human worry, fear, mental gloom?

   NEVER have so many needed to rediscover hope, faith, courage and power to deal with fears and personal problems. Never have so many needed a personal way to deal with a world plunging headlong into worsening difficulties.
   Why is it that critical understanding about the human mind and human nature is missing in education at all levels of life?
   Why do so many medical and mental health care personnel not understand the real causes of today's problems?
   Where is the true knowledge that would prevent problems before they arise — rather than today's false knowledge that attempts a cure after the problem arises?

Missing Knowledge

   "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge...." reveals the Creator in the Holy Bible, Hosea 4:6, Revised Standard Version (and so throughout, except where noted). Where is that knowledge today?
   Jesus promised, "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32). Where is that truth today?
   Jesus plainly meant truth would set you free — free from unresolved fears and worries, free from mental depression, free from sin.
   The knowledge that is missing in so many lives is revealed spiritual knowledge. Man, by nature, knows only physical knowledge, revealed by the five senses. And from that limited knowledge man speculates. But most of man's mental and emotional problems are spiritual in nature. Man is violating immutable spiritual laws, as well as physical laws, set in motion by the Creator. The consequences are grievous mental and physical suffering.
   Many modern minds think it educated to reject biblical revelation and the reality of immutable spiritual laws. They do not recognize why they think this way. As a result, they cannot find the solution to many of mankind's mental illnesses. They are not dealing with root causes!
   There are laws of sound mental health! There are laws of success! They produce hope, peace of mind, joy and happiness. But untold millions daily violate the laws that produce these results. They consequently set themselves up for fear and depression.
   The Bible reveals how to receive the help and power you need to overcome your human nature, your worries and fears in life. It reveals how to deal with every adverse situation with faith and hope.
   But first, you need to comprehend why humanity has jumped the track. Why has mankind failed to learn such critical knowledge? Why do most of us respond with damaging negative fears — even hopelessness — to many of our problems and setbacks in life? The Bible explains it!

Cut Off from the Source

   God created the heavens and the earth that we can see with our eyes (Gen. 1:1). But before this physical creation, the great God had created powerful spirit beings, angels, differing in rank.
   These spirit beings at the first obeyed the laws and government of God. But during a period before the creation of man, a new way of doing things — the "get" and competitive way — was introduced to many of the angels by a great archangel whose name meant Lightbringer. We know him by the Latin name Lucifer. He was one of God's most powerful and beautiful spirit beings. He was set by God to administer God's laws and ways over the earth.
   Lucifer's name — Lightbringer — meant he was to be the bringer of God's truth and laws to the earth. But he chose to exalt himself. He wanted to kick God off his throne. Through subtle slander he swayed many angels to believe that God's laws were unfair, that God's way of "give" was foolish, that his — Lucifer's — "get" and competitive way was more liberating, a better way of existence.
   One third of the angels chose to rebel against God and his ways (Rev. 12:4). Their minds were perverted by wrong ways of thinking — by attitudes of strife, resentment of authority and selfishness. They rebelled against God's laws. As a result they lost understanding and power to do true good. Their assault on God's throne was overwhelmed by God's superior power and they were flung back to earth.
   The leader of this rebellion, Lucifer, became the devil, or Satan, meaning "Adversary." His fallen angels became demons. You can read of this rebellion in Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. Jesus referred to Satan's fall in Luke 10:18.
   Ever since man was created, it has been the major objective of these fallen spirit beings to keep humans, created in the image of God, from understanding the awesome purpose of their human existence and from fulfilling their incredible human potential (II Cor. 4:4). You may not want to believe it, but Scripture reveals there is a devil who has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). Part of that deception involves causing even educated people not to believe that there are spirit beings who rebelled. And to reject God's spiritual laws that would bring us peace and harmony.
   Of course, Satan hasn't thwarted God's plan or ultimate purpose for mankind. Here is why.
   When God created the first man and woman, he revealed to them his purposes and immutable laws. He gave them the opportunity to qualify to replace Satan as ruler over the earth. He taught them that violation of his laws and commands would end up in death — the cessation of life (Gen. 2:17).
   But they chose to believe the deceptive lies introduced by a clever Satan. They chose to disbelieve God, and that they could not die. They came to believe they had "immortal souls." They thought they could become like God and be able to determine good and evil for themselves by taking something (forbidden fruit) that was not theirs (Gen. 3).
   The first human pair disobeyed their Creator and rebelled. So God drove them from his presence on earth. He cut them and all humanity to be born of them off from contact with God, except as God chose to intervene and deal with humans from time to time. For what great purpose?
   God chose to allow mankind the experience of 6,000 years of man's way — Satan's way — of disobedience, rebellion, of doing their own ways — that is, to experience their own ways of thinking and reasoning under Satan's sway.
   Mankind was left to human devices and power, apart from God. Mankind lost the spiritual understanding of how he should live, of how to constructively deal with his problems, fears and needs. When man lost contact with God, he lost the way to peace and happiness — for the Creator was the ultimate resource of true wisdom, hope, power and blessing.
   Mankind has been, instead, under Satan's influence without realizing it. The Bible reveals Satan as "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2). He works to influence wrong values, wrong attitudes and ignorance in human cultures and among people. The result is hate, strife, lust, fear and hopelessness. Satan broadcasts wrong attitudes and moods into unwary minds (see again Ephesians 2:2 and 6:12). No wonder so many do not understand some of their negative feelings and moods!
   From the beginning of human life to now, almost all humanity has attempted to gain security, prosperity and needs through the "get" way of life — through competing governments, warring armies, ideologies and religions. Most individuals trusted in human strength and competition at the expense or hurt of others.
   Most humans have not chosen the way of true love — the way of peace and cooperation, the way of giving and consideration, encouragement and service to build up those around them.
   God's way of living and helping is guided by God's laws. It is the way of up-building and construction. It is the way of trust in God and love of fellowman equal to concern for oneself.
   On the other hand, look at the results of wrong ways of living.
   Most humans, in their practical daily living, rely on their own human strength and wisdom. They are limited to their own values and ideas, to their own resources, or that of their culture, to solve their problems or to secure their needs, wants and desires.
   Here is why true peace of mind, happiness and security have eluded most of mankind! Millions base their lives on values or ways of thinking and living that eventually produce problems they don't have resources to solve. They wake up and find their thinking and resources inadequate; that they have based their security and sense of personal worth on values, things or persons (themselves or others) that are transitory or limited in power to help them. They then suffer feelings of fear, loss and hopelessness. For millions, the results are unresolved anxieties, fear and depression.
   It is time you analyzed your life; now, to see if your values and thinking have set you up to experience depression, fear and hopelessness.

Trusting Wrong Ways and Resources?

   It matters greatly where one's ultimate trust and hope is. It matters greatly what one's values and resources are!
   Many totally look to, or totally place their hopes and security in various man — devised governments, parties or ideologies. But everyone of them eventually fails, becomes corrupt or collapses.
   Individually, humans commonly put their deepest trust, identity or feelings of self-worth in themselves — or other humans. But many who trust in themselves, deep down, know they have secret weaknesses, areas where they lack confidence in themselves.
   And other humans in whom they put their trust do not always understand or uplift them; they may even lie, deceive or hurt them.
   Many put their total security and hope in continuing prosperity. They live as if it will last forever. But man — devised prosperity doesn't last. It is based on the "get" way of life, enriching a few at the impoverishment of many. This kind of prosperity booms, then shakes, totters and collapses — destroying many misdirected minds, hopes and lives with it.
   Lacking any deep spiritual purpose or hope in life, many have placed all their hopes and sense of personal worth in material goods or gadgets or possessions that wear out, rust or corrode. Or that can be swept away in some sudden accident or mishap.
   It's no wonder so many feel totally worthless, hopeless, powerless. Life, for them, is not worth living when any of their transitory hopes or resources are lost or threatened with loss. Of course! — "For the creation [cut off from God] was subjected to futility...." said the apostle Paul (Rom. 8:20).
   Many fears in life are caused by worshiping false status symbols — material things one really can't afford and which are making one poor financially and spiritually. That's not true success!

False Values and False Love, Too

   A person may fail at a job or a marriage. Such big mistakes in life often cause severe fears or depressions. What's wrong with admitting you made a big mistake, facing the fact that you're not perfect·? Is false human pride holding you back? No mortal is perfect. Satan and misguided human social values, under Satan's sway, have pumped pride into human minds, rather than humility and the willingness to admit mistakes. One can learn from mistakes and still go on and grow in the future.
   Never have so many wrong ideas about love set so many up for depression.
   "I can't live without you." "There's no one else meant for me." "Only you can fulfill my dreams," go modern love songs by the hundreds. It's not true!
   There's more than one person you can learn to love. And misused sex does not mean love. It may mean unwanted children, or the horrid memory of an abortion or a disastrous marriage, or an abused or diseased body, a scarred mind.
   Most humans learn to live first and foremost in the fear of the values and opinions of other men and women — most of which are wrong — rather than in any fear of God.
   It is not that respect of others' feelings or opinions, or that of a high human office, may not be important to consider. But it does matter what and where one's real hope and confidence is.
   Scripture warns, "The fear of man bringeth a snare" — all kinds of seemingly insoluble or inescapable problems — "but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be [spiritually, and often physically, emotionally and monetarily] safe" (Prov. 29:25, Authorized Version).
   But why does nearly every human differ in his fears? Why do we each respond to various losses or setbacks in life in different ways and for different reasons? Let's understand.

Different Breaking Points

   Each of us, because of different upbringing, experiences or cultural learning, has acquired different levels of resilience or ways of responding to different kinds of problems, losses or setbacks In life.
   Every human has his or her learned optimum values, hopes and resources in life. Jesus called them "your treasure," where your heart will be, and also "the light of the body" (Matt. 6:21, 22, AV). They are the things one focuses and depends upon to give purpose, identity, self-worth and security in life.
   You need to be aware what your real treasure, hopes and values are! Many of them may be wrong values, desires or feelings planted in your mind by Satan or learned from your culture, which has been cut off from God and his ways.
   Humans cut off from God establish different and usually false values, ideals and hopes, and possess varying physical, emotional and spiritual resources to achieve them. They consequently establish different breaking points if their hopes or resources fail.
   A person mayor may not be aware of his or her breaking point or points. People are not always aware of the limitations of their resources. These limitations are pushed into the subconscious mind or denied. For many, of course, the breaking point or resources have never been tested.
   The breaking point, or failure of resources, that triggers fear, hopelessness or depression may be one thing for one person, something else for another.
   One person's breaking point may be failing to achieve or maintain a certain financial status in life. For another it is the loss of, or not being able to have, a certain friend or mate.
   Another's breaking point is not receiving or keeping a certain job or position in life. Another's is loss of health, or the prospect of death.
   Another's is loss of physical attractiveness or beauty. Another's is loss of certain material possessions; another's is loss of children or something that happens to children.
   It is not wrong to want to be loved. It is not wrong to enjoy a respectable status or possessions or to gain reasonable security for ourselves and our children. They are right and good if gained in accordance with God's laws, if one is able to afford them and use them properly.
   But Jesus taught, "Is not life" — that is, the ultimate purpose of Ii fe" more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matt. 6:25).
   Jesus taught there is a purpose to your life that transcends physical life. All good gifts or opportunities in this physical life-human, material or other gifts — are temporary. They are but tools to be used to achieve something higher and eternal, the real purpose of one's existence — developing godly character!
   This true purpose of life is so enormous that Jesus taught us not to fear what men may do to us for our obedience to his ways, for the most they can do is destroy physical life, not the opportunity to receive eternal life.
   Good physical possessions or opportunities should be appreciated and cared for while they last. But they are not forever. They are not the end-all, the be-all purpose of life in themselves.
   But all of us misguided human beings have, at some time or another, made them so!
   When we allow wrong, selfish or negative ways of thinking to take root in our mind — jealousy, envy, covetousness, lust or hate, for instance — we violate the spiritual laws of peace of mind revealed in the Ten Commandments. We commit idolatry and other sins that automatically produce problems and fears we may not have resources to solve.
   Sin, the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4), focuses our minds on false desires, false values, wrong wants, hopes and ways of thinking. We lose focus on God's values and ways to secure our needs. We lose focus on God's spiritual resources and power to help us. We trust in our way and resources. And when we realize our thinking, hopes and resources are insufficient, or have failed, we fall prey to fear and depression.

Why Near — hopelessness Ahead?

   Never have so many millions totally set their hearts, affections and sense of personal worth on other persons, on sensual pleasures or on material possessions that can be suddenly swept away in an accident, in economic turmoil or natural disasters.
   At the same time, never have the results of Satan's ways, so evident in human lives and nations — war, sickness, economic instability, family breakdown, crime and violence — so jeopardized all the temporary things and dreams that humans have put their trust and hope in!
   You need to stop and ask what are the most important values in your life. What are true and lasting values anyway?
   It is not surprising that more and more youths as well as adults are emotionally unstable, without a clear and dynamic purpose or hope in life. They see futility and trouble ahead in the world, even in the most materially prosperous cultures.
   They do not see the wonderful world tomorrow soon to be set up on earth by Jesus Christ — that's the good news or gospel (gospel means "good news") he brought to man nearly 2,000 years ago. How many humans are focusing their attention on and preparing themselves to take a vitally needed role in that soon-coming government that will put a stop to world evils? That is a hope worth preparing for though all else — including your own physical life — fails in this age!
   Lack of this kind of dynamic purpose and hope is why so many seek escape from the seemingly insoluble problems of their lives or of this age in drugs or alcohol — or suicide!
   Isn't it time you captured true values that would give you understanding about how to prevent problems before they arise? Isn't it time you tapped the ultimate resources to handle problems and challenges in your life? They're in your Bible. It reveals the answers you've been looking for.

Back To Top

Plain Truth MagazineMay 1985Vol 50, No.4
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.