As Christmas approaches, let God restore your “joy”!

He [Barnabus] was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabus was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:23-24

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12

Barnabus was given the name Son of Encouragement. This man was a source of joy and courage to the early believers, and they needed it. Life was no picnic; their very lives were threatened on a regular basis. Barnabus kept their spirits high. How? He was filled with the joy of the Lord. Joy reproduces joy, as sadness often reproduces sadness.

Depression has no upside. The years I spent struggling with depression benefited no one around me. (Quite the contrary.) God’s grace has eradicated depression – although once in a great while, I allow it to creep back in. Thank God, I’ve learned to catch in it’s early stages, like a virus, before it spreads and causes havoc in my emotions. I have found almost without exception that to the degree I invest in my faith on a given day, there is a direct corresponding level of joy in my life the following day, which correlates with how much hope I experience, which, in turn, determines my level of joy.

So if I build my faith today through hearing the Good News (faith comes by hearing the Word of God – Romans 10:17), my hope grows (faith is the evidence of things we hope for – Hebrews 11:1), and when hope grows, I have joy even in the middle of challenging, painful, fearful, and dark circumstances.

This has become my strategy to overcome depression. I hope it is a help for you. It’s not some smug formula by any means, and I realize the dark times we go through are very real. There are different origins of depression, and our doctors and counselors can help us navigate them. Still, we have constant, open access to the Great Physician, and the Counselor of all Counselors – the Holy Spirit for free! And for our freedom!

Struggling with depression, my friend? Pray this plain and simple prayer with me today…


The entrance of Your Word gives light. Thank you for illuminating the darkness in my life. Lord, I choose to follow you to find a way out of the brambles of depression. I long to be a source of support, joy, encouragement and faith for the people I love. As Blind Bartimaeus left his ratty, gross, old beggar’s cloak behind when he ran after Jesus, I leave my rags behind, the rags of sadness, trauma, victimization, unforgiveness, complaining, negativity, and fruitless living. I run to you, Jesus. You have thoroughly and completely done everything to free me from all that is not good. I receive your help! I receive your joy! I receive Your Word and your promises. Set me free to live a life of joy so that I can be a light for others who need hope.

In Jesus’ Name Amen.

Authors – Mark and Jill