This is the third in a nine part series entitled “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit

The complementing studies are also available in a video and podcast formats at the links below:

  • “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm”// video and podcast
  • “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” // video and podcast
  • “Towards a Christian Perspective of Mental Illness” // video and podcast

“Where Does My Fear-Despair Come From?”
UNDERSTAND the origin, motive, and history of my sin.

“I do not know all I need to know about myself or my struggle with depression-anxiety. I do know that my heart resists being known (Jeremiah 17:9), and that fear-despair reveals the things that are most important to me (Luke 6:45). I am coming to realize that [list] desires lead me to fear-despair, and that [list] experiences have contributed to the strength of those desires. I believe God is more satisfying than those desires could ever be without Him.”

Memorize: John 14:1 (ESV), “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “Context” – Jesus was aware that his disciples were troubled, and he comforts them rather than scolds them.
  • “Let not” – Jesus points out the influence the disciples had over their emotions as part of his comfort to them.
  • “Your heart” – Jesus identifies the heart (i.e., the “self” we refer to as our mind) as where our fear-despair resides.
  • “Be troubled” – Troubled is a good description to capture the experience of both depression and anxiety.
  • “Believe” – Our thoughts and values are a primary battle field on which we engage depression-anxiety.

Teaching Notes

“Our emotions tell us what we really, really believe (p. 128).” Brian Borgman in Feelings and Faith

“Fear and anxiety make a prediction… We fancy ourselves as prophets, and we keep trusting in our predictions even though they don’t come to pass. Fear and worry are prophecies (p. 9).” Ed Welch in When I Am Afraid

“As physicians are prone to say, it can be as important to know what type of person has the disease as what disease the person has (p. 121).” Mark Yarhouse, Richard Butman, and Barrett McRay in Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal

“The challenge is placed for me therefore to look to my own heart and see if this is the case for me [emotions having their root in sin]. Maybe my doctors would look at the question this way: to what extent do your desires and fears and activities trip you up so as to let mental illness gain a foothold? Maybe where they would say desires, I would say misplaced desires; where they would say fears, I would say faithless fears; where they say activities, I would say disobedient acts (p. 108)… I find it hard to believe that a biological deficit in my brain could make me more of the center than I already am (p. 109).” Kathryn Greene-McCreight in Darkness Is My Only Companion

“Much of the increase in depression and anxiety today is largely the result of an unbalanced lifestyle where people are, on the one hand, working too hard and spending too much and, on the other hand, are exercising, resting, and sleeping too little (p. 55).” David Murray in Christians Get Depressed Too

“People who believe they should be better than they are can’t be happy, because they are morbidly preoccupied with themselves (p. 26)… We will always be disappointed with life (or others) when we ask it to do something it wasn’t designed to do (p. 34)… When we put our hope in or expect something or someone other than him to fill us and make us happy, he will surely frustrate us. But he doesn’t do it to punish us. He does it to rescue us from our disordered attachments and delusions, and from ourselves (p. 35).” Leslie Vernick in Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy

“We can all too easily confuse what we desire with what is desirable, satisfy the superficial and starve the essential traits of our nature, love absolutely what we should love relatively, and love relatively what we should love absolutely. We can be on a fool’s errand after fool’s gold (p. 22).” David Naugle in Reordered Love, Reordered Lives

Other podcasts on emotions are available at:


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