Can Christians Be Depressed?

July 11, 2021

David Sorn

Do Christians experience depression? Do we ever see this in the Bible? And if so, what do we see God doing about it?

Can Christians Be Depressed?

July 11, 2021

David Sorn

Do Christians experience depression? Do we ever see this in the Bible? And if so, what do we see God doing about it?

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | 1 Kings 19: 1-9


Morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church

Before we jump into our Bible teaching for this morning, I have some really exciting news for you.

As a church, we are very passionate about reaching people for Christ.

Seeing lives changed in the here and now, and for all of eternity

So much so that we want to see that done on an exponential level

And so as a church, we are really passionate about planting churches out of Renovation Church.

We help start new churches by giving them coaching on how to start a church, finances, and people.

And these are autonomous churches

It’s not a campus…I’m not on a screen teaching there.

In fact, if you go to one of our church plants, the people probably won’t even know who we are…

And that’s okay.

As we often say, we’re not about building the Kingdom of Renovation, but the Kingdom of God

And we know we can do that in a much greater capacity by planting churches

These are autonomous churches with their own DNA, culture, pastor, name, everything

So far we have started 5 new churches out of our church…churches like Transform Church in Andover, Pursuit Community in Mounds View, Revision Church in Des Moines

And today, we’re announcing our 6th church plant!

(show Brian Suter family photo)

Our 6th Church is going to be called Branch Church…and it will be in the SW Metro in Carver, MN, which is near Chaska and Shakopee

So, it’s not as close as some of our most recent ones, but if we’re going to plant A LOT of churches all around the metro, they won’t always be within 10 minutes of us.

The pastor of the church will be Brian Suter

Brian was a teaching pastor at Westwood Church in Chanhassen, which is one of the largest churches in MN

And he is going to do great!

In fact, he’ll be hanging out with us here the next few weeks, so you’ll get to meet him next week when I interview him on stage (and more about this whole process)

And finally, let me tell you a really amazing stat ☺

Once our 6th church plant gets fully up and running this Fall, on Sunday mornings, there will be over 1,000 people attending our church plants.

How incredible is that?

Praise God.

And thank YOU for your giving.

5% of all of your giving goes right into a fund to start new churches!


All right, let’s jump into our passage

This summer, we are studying the life of Elijah the prophet in the Bible.

And today, we’ve come to the lowest point in Elijah’s life

Just to recap, this all takes place about 850 years before Jesus, in Israel.

In last week’s message, we studied how Elijah had confronted King Ahab and the Prophets of Baal.

He challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest where they would each ask their God to send down fire on an altar.

Obviously, the Lord won, and He is the one true God.

And when the people saw fire fall from heaven, they fell prostrate and declared, “The Lord – HE is God”

And the rain comes, and the drought of 3+ years is over.

We ran out of time a bit last week, so we didn’t get to the end of chapter 18, which I’ll summarize quickly now

After the epic battle on Mount Carmel, Elijah then has all of the prophets of Baal killed

This was commanded by God in those days…

Their context was different

In the Old Testament, where Israel was both a people and a government meant to be under God, false prophets who were leading people to worship other gods were to be killed.

The evil was to be purged from their nation-state (read Deuteronomy 17)

But this action is going to put Elijah in danger

Everybody grab a Bible…let’s see what happens

(Page 245)

(1 Kings 19 if you brought a Bible)

(Renovation App)

After Elijah orders the execution of the false prophets, he then tells King Ahab to go to Jezreel, where Queen Jezebel was (at their SECOND palace)

Elijah heads to that palace as well as he has big expectations for what will happen next since the people appear to be coming back to the LORD

Let’s take a look at our passage

(1 Kings 19:1-9a) – NIV

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.


Okay, this is all a bit surprising.

Elijah just had the most amazing thing happen on Mount Carmel

And he runs off to the Palace…probably expecting that either…

A) Ahab & Jezebel will have converted to worship the LORD (how could they not after what happened?!)

Or B) that the people, who now know that the LORD is God, will depose of Ahab & Jezebel, and Elijah could help lead a new King who will honor and respect the Lord.

And yet, surprisingly, neither of those things happen.

Ahab & Jezebel are still in power…and they still don’t believe.

In fact, Jezebel now breathes out this murderous threat against Elijah, telling him that he’ll be dead in 24 hours.

And so in fear, Elijah runs for his life.

(Show ElijahMap1)

Elijah has gone from Mt Carmel, to the palace in Jezreel, and now is fleeing down to Beersheba

He escapes down to the southern tip of Judah (Judah was the southern Kingdom because remember Israel had split into 2 at this point with Israel in the north and Judah and the South)

Then, after reaching Beersheba, he goes another day’s journey into the wilderness

And there, he is at his lowest point.

And he appears to be, what we might call in modern terms, depressed.

So let’s talk about this question today:

Can Christians Be Depressed?

Now, let me first acknowledge depression is a loaded word, and it’s a word that means different things to different people.

Some people throw it around really casually (like, I’m depressed that the Twins are so bad at baseball)

While for others it’s a very clinical term

I don’t want to get deep into medical or psychological terminology today as I’m not a doctor nor a therapist.

But I want to ask, “Can Christians Be Depressed?”

Does it happen? Should it happen?

First of all, depression is not the same thing as being discouraged or sad.

If you lose a job, you experience a break-up, or your relative dies, and you feel really down about it…that’s not depression…that’s called being human and having emotions.

But if you feel prolonged sadness, and you can’t pinpoint the reason anymore, that may be depression.

OR you feel a hopelessness that goes beyond the normal scope of grieving time…that could be depression

It can also happen when depressed feelings seem to absolutely pervade almost every minute of your day, and every interaction…

Or, depression can be when your feelings reach a serious level of intensity…and your thoughts begin to become darker…perhaps even suicidal.

Those are all examples of what I’m referring to when I use the word “depression”

Do those things happen to people of faith?

I’ll just take the suspense out of it.

Yes, yes they do.

We just read about it right here with an amazingly Godly man, Elijah

He asks the Lord to take his life.

And it’s not just Elijah in the Bible.

Read Jonah chapter 4.

Jonah also asks the Lord to take away his life

So does Moses in Numbers chapter 11

Or, read the Psalms of King David…sometimes he sounds incredibly depressed

And think about this…these men experienced some of the highest highs with God.

The love they felt from Him, the miracles they saw, are tenfold what most of us will see in our lifetimes.

And yet, they still experienced bouts of discouragement and depression at times (often times right after their biggest highs)

And if it can happen to the spiritual giants, we better believe it can happen to us regular folks.

Now, this passage is not an exhaustive treatise on depression. It’s not.

But there are a few things we learn from this passage in God’s Word that I think are very helpful to enhancing our understanding of it

Particularly God’s response to an exhausted and depressed Elijah

Elijah has unmet expectations…things didn’t turn out as he had hoped.

So much of our discouragement and pain in life comes out of unmet expectations.

Think about that for a bit.

And rather than dealing with that normal discouragement, Elijah lets it build into depressive and dark thoughts.


So what does God do about this?

Well, thankfully, He doesn’t do what most of us what do

We’d say, “Elijah! Pull yourself together, man, you just saw God do great things! Think about the positive!”

Or, some of us would say, “Elijah! You need to repent of this bad attitude. You’re not honoring God by thinking or talking like this.”

But what does God do?

He sends an angel…not to lecture Elijah…but to what?

Let’s look at it again:

(1 Kings 19:5b-7) – NIV

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

And so after a despairing Elijah gets a good sleep, God sends an angel to him to…COOK

Did you know Angels can cook?

I bet they make really good Angel Food Cake ☺

But seriously, an angel makes a great meal of bread baked over hot coals, and brings Elijah a jar of water.

And then what does God want Elijah to do next?


And then the angel touches him (actually for the 2nd time…physical touch is important), and tells him to do what?


And then God gives Elijah direction…purpose…

And sends him on a journey

And that purpose piece is really important when you’re down and depressed.

And we’re going to talk about that next week, which is really part 2 of this message in many ways.

Look at how natural…how physical this is.

God has determined that the best way to help Elijah in the state he was in was to minister to him in the physical realm.

Elijah is touched

Elijah is allowed to catch up on sleep

And He wants Elijah to eat

There are times when the most spiritual thing a person can do is to take a nap…it’s to get enough rest and replenishment.

The Gospels go to great length to show you the rest of Jesus.

By the way he takes a sabbath.

Or how he takes time away by Himself and with His Father on the mountain.

Or remember that time when the disciples are freaking out on the boat about the storm and Jesus is taking a nap.

His pace of life was slow enough to take time to stop and eat with his disciples and friends.

Listen, God did not make you just a spiritual being.

You have a body…you are physical as well.

And you’re not just a body…you have a mind…

There is a psychological aspect to who you as well.

And I think too often in our culture, you have people who only see the psychological, so they only want to fix you through therapy

Or there are those who only see the physical, the biological, the physiological

Everything to them is a chemical imbalance to fix, or something you fix through physical therapy or chiropractic (everything is physical)

And some, see every fix as a spiritual fix

But reality is not that simple

God made you to be a physical, psychological, and spiritual being…and He works through all of those things.

This last December, was the most exhausted and lowest I’ve ever felt in 17 years of ministry

It took 6 years straight of an insane amount of work to get into this building, and there were a lot of weeks I was in the office by 6:30am, and working into the evenings

Every pastor who’s gone before me has told me how exhausting it is to raise money, to a building project…and to throw COVID in on top of it, I was exhausted.

And I even mentioned it to you all even a few times…and I was so blessed by your encouragement…I truly was.

But last December, after talking with some mentors, I learned what I truly needed in that moment, was (like Elijah) physical more than anything.

I was running myself into the ground, and I was going to be out of gas by the time we opened in this building in February.

And so after Christmas, I decided to just take two weeks off (even though we were right in the middle of an intense season)

And I slept. A lot.

And ate.

And got out of town and went to visit one of my best friends in Wisconsin.

And it was towards the end of those 2 weeks, that I really started to feel God’s encouragement again.

And so Can Christians be depressed?

Yes, it happens.

Even to the spiritual giants like Elijah and Moses.

Should you stay depressed?

No, God doesn’t want you to stay there.

We see the angel touch Elijah, but Elijah still had to get up, put the bread to his mouth, and the next day start walking again when God told Him to do something.

One foot in front of the other.

You may be in the lowest of lows right now…and I don’t know how long you’ll be there.

But don’t be content with staying there.

But also don’t shame yourself for it either.

Does that tension make sense?

The rollercoaster of faith (as we call it here) is real.

And your low points will come.

And the last thing we (or God) wants for you is for you to shame yourself in those low moments and say, “See, I’m stuck, I’m doubting, I’m depressed, I need to walk away from my faith”

No my friend.

You are human…just like Elijah.

Let God meet you there…under the broom tree…in despair.

Look how graciously and gently God deals with his friend Elijah in his depression

He doesn’t rebuke him or shame him.

He ministers to Him by touch, and food, and sleep, and speaks direction to Him.

The most important thing you may need to do tomorrow is to sleep in…to rest…to recover.

If you’re in a dark place right now…let God minister to you

Even if your thoughts feel as dire as Elijah’s were, let God love you.

If you’re really struggling lately, or you can’t seem to get out of a long-term funk, let us help you.

One of the mistakes Elijah makes in this passage is in verse 3, where he leaves his friend and servant behind.

We do this when we’re depressed, we retreat into the black hole of isolation.

Let us be a light, a guide in your life.

In fact, for some of you, I want you to something really brave today.

If you’re struggling, I want you to talk to a pastor here today, or send one of us an email.

Or reach out to your house leader (your elder) and ask for help.

We will get you help.

We even offer counseling here at church.

Let us minister to you and speak God’s kindness to you in this time.


Because God loves you, and He pursues you…even in your darkest hour.

In fact, he went into His darkest hour in pursuit of you.

The night before Jesus was crucified, he gathered his disciples around for one last supper.

And on that night he gave them a way to always remember the sacrifice he was about to make for them…it’s what we call…communion.

In the NT, Paul writes this about the reason for communion:

(1 Corinthians 11:23-26) – NIV

23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Paul also writes in this passage: that we ought to examine ourselves before taking communion.

To 1) not do it in vain. To only do it if we truly believe it. And if you’re still just seeking, that’s ok. You’re on a journey.

We’re so glad you’re here.

But for those of you who are believers, we want to take communion together today.

At this point, I want to call our band back on stage.

We want to take time today to remember together, as one body of believers, what Jesus did for us.

Under the chair in front of you, or under your chair if you’re in the front row…you’ll find a small communion chalice

Go ahead and pick it up

Look to the bottom of the chalice and pull off the covering to take the bread out.

Then hold it in your hand for a moment.

And I want you to take a minute…and reflect on the love of Jesus…that He let his body be broken for you.

(Band plays…reflection)

The body of Christ was broken for you…go ahead and eat of the bread

Now before you drink of the cup, I want you to take a moment, and thank Jesus that he let his blood be spilled for you.

That even if you feel down, or discouraged, or even depressed, that his love for you never runs dry.

(Band plays…reflection)

The blood of Christ was shed for you…go ahead and peel back the covering and drink from the cup

If you would, place the wrappers back in the chalice and place it in the holder under the chair in front of you.


Let me pray…

God, we thank you that you love us so much that you sent your son Jesus to die on the cross for us.

We thank you that Jesus rose again, and we can know Him today

And that despite all of our sin, that you would still love people like us…

(And while we’re praying and have our eyes closed, if it’s clicking for the very first time today that God loves you and is willing to forgive you…

I want you to know that YOU personally, can be forgiven and have a relationship with Jesus.

And not only that …your faith in Him, your willingness to trust Him and follow after Him, will save you from hell, and give you eternal life in heaven!

If you want to tell Jesus for the first time today that you believe and want to be his follower…that you want to be forgiven…

What I want you to do is just raise your hand up right now to tell God that you want to believe and follow.

If that’s you, raise your hand up.

For those of you raising your hand, we want to pray with you.

Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.


As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you that raised your hand, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.

You won’t walk out there alone.

There are others who raised their hands, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you

And I, and our follow-up team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.

If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.

All right, you can all go now.

As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.

Let’s pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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