A simple definition of depression is an emotional heaviness that weighs down the heart. If you place a heavy object on a heart-shaped pillow filled with foam rubber, the pillow will become pressed down (de-pressed). If you remove the heavy object, the pillow will pop back up to its original form. The same is true for the human heart. When “pressed down” due to pressure from situations, your heart is designed by God to rebound once the pressure is removed.
Jesus cares about your heart and the heaviness that is on it more than you do. Jesus knows that you are very vulnerable when you are heavyhearted. That’s why Jesus said, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap” (Luke 21:34, NIV 84). Jesus mentions two ways that our hearts can become weighed down.
- We can become depressed by our own bad choices. This is seen in the words “dissipation” and “drunkenness.” Dissipation is wasting by misuse. We experience dissipation when we waste away a fortune or an opportunity. Drunkenness refers to any excessive intake of alcohol or drugs that causes us to lose self-control thereby creating problems for us and others. Both dissipation and drunkenness are choices we make that can result in a heavy heart due to the effects it can have on our lives and those around us.
- We can become depressed by things we have no control over. Jesus describes this as the “anxieties of life.” The phrase “anxieties of life” summarize a host of things such as health problems, financial crises, deaths of a loved ones, and relationship conflicts (to name a few). These worries of life often happen without our consent creating stress, pressure, and fears that often weigh the heart down.
In view of this, Jesus says, “Be careful.” Jesus does not want you to live your life in a constant state of emotional and mental heaviness. He does not want your heart to be weighed down all the time. You are going to have those times of a heavyheartedness, but it should not typify your life. To “be careful” means to be watchful and on guard. It carries the idea of a guard protecting something. It is your responsibility to protect your mind, will, and emotions from bad decisions that you will regret later and from reacting to life’s situations in such a way that you create problems for yourself and others.
- Are you depressed today? Why? Is it because of your actions or is it just a life situation?
- What is the next best decision you can make that would help you and the situation?
- What are some “be careful” steps you can take to help protect your heart?