7 ways to increase your depression and frustration with life this year as a professing Christian.
With skyrocketing cases of despondency, we thought we would help followers of Jesus Christ examine their lives more keenly to bear more fruit. Parts of the write-up will be written in sarcasm and satire (like the title). I won’t insult my readers by pointing out the sacrascm and satire. We all know we want a fruitful life without depression and frustration. So, that said, these are seven ways to be less fruitful, more depressed, and more frustrated with your life this year. Number six will shock you.
- Make the year about you.
If there is one thing that fuels life’s frustrations, it is when the concentration of problems is hard-pressed towards you. So, if you want to be more depressed and frustrated, make the focus of life more about you. This is your year, right? It’s all about you. Your plans, your feelings, your thoughts. Oh, and here is the big one- YOUR truth. This idea of THE truth does not accommodate you very well, now does it? Why should the Christian faith be predicated on an objective, moral and absolute source of divine truth in the name of the Bible when it is clearly incompatible with your feelings? So, let’s increase our frustrations this year and make up your own truths, even if reality works vehemently to disprove them with ease. Also, this whole concept of the universe revolving around anything else but you must be eliminated. YOU are the centre of existence, right? It’s not narcissism; it’s self-love. After all, even when Jesus says in Mark 12:31 to love your neighbour as you love yourself, He must have meant for us to focus on the “ourselves” part and not the “neighbour” part, right? I mean, who cares about the context of that scripture when it is clear from the Bible that God loves YOU?
God is a butler to serve you. In fact, you do not exist for God; God exists for YOU. If things go bad, just blame God. He should have done something to prevent you from getting hurt, right? Be ruled by your feelings, not mechanical, ancient, reliable, proven biblical truth. And why trust the word of God when Oprah and your favourite TV hosts disagree with it? In fact, make this year so much about you that you begin to find more faults with God and less with yourself. You’re not sinful; you’re just human. You don’t need to repent; you’re having a bad day. God is not holy; He is a bit of a failure and we all know that you could do a better job than Him. Go a step further and believe that you need to forgive God because YOU have been hurt. After all, God is not the centre of all existence- you are. Keep this up and by July of this year, you will be so inward-looking and self-absorbed that any change of plans to upset you will successfully push you down a path of despondent depression. To enforce yourself as the centre of all creation, please subscribe more to man-centered theology and less God-centered doctrines and sermons. You, know, fewer pulpit talks about dying to self, glorifying God, repentance and obedience. Let’s do more of your dream, your time, your season, your power, your feelings, and your best life. And if the pastor is famous on YouTube and loved by celebrities, that means God’s power is with him, right? You see, if this year is all about you, then nothing negative should affect you.
Scripture to heed: 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
- Define yourself by your sin and not by God’s grace
The Bible says in Revelation 12:10 that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. He doesn’t accuse the world because they belong to him. So why not increase your frustrations this year by helping old Lucifer with his job? It’s not like he already runs a spiritual crime syndicate of powerful legions of demons to do his bidding, right? He needs more help to accuse you, and it’s good that you are volunteering this year- against yourself. So please, do not accept God’s forgiveness. Do not accept His grace and mercy. Chastise yourself. Buy a leather whip and lash yourself 40 times for every time you fell. Do it every day so that you can finally earn your salvation. Jesus’ bloody and brutal death was not enough to cover your sins,. You must add to that insufficient work of Calvary, and add to your stress for the year as well.
Scripture to heed: 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
- Get your identity from religious works and not from God’s unmerited love.
You can’t be saved by pure grace, right? Paul must have been drunk while writing Ephesians 2:8-9. Being saved by grace alone through faith alone would lead to abuse and free ticket sinning, right? So, let’s add a little legalism to help Paul’s letters to the early church. So, this year you will be saved by grace through faith…AND attending church without fail, never messing up, praying six times a day, reading the entire Bible, going for six Bible studies, tithing faithfully, attending every church meeting, volunteering in every ministry and being a good Christian boy or girl. Whoosh! It really is exhausting and depressing to try to keep up with all the rules, but at least it assures you are saved! And when you slip, you must remember that your assurance of salvation is not the cross of Jesus; it is because you speak in tongues! It is because you have certain spiritual gifts as proof that God is still using you. These spiritual gifts are actually badges of honour, right? Why would anyone think they are simply tools for the job that Jesus gave us? Such unspiritual thinking, right?
And if God is still using you through your gifts, no need to bother with repentance, right? Repentance is for those weak believers whose only hope is the perfect, redemptive, powerful, final, and propitiating power of Jesus the Son of God whose sacrifice for sins guarantees eternal life. And what’s worse is that they even have an assurance of salvation! You can’t have assurance if you don’t serve in church, can you? It doesn’t matter that this identity script feels like it was written by the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And it doesn’t matter that it is causing spiritual burnout in you. At least you are not like those people who left church after the first service to spend time with their wives and children. You stay longer hours because you are more spiritual, and it is why God loves you. Imagine if God’s love was unconditional! Thank God it requires your push and pull! Sweat, but no sweat!
Scripture to heed: Galatians 3:2-3 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?
- Have an only-impulsive prayer life
This year, let’s only pray impulsively! Life is hard, pray. Life is smooth, you’re good. Friend lost their mom, pray. Friend is okay, no need. Exam coming up, pray. No more exams, so the jaws need to rest from all the exam season prayers. Need money, pray. Money comes in, prayer checks out. You get the point. Prayer is too much work to make it a lifestyle of Christian intimacy with God. Imagine if you had to pray every day! Gosh, too exhausting! A bit legalistic even, to be honest, right? We just need to pray like the way we call an ambulance- once a year…or never! Imagine if you needed an ambulance every day! Wasting fuel! God needs to rest. We can’t keep bothering him with prayer. It’s not like he wants us to pray so that we can improve our relationship with him. That would mean God is a person, and we all know God is more like the force in Star Wars. He is like the universe. Adopt this New Age idea of God and your Christian life will be less burdened by prayer. Don’t worry about the frustrations of not knowing God’s heart because you don’t pray. I mean, if God wanted you to know His heart and to be intimate with Him, He would just let you know. It’s not like He would require you to have an active prayer life. Why seek God on a matter through His word and prayer when you can just call your favourite prophet and ask him to ask God for you? I mean, we pay these guys tithes and offerings for this expedited spirituality, right? So just chill out on the prayers, okay?
Scripture to heed: Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
- Live a life of convenient faith.
Why should your faith rock the boat? It’s too inconvenient! Do you know the amount of trouble Esther, Daniel, Job, Joseph, King David, Paul the Apostle, the 12 disciples, Noah and all those Bible folks got into because of their faith? Why would you want to do that to yourself? Of course, their expression of faith also gave them God’s peace that surpasses all human understanding, the joy of salvation, excellence, righteousness, resilience, inner strength, courage, humility, integrity, leadership, and great adventures. But imagine the trouble! Who would want to get God’s peace if a few friends who have no impact on your eternity get offended? So, this year, choose the path most travelled- convenient faith! Faith that you read about but never practise. This convenient faith will give you a great year. I mean, apart from the fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, shame, guilt, weak identity, spiritual immaturity, pride, lust, envy, greed, wrath, sloth, overwhelming temptation, and bogus Christian life, it will be a great year with convenient faith.
Scripture to heed: Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
- Maintain inauthentic fair-weathered friends.
Fine, they gossip! Fine, they punish you for your values! Find, they tempt you to have sex outside of marriage! Fine, they spend the bulk of their time slandering others and trying to turn people against them. Fine, they don’t seem to have productivity as a top priority! Fine, their financial integrity is questionable. Fine, they have caused you much delay and stagnation. Fine, they are entitled. Fine, they make you give more than they reciprocate. Fine, they always cry foul “don’t judge me” when you keep them accountable. Fine, fine, fine! But they are cute! You guys look so good together on Instagram! You guys have a song! It doesn’t matter that the quality of your life is being assailed by weak associations. It doesn’t matter what the reality of your life is. What matters is your image. We must trade authenticity on the altar of perception if we want to be popular.
Scripture to heed: Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
- Live a life without rhythm.
Finally, put the final nail in the coffin by living without rhythm. Wake up when you feel like it. Binge-watch that Netflix series with nudity. It’s rated 18+ and you’re an adult, so it’s okay, right? Don’t worry that your struggle with your personal purity isn’t getting anywhere near solved. You think you need a miracle to live purely, but the truth is that you need a rhythm of discipline. So, keep up the rhythmless life. Have no time for natural activities like talking a walk. Have no regular regiment of physical fitness to optimise your health. A rhythm will kill your free time. Talking of free time, since a life of rhythm will leave you with lots of it, when stressed, go to social media. When overwhelmed, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and their friends are your therapy guides. Of course, you will leave feeling more overwhelmed and envious from comparison, but it is much easier than reading a book a month.
Scripture to heed: 1 Timothy 4:15-16 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.