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Yesterday we looked at two things that can cause us to become depressed: the pressures of life and unconfessed sin.

Today we are going to look at two more.

1. Religious legalism.
Our relationship with the Lord is supposed to be a relationship, but people often make it more about keeping a bunch of rules and performing a lot of rituals in an attempt to make God happy and earn His love and favour. When we do this our relationship with the Lord becomes heavy and frustrating and it can cause us to become depressed. It is interesting that there isn't that much of a difference between being in real relationship with the Lord and being legalistic. The things we do in both instances are the same, but the reason behind doing those things are important. 

You see, when you read your Bible, pray, tithe, take care of others, work for the Lord, go to church, etc. and you do it to make the Lord happy or to earn something from Him, it turns into mere religion and it leaves you feeling depressed and as if your relationship with the Lord hasn't got much life in it.

However, when you do those exact same things but you do it from a place of love - because you love the Lord and you want to know Him and come closer to Him and you are thankful for what He has done for you - then you are doing it for the right reasons and it turns from religion to relationship.

In Psalm 51:16-17 David wrote: "For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."

Jesus didn't die so we could add religion to our list of things to do every day or week. He died so we can have a relationship with God. 

2. Lack of personal discipline.
Personal discipline can relate to many things. Spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer every day; exercise; right eating; going to bed at a reasonable hour; setting your schedule and keeping to it - these are all things that require us to discipline ourselves in some way.

And the sad thing is, when we neglect to discipline ourselves to do these things, we can get depressed.

You know the routine: you know you shouldn't eat the cookie, but it seems to be calling your name, so you promise yourself you will only eat one. And before you know it, the whole box is empty.

In this case, as with everything else, we must rely on the Lord to help us discipline ourselves where ever we need it.

Join me again tomorrow when we will look at the last two causes of depression on our list of six.