There is yet another story on the Houston television station KHOU website that tries to develop a “biological test to spot depression.” According to this report, the biological test has a basis on measuring the stress hormone cortisol in teenage boys. Researchers report that those boys with high levels were likely to suffer clinical depression later in life than those with low or normal cortisol levels.
It is unfortunate that the researchers in this story never consider that the reason for the high level of stress hormone in these boys may be a result of their depression itself. You may remember that in our second article in this series we saw that depression did not come about by a chemical imbalance, but the chemical imbalance is a result of the depression itself. The boys with low or normal cortisol levels simply dealt with their circumstances in more appropriate manner than the boys with the high levels of the stress hormone.
Remember that adversity is the pressures that come from our circumstances in our daily lives. It is how we handle these circumstances that determine whether we become stressed and depressed or not. There is no one that is free from some sort of adversities in our lives.
Adversity may come from having financial difficulties, dealing with marital problems, to trouble in our relationships in the area of friendship, romance or family, to name a few. There is no one that can claim that they have never had a personality conflict with someone else sometime in their lives. Yet, regardless of the adversity, we always have a choice to allow such adversity to become stress in our soul or not.
When we allow the pressure of our circumstances to make us stressful, we allow our sin nature tendencies to control our soul. As a result, we lose any capacity for love, life or happiness. This is why many believers in Jesus Christ do not have the spiritual strength in their soul to overcome adversity. Lack of spiritual strength will cause our defense system to open and allow the pressure of our circumstances in our soul to create mental illness, personality dysfunction, and other related problems.
When God’s Word is not number one priority in the life of the believer, there will be a negative volition that will result towards Biblical Truth. It is at this point that distractions will penetrate our mind and keep us from the mental renovation mandated in Romans 12:2:
Lack of this mental renovation will prevent us from understanding the mechanics of the plan of God and hinder us from putting to work the principles which are our spiritual defenses. It is the principles of the Word of God in our stream of consciousness that maintain the normal cohesive, integrated, and unified soul.
Stress, on the other hand, is the inner strain in the soul that is the cause of dissociation, mental disorder and personality dysfunction. Stress is when we give into the pressure of adversity in our life. It is what we do to ourselves, since we always have the option to allow stress in our soul or not. Stress is the result of the law of volitional responsibility, since the Bible always holds us responsible for the choices that we make (Gal. 6:7):
Here, sowing and reaping illustrate the law of taking responsibility for our decisions. The sins a person commits sprout and follow a natural pattern of growth. We all have free will and from our free will we decide constantly, some of those decisions are good and others bad. Yet, if we think we will escape the results of our bad decisions, we deceive only ourselves.
Being in a state of arrogance is self-deception and is the cause of most of the suffering that a person may experience. In arrogance and ignorance the believer will always blame his misfortunes on others, his environment, or a trauma in his childhood. Some go as far as to put blame on the devil, and even God for some of the results of their own bad decisions. This illogical thinking is not in touch with reality. The reality is that we are all responsible for our own decisions.
Whether a person is a believer in Jesus Christ or not, handling adversity with a mature mentality always makes the difference. A mature individual always thinks in principle and not emotions such as jealousy, anger, hatefulness, arrogance, bitterness, fear or revengeful motivations. A mature person accepts full responsibility for their decisions and actions. A person practicing the arrogant tendencies of denial and self-justification will claim they could not help themselves.
Blaming everything on genetics is very popular today. For instance, there are articles that report that eating too much sugar causes diabetes, heart problems, depression and cancer. If this is in fact true, then blame should not be so much on our genetics, but on our choice to consume sugar in excess. It would be arrogance on our part to ask why God would allow such illnesses to occur, when we actually do it to ourselves. This would also include the mental disorders that have been a part of our present article series. The blame should not be on genetics, but on the improper habits that parents pass on to their children, whether they may do it knowingly or unknowingly.
Therefore, in conclusion to our top story, will the teenage boys with a high level of the stress hormone cortisol develop clinical depression later in life? If they do, it will not be because of the high level of this hormone itself, but because of not handling adversity in life more effectively. I hope that from this series we have understood the importance of how our choices determine the quality of life that we will live.