Spiritual Depression Chs 5-8 (Quotes)

By D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
from Chs 5-8, Spiritual Depression

Chapters 5-8 That One Sin (5, p.65); Vain Regrets (6, p.79); Fear of the Future (7, p.93); Feelings (8, p.107)

‘…But, Timothy, you are not an ordinary person!  You are a Christian, you are born again, the Spirit of God is in you.  But you are facing all these things as if you are still what you once were, an ordinary person’.  p. 100

 

Do you see yourself as a “non ordinary” person…an assured Christian?

 

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2Timothy 1:7

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou *stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  (*”fan into flame” ESV)

2 Timothy 1:6

(if we are) more or less miserable Christians, we grossly and grievously misrepresent the gospel of Redeeming Grace.  p. 79

1. Dwelling on regrets is a waste of time. “Let us then lay this down as a principle. We must never for a second worry about anything that cannot be affected or changed by us. It is a waste of energy…You can sit down and be miserable and you can go round and round in circles of regret for the rest of your life but it will make no difference to what you have done.” (p. 82)

 

2. Failures in the past are not to make us depressed, but to spur us on to action. “if you really believe what you say about the past, if you really do bemoan the fact that you have wasted so much time in the past, the thing to do is to make up for it in the present. Is not that common sense?” (p. 83)

 

3. Turn away regret by focusing on who you are right now, at this moment. “What matters first of all if you are a Christian is not what you once were, but what you are…’I am what I am’—whatever the past may have been. It is what I am that matters. What am I? I am forgiven. I am reconciled to God by the Blood of His Son upon the Cross. I am a child of God. I am adopted into God’s family, and I am an heir with Christ, a joint-heir with Him. I am going to glory. That is what matters, not what I was, not what I have been.” (p. 85-86)

 

4. We are not to judge ourselves. “As Christians we must leave our judgement to Him [1 Cor. 4:1-4]. He is our Judge and you have no right to waste His time or your own time and energy in condemning yourself. Forget yourself, leave the judgement to Him; get on with the work.” (p. 87)

 

5. Forget yourself, know Him. “part of the trouble with these people is that they are still morbidly preoccupied with themselves, that they have not learned as Christians that they are to deny self and take up the Cross and follow Him and to leave themselves, past present and future in His hands….stop looking at yourself and begin to enjoy Him…If you were to feel more interest in Christ you would be less interested in yourself. Begin to look at Him, gaze upon Him with this open, unveiled face. And then go on to learn that in His Kingdom what matters is not the length of service but your attitude towards Him, your desire to please Him.” (p. 87-88)

 

6. Live knowing you are in the Kingdom of Grace. “Nothing Matters in the Kingdom but the grace of God…God has a different way of looking at things. He does not see as men do; He does not compute as they do; it is all grace from beginning to end…stop looking at what what you have not done and the years you have missed and realize that in His kingdom it is His grace alone that matters.” (p. 89)

…our adversary, the devil, is subtle…he is relentless…he does not cease or give up.  He does not care what methods he employs so long as he can bring us down and discredit the work of God; and he is not concerned about consistency.  He does not hesitate to vary his procedure, his approach…he has but one object and one concern and that is to bring into disrepute the Name and the work of God, and especially, of course, the great work of God in our redemption through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  p. 93

 

Redemption is a greater work even than creation… p. 93

 

The human person is very delicately and finely balanced.  Fundamentally we all have the same general characteristics, but the relative proportions vary tremendously from case to case, and so our temperaments vary and differ.  It is very important that we should bear that in mind.  ‘But, ah,’ says someone, ‘we are Christians now, and when a person becomes a Christian all such differences are demolished.’  Now that is the essential fallacy with respect to this whole matter.  There is not profounder change in the universe than the change which is described as regeneration; but regeneration—the work of God in the soul by which He implants a principle of divine and spiritual life within us—does not change a man’s temperament.  Your temperament still remains the same.  The fact that you have become a Christian does not mean that you cease to have to live with yourself.  You will have to live with yourself as long as you are alive, and yourself is your self and not somebody else’s self.  p. 95

 

 

 

 

…it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it….Live in the present to the maximum and do not let your future mortgage your present any more than you should let the past mortgage your present  p. 98, 99

 

Our fears are due to our failure to stir up—failure to think, failure to take ourselves in hand.  You find yourself looking to the future and then you begin to imagine things and you say:  ‘I wonder what is going to happen?’  And then, your imagination runs away with you.  You are gripped by the thing; you do not stop to remind yourself of who you are and what you are, this thing overwhelms you and down you go.  Now the first thing you have to do is to take a firm grip of yourself, to pull yourself up, to stir up yourself, to take yourself in hand and to speak to yourself.  As the Apostle puts it, we have to remind ourselves of certain things.  And as I understand it, the big thing that Paul is saying in effect to Timothy is: ‘Timothy, you are not an ordinary person!  You are a Christian, you are born again, the Spirit of God is in you.  But you are facing all these things as if you are still what you once were, an ordinary person’….Now the thing to do, says Paul to Timothy, is to remind yourself that we have been given the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and to realize that because of this our whole outlook upon life and the future must therefore be essentially different.  We must think of suffering in a new way, we must face everything in a new way.  And the way in which we face it all is by reminding ourselves that the Holy Spirit is in us.  There is the future, there is the high calling, there is the persecution, there is the opposition, there is the enemy.  I see it all.  I must admit that I am weak, that I lack the necessary powers and propensities.  But instead of stopping there I must go on to say:  ‘Yes.  I know it all, but ____’ And the moment I use the word ‘but’ I am doing what the Apostle wants me to do.  I say: ‘But-but the Spirit of God is in me; God has given me His Holy Spirit’.  The moment I say that the whole outlook changes.  In other words, we have to learn to say, that what matters in any of these positions is not what is true of us but what is true of Him.”  pp 99-100

What is so tragically wrong in a Christian is that he should allow himself to be controlled by his temperament.  The natural man is always controlled by his temperament, he cannot help himself; but the difference that regeneration makes is that there is now a higher control even over temperament.  The moment the Holy Spirit enters in, He controls everything including temperament, and so He enables you to function in your own particular way through your temperament.  That is the miracle of redemption.  Temperament remains, but temperament no longer controls.  The Holy Spirit is in control.  p. 101

God has given you the spirit of power.  Go forward.  p 102

‘The spirit of love!’ It will deliver you from self-interest, self-concern, and from depression about self, because depression results from self and self-concern. (Love) gets rid of self at all points.  So talk to yourself about this eternal, amazing love of God—the God Who ever looked upon us in spite of sin and planned the way of redemption and spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all.  p. 103

You need not be afraid, you will not lose your nerve;  you will not be so excited and alarmed that you will not know what to speak;  it will be given you in that self-same hour what to speak.  The spirit of wisdom and of a sound mind!  p. 104

You cannot read through your New Testament without seeing at a glance that joy is meant to be an essential part of the Christian experience.  One of the most striking things that conversion does is to take us out of some horrible pit, some miry clay and establish our feet upon a rock, and establish our goings and to put a new song in our mouth.  Feelings are meant to be engaged, and when the gospel comes to us it does involve the whole man.  It moves his mind as he sees its glorious truths, it moves his heart in the same way, and it moves his will.  p. 110-111

…if you are guilty of sin, you are going to be miserable.  ‘The way of the transgressor is hard.’  If you break God’s laws and violate His rules you will not be happy.  If you think that you can be a Christian and exert your own will and follow your own likes and dislikes, your Christian life is going to be a miserable one.  There is no need to argue about it, it follows as the night the day, that if you are harbouring some favourite sin, if you are holding on to something that the Holy Spirit is condemning through your conscience, you will not be happy.  And there is only one thing to do, confess it, acknowledge it, repent, go to God at once and confess your sin, open your heart, bare your soul, tell Him all about it, hold nothing back and then believe that because you have done so, He forgives you.  ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’.  p. 114

After all, what we have in the Bible is Truth; it is not an emotional stimulus, it is not something primarily concerned to give us a joyful experience.  It is primarily Truth, and Truth is addressed to the mind, God’s supreme gift to man; and it as we apprehend and submit ourselves to the truth that the feelings follow.  I must never ask myself in the first instance: What do I feel about this?  The first question is, Do I believe it?  Do I accept it, has it gripped me?  Very well, that is what I regard as perhaps the most important rule of all, that we must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings.  Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse and taking your own spiritual temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings.  That is the high road to morbidity.  pp. 114-115

‘Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice’.  He goes on saying it.  To rejoice is a command, yes, but there is all the difference in the world between rejoicing and being happy.  You cannot make yourself happy, but you can make yourself rejoice, in the sense that you will always rejoice in the Lord.  Happiness is something within ourselves, rejoicing is ‘in the Lord’.  How important it is then, to draw the distinction between rejoicing in the Lord and feeling happy.  p. 115-116

Speak to yourself!

Turn to yourself, turn to your feelings and say: ‘I have no time to worry about feelings, I am interested in something else.  I want to be happy but still more I want to be righteous, I want to be holy.  I want to be like my Lord, I want to live in this world as He lived, I want to walk through it as He walked through it’.

p. 117