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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual depression’

In chapter V of Spiritual Depression,  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones presses forward  with The Light of the Gospel and its practical implications for liberating the depressed believer who finds himself in a perpetual state of self loathing over the remembrance of some past sin.

(It is this readers opinion that the anointing of God continues to attend the work of Lloyd-Jones and use what was rendered  by him in service to God and His people.  I find it impossible to read This work  in Spiritual Depression and think of it only as it applied to “The people of Lloyd-Jones day” .  No , there is always that sense of  Lloyd -Jones being a minister grabbing my lapels and bringing me mind to mind with biblical doctrine as though he is saying. “This my friend, is a  doctrinal medicine for you, take it  and you will soon experience it’s healing effects upon your soul”   and I do.)

Lloyd-Jones  does take into consideration the interplay of Satan with regard to the  bringing of such accusing thoughts to the child of God but spends little time on that particular aspect of things. Instead, he delivers  sound doctrine to his primary subject, ( the child of God). It is a fully fleshed out doctrine in this chapter and I will not seek to cover the entire fleshing out in one Post.

A very perceptive Lloyd-Jones,  essentially calls such a spiritually depressed person to a new kind of  “wakefulness” ,to a , “standing at attention position”, and to an  “at  the ready” active participation in taking hold of the doctrine of   “Salvation”. Here Lloyd-Jones seeks to bring death to  any “spiritualized passivity”.

He heartily states:

Let me put this plainly and bluntly in order that I may emphasis it even at the risk of being misunderstood. There is a sense in which the one thing that these people who are in this condition must not do is to pray to be delivered from it!  That is what they always do, and that is what hey have invariably been doing when they come seeking help- indeed, it is what they are generally told they must do….but this is one of those points at which the Christian must stop praying for a moment and  begin to think!

At this point I think it is important to think. To think about what is being said here.  If I understand this correctly and take a look at Christian experience  I  can certainly see a very important truth here.  Lloyd -Jones is rightly stating  that fully actively engaging  our minds is as spiritual an act as prayer.  That though prayer is a wonderful privilege and a mighty tool, it is the wrong tool in this case. That the right tool, the most spiritually appropriate tool, in this case is, the mind fully engaged with the doctrinal truth of the gospel  of Salvation.

I think that this is plenty to chew on for a start.

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Within the very first pages of  Lloyd -Jones book ,Spiritual depression, the believer is re-acquainted  with the inverted values that exist within the life of faith.   Namely, that there is a stark honesty that must exist in faith and relationship to God. The kind of honesty that leaves one greatly exposed, examined and laid bare.  This is exactly the kind of  stark honesty we see again and again displayed in the lives of  those individual characters found in the bible. These individuals were very imperfect people yet also in every sense “An open book”.

Lloyd -Jones  draws the attention of his readers to this reality within the lives of biblical characters and especially to the deep and revealing nature of the Psalms. He says of the Psalms,

“Here we are able to watch noble souls struggling with their problems and with themselves. They talk to themselves and to their souls, baring their hearts, analyzing their problems, chiding and encouraging themselves. Sometimes they are elated, at other times depressed, but they are always honest with themselves. That is why they are of such value to us if we are also honest with ourselves” P.9

I love the descriptions  Lloyd-Jones uses here. Struggling, baring hearts, analyzing problems, being elated, depressed, honest with themselves.

(It is important to note that the  honesty  referred to here by the very  nature  of its biblical context ,exists in relation to an honesty with oneself before a  loving God who is Holy and perfect in himself.)

Yet this is a very inverted value system when compared to the value system outside of the reality of faith. Whereas faith is the striping down of ones soul before a great and mighty  and merciful God, the  unbelieving world holds all such notions as the worst kind of weakness.  The world’s values are strength, independence, being self-directed and putting on up an outward image that masks any internally recognized weakness. Vulnerabilities  are seen as a great enemy of the self according to the unwritten code of worldly values.

To answer the question, “Do we come across such a condition as spiritual depression in the scriptures?” Lloyd -Jones brings us to    Psalm 42:5,

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

Ah yes, its all there, in those two questions, the depth of the very soul, the disquieted, restless condition, the self talk and  honesty. This is no doubt a spiritually depressed state. This also is no doubt a person of true faith as well because in his vulnerability  weakness and distress he knows that God is His help. He is not his own Help. God is.

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