David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a doctor turned preacher in the earlier part of the 20th century, wrote: Most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why are you in despair? What business have you to be depressed? You exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope in God’ – instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must remind yourself of God, who He is, what He has done, and what He has pledged Himself to do. (From the book, Spiritual Depression, by Martin Lloyd Jones, pp. 20-21)
Here are a few cures from Psalm 120.
Recall God’s past faithfulness in your life. “I called to the LORD, and he answered me.” Such personal evidence is also a powerful antidote to spiritual depression (ANSWERED PRAYERS; PAST DELIVERANCES). When has trusting God ever burned you in the past? What compelling reason is there for viewing your situation as any different? It is those who are willing to go back to the basis for their faith that are able to go on with God.
Recognize that your only source of hope is in the name of the Lord (v.2). LORD – The great tragedy of spiritual depression is that, those who suffer from it tend to think that they must overcome it before they can come to God. LORD – I am a God of loving loyalty.
John Stott correctly observes, “The cure for spiritual depression is neither to look in at our grief, nor back to the past, nor round at our problems, but upwards to the living God. He is our help and our God, and if we trust in him now, we shall soon have cause to praise him again.”
We are powerless to overcome spiritual depression in and of ourselves. We must bring our losses and crosses to the LORD. Prayerfully bring to the Lord all the ways that we have suffered from the warring ways of the world. “When through the deep waters I call thee to go…”
Pursue peace with God not by declaring war on those who have sinned against you, but by declaring war on your sin (v.3). We tend to make peace with our sins and declare war on others who have hurt us. We definitely must make war but on what and whom? The “deceitful tongue” of verse 3 might not be somebody’s else, but my own.
One question that I continually use on myself is this: Are there any ways that you have spoken unadvisedly, bitterly, untruly this past week? Not believing God’s promises has to be one of our greatest sins.
Rejoice that divine judgment fell upon another – the Prince of peace… (v.4). For all the ways that I have succumbed to the warring ways of the world. I pray that you will do what only desperate people can do, namely, cast yourself on Christ. May you say to him, “You are my only hope. I have no righteousness in myself. Have mercy upon me. I trust you.”
Remember that your deep longing for peace will one day be fully satisfied. What is your journey’s destination? The heavenly Mount Zion – the new Jerusalem (city of peace). When you are there, you will never experience another day of doom and gloom.
There will be full shalom – complete mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional flourishing, well-being, wholeness, health, prosperity, safety, tranquility, rest, harmony, and the absence of all agitation and discord.
William Cowper wrote in his wonderful poem “God Moves in a Mysterious Way:” Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, the clouds you so much dread. Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head!
Join me in praying the following:
Give us grace to turn away from the deceitful dealings and warring ways of the world that infiltrate our hearts and relationships. Enable us to turn to you in repentance and faith for You are the God of peace who has reconciled us to Yourself through the blood of Jesus’ cross. Make me a man who pursues your shalom, in Jesus’ name, AMEN.