Friday, December 31, 2010
I have been re-reading what I consider to be one of the best books I have ever read...Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This book is a collection of sermons he preached on consecutive Sunday mornings at Westminster Chapel in London, where he was preacher. He was also a medical doctor. D Martyn Lloyd-Jones retired from Westminster Chapel in 1968 and died in 1981.
I have not been reading through it chapter by chapter this time, but rather just referencing it at various chapters. These sermons cover such topics (dealing with depression) as temperaments, feelings, false teaching, being weary in well doing, dwelling on the past or the future, chastening of the Lord, trials, contentment and everything in between. He goes over reasons a Christian may be spiritually depressed and then gives you ways to deal with that particular area of struggle. It always culminates in preaching the gospel to yourself, rather than listening to yourself. I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you struggle with depression or not. My temperament is such that I do struggle off and on with mild depression. I am very introspective. It's been a great help to me at various times in my life and one I'm sure I will reference for the rest of my days.
This morning I read the chapter on "Feelings." I leave you with these last few paragraphs from this chapter:
"...If you want to be truly happy and blessed, if you would like to know true joy as a Christian, here is the prescription-'Blessed (truly happy) are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness'--not after happiness. Do not go on seeking thrills; seek righteousness. 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.' You are in this world, says John in his first Epistle, even as He was. Set your whole aim upon righteousness and holiness and as certainly as you do so you will be blessed, you will be filled, you will get the happiness you long for. Seek for happiness and you will never find it, seek righteousness and you will discover that you are happy--it will be there without your knowing it, without your seeking it.
Finally, let me put it this way: 'Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but-this is the simple essence of it-go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother.
So, if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him. If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find Him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything. So avoid the incitements and the temptations of Satan to give feelings this great prominence at the centre. Put at the centre the only One who has a right to be there, the Lord of Glory, Who so loved you tat He went to the cross and bore the punishment and the shame of your sins and died for you. Seek Him, seek His face, and all other things shall be added unto you."
(p. 117-118, Spiritual Depression, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)