Lesson 8 -- fourth quarter 2002
October 20, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
The Psalmist knew about depression and discouragement. In Psalm 42:5 he wrote, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?" Depression and discouragement go beyond feelings, which are often fleeting. These Dreadful D's are a state of being, a condition of the soul.
When I think of my soul, I think of my mind; that is, my ability to think as well as the values that guide my life. I think of my will, which to me is my capability to exercise conscious control over myself. I also think of my emotions (and we all know what those are!).
Discouragement and depression exercise a downward, negative effect on our mind, will, and emotions. They warp our thoughts and values. They deprive us of our self-control. And they work ruin with our emotions. Left to run unrestrained, discouragement and depression will pull us in an ever downward spiral. With mind, will, and emotions so diminished, the victim is left with no apparent way out. He is doomed to worsen because his own self-help mechanisms are working against him.
Even so, he can have hope! Listen to David's assurance as expressed in the completeness of 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" (Psalm 42:5). With David we can acknowledge the troubled, cast down state of our soul. With David we can affirm that our hope lies only with God and the help of His countenance.
I am deeply challenged at this time with the reminder that I can see God in His Word. Therefore, I should turn to the Bible in my low times.
"Yes," you might protest, "but I can't even exercise the self-discipline to do that. And I for sure don't feel like it." I understand. So here's a promise for us to claim: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). In other words, when I have neither the power nor the will to do what I ought, God will work them in me if I turn to Him. Isn't that great!
Here's one more promise from our generous, understanding, compassionate heavenly Father: "For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul" (Jeremiah 31:25). When our mind, will, and emotions are completely shot, run down, and depleted, He replenishes them! As David wrote, "He restoreth my soul" (Psalm 23:3).
Why follow God's Law?
Tell me, now. Why does your voice sound so much like you (at least most of the time)? I know, it's an absurd question because it has such an obvious answer. You sound like you because it's part of your nature. It's just natural for you to sound that way!
In the same way and for the same reason, the bold question above is absurd for the Christian. Listen a bit. "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33). " I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8). "Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). Following God's Law is just natural!
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