Counseling One Another

Helping you grow in God's all-sufficient truth and grace

Counseling One Another

Ongoing Remedies for Spiritual Depression

The past two days were happily spent with David Murray and his film crew as they work to produce a DVD teaching series for small groups on the subject of how Christians can deal with depression. During the interview in our living room, David asked me how I work through periods of deep discouragement, or what Martyn Lloyd-Jones referred to as spiritual depression. I answered by giving him “4 R’s” that I am learning I must be diligent to maintain in the areas of both body and soul.

Respect
• Respect for God’s design for order of life, rest, and recreation.
• Respect for the limitations of my own humanity; for my body (diet, exercise, sleep).

Remain
• Remain in the Word (speak Truth to myself). Passages especially helpful to me are Psalm 77, 73, 42, 55, and 23 combined with John 10.
• Remain in prayer, truly casting my cares on the Lord while knowing/believing He cares for me
• Remain in fellowship with God’s people
• Remain in friendship with faithful brothers in Christ (I must guard against the tendency toward isolation)

Remember
• Remember the Lord’s works, His mercy, love and grace
• Remember past blessings and present gifts from God
• Remember who I really am in Christ, which combats my ‘functional lies’

Review
• Review past journal entries that record God’s dealings with me. This helps minister to my inner man and renew my mind by shifting my focus away from myself.
• Review journal pages that contain Scripture passages written out in times when God’s Word is all I was able to cling to.

I hope these be an encouragement in your times of spiritual discouragement.

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7 Comments

  1. Thank you for the passages – I have turned to some of them several times, and I need to go back and remind myself of the Truths. Remaining in God’s Word through times of discouragement is so critical…I love that it is not a “how to book” that fixes problems; rather, it is Truth and as I renew my thinking in God’s Word, I can approach my problems in a way that focuses on God and not self.
    I also appreciate what you said about remembering – It’s so easy to focus on what I am feeling right now and lose sight of the Lord. He is good and does good, and He must be praised.

  2. I love the simplicity of this. I will be passing these “tips” on to people and remembering them for my own walk. Reviewing what God has done is a great way to remember that He is faithful and will be faithful even in this trial. I love to journal and so I have found that is a great way for me to be able to focus my thoughts, and see ways in which I need to grow and change.

  3. Yes, it was an encouragement. Thank you so much!

  4. There are many times when I have utilized these same principles in my own life. I know that when any of these things are lacking in my life, I am more prone to becoming discouraged. Thanks for listing them for us!

  5. When I am discouraged, my focus my attitude is deeply entrenched in self. And when I am discouraged, it is oftentimes rooted in fear. However, fear is very selfish–I John 4:18 tells us that fear involves punishment. But punishment for ourselves. We hurt ourselves the most and we cannot love the way we ought to. Christ’s love and truth is what I must cling to. Thank you for these truths and the honesty in your own life.

  6. Yes, thank you so much for being so transparent and open. After reading the 4 r’s I am remindied of the overall principle of having a renewed mind in Christ. Constantly we are to be saturated in His word and allow Him to renew the right mind and spirit within us. In doing so I believe that most of those will begin to follow. Isn’t it awesome that in all this, He is simply calling and drawing us to Himself. He wants US to be close to HIM! How intimate and loving He is. ..

  7. This is a great compilation of our own responsibilities in discouragement. I’m frustrated with the “let go, let God” mentality because that completely leaves responsibility out of the picture. The Christian life is active.