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 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 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 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 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.