Here is some great motivation for reading a very helpful book from Byron Welsh and our resource center. Thank you, Byron for helping us not waste our summer!
You’ve seen in the bulletin the last couple of weeks that the suggested reading for the summer includes three books: Galatians for You by Tim Keller, Ten Questions to Diagnose your Spiritual Health by Donald Whitney, Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
In this post I want to show you how it will profit you to read D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Spiritual Depression. I first read this book years ago with a Christian friend of mine from a previous church in Fairborn. My friend was going through a divorce and he was dealing with many issues associated with deep depression. I thought that I would help him by suggesting this book by Lloyd-Jones. Indeed it did help him, but what I was surprised to find was that it was a huge help to me too! I was guilty of assuming that the word “depression” in the title meant something that only “others” experienced and that I would be going through this book just for the sake of my friend. What I found is that Lloyd-Jones addresses issues that I face nearly every day as a Christian. Lloyd-Jones’ basic thesis is that Christians should be the happiest, most content and most satisfied people you meet. When I say happy, content and satisfied, I don’t mean that Christians have no troubles and worries, but that they are grounded in the firm foundation of the promises of the gospel. That grounding should make a world of difference for the Christian. What we (and Lloyd-Jones) find is “there are large numbers of Christian people who give the impression of being unhappy. They are cast down; their souls are disquieted within them.” Lloyd-Jones goes on to say “… a depressed Christian is a contradiction in terms, and he (or she) is a very poor recommendation for the gospel.” So … do you sometimes have doubts, are you weary and tired, do you question your salvation, do false teachings create consternations in your soul, does the failure to completely conquer sin get you down, do the trials in your life make you wonder about God’s purpose and provision in your life? The questions could go on and on. Lloyd-Jones addresses many of these questions in this book. His writing style is fresh, straightforward, to the point and, most importantly, biblical. He wants us to examine our lives and see if we really believe the gospel. The fundamental cause of our depression is unbelief. Lloyd-Jones reminds us what the gospel tells us and calls us to believe the promises of God. Early in the book he says the “main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self … have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.” This is a constant theme in this book – by letting circumstances and life and ourselves talk to us we let the world influence us and that in turn causes fear, discontent, and anxiety. What we need to do is take control of what or who influences us by talking “to ourselves” – that is, preaching to ourselves, questioning ourselves, reminding ourselves about the truths of God, and reminding ourselves about who we really are. I’ve recommended this book to a number of friends and they have all found it to be helpful in their “fight of faith”. I’m now reading it again with another friend and I’m again amazed at how Lloyd-Jones diagnoses my condition and helps me overcome those influences that cause unbelief. I hope you enjoy it too. Enjoy, Byron