Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spiritual Depression in the Psalms

This is a great sermon by John Piper, based on Psalm 42, on dealing with difficult times in your life in a very real but God honouring way. Very down to earth spiritual practicality without any unhelpful uber/hyper super charismatic spirituality. Not that JP does that at all. Just plain old using the word of God and clinging to Truth in the face of tough trials that threaten to overwhelm you and most of all being brutally honest about where you are at.

The points that struck me are where Piper list 6 practical things from the Psalm to do when struggling.

  1. Asking god why is a legitimate question.
  2. Affirm God’s Sovereign Love. Recognising that God is in Sovereign Control of all things and that His love is beyond anything we can fully grasp yet must cling to.
  3. Sing! Yes Sing! Not happy clappy joyous stuff that may not be inappropriate to where you are at but songs that affirm truth and that are brutally honest. Many modern worship songs just don’t go there which is very sad.
  4. For example, Isaac Watts wrote these verses to be sung:

    How long wilt Thou conceal Thy face?
    My God, how long delay?
    When shall I feel those heav’nly rays
    That chase my fears away?

    How long shall my poor labouring soul
    Wrestle and toil in vain?
    Thy word can all my foes control
    And ease my raging pain.

  5. Preach to your own soul. This is a key theme from John Piper and is so helpful. It is also a very good reason to memorise scripture. Preach helpful key truths from the word at yourself. The power of the Word through the Holy Spirit is not something to be underestimated.
  6. Remember past experiences of close and intimate times with God.
  7. Thirst for God as the Deer Pants for Water. This for me is the key to hanging in there when all things around have gone bad and when they are going well. Keeping absolutely focussed on clinging to and thirsting for God alone. Recognising that without God there is nothing else. Where else would you go? Clinging to God and gaining intimacy with the Lord is more important than relief from your circumstances. It is ok to desire relief but not at the expense of clinging to God.

    First you need to recognise the thirst inside you for God. Accessing that thirst and not minimising the feelings that come when you do. It is a deep desire that can be uncomfortable for many who live on the surface of their emotions because it is at the heart of who we are as Image bearers of God. We were created so that only God can satisfy that thirst. Therefore to get in touch with it is to uncover a profound ache deep in the soul longing to be satisfied. If you go to the wrong place for it you are in deep trouble.

    The word of Habakkuk 3:17-19 are apt here. That is my prayer in all things. To gain a depth of trust and faith in God that holds me firm in all circumstances.

Anyway CLICK HERE for the sermon link and enjoy some wonderful biblical teaching.


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