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Spiritual Depression – 1 Foundational Truth, 2 Causes, 4 Cures

April 24, 2012

[120:1] In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
[2] Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
[3] What shall be given to you,
and what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
[4] A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!
[5] Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
[6] Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
[7] I am for peace,
but when I speak, they are for war!
(Psalm 120 ESV)

1 Foundational Truth

“Truth” might be a strong word…but let’s go with it! The truth is that most of us are unaware of the spiritual reality in our life known as depression. Many of us are unable to see it, unwilling to admit it, or are ashamed of it. But, the truth is that all of us face it on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The tendency to despair is great. If the evil one can get to your heart and your emotions, he has truly won the battle…and he will try. Don’t think your are exempt from this. You aren’t! If you are reading this you have either struggled with spiritual depression or you have utterly denied its existence in your life. There really is no other option.

2 Causes

1. The sin of others (v. 2). We don’t live in isolated, impenetrable bubbles but rather in community with others. The sin of others affects us. And…our sin effects other people…probably more than we know. The specific example in this Psalm is the use of the tongue. James 3 says that the tongue can set a forest ablaze. It certainly can and this can lead to our own or other people’s depression.

2. Isolation from believers (vv.5-6). We are hurt by others, and need others all at the same time. The writer of this Psalm had dwelling places in Meshech and Kedar. Both of these places were outside the promised land and (most importantly) not Jerusalem – the place of worship. The people of God need other people of God in the place of God. Namely, the local church. Withdrawing oneself from a worshipping body is a fast track to spiritual depression.

4 Cures

1. Recall God’s faithfulness in your life (v. 1). Where has the Lord answered prayers in the past? We tend to be so short-sighted in our walk with the Lord. We need to remember the times we have seen his faithfulness to remind ourselves of his promise to always be faithful to us.

2. Recognize your only hope is in the Lord (v. 2). It is no small thing that the Psalm writer says, “Deliver me, O Lord.” Today we might functionally replace “O Lord” with any number of things. “Deliver me, O 401K, job, self-esteem, wife who will always make me feel happy, children who will never disobey, etc.” Our only hope is in the Lord, not in the temporal, fleeting, and transient things of this world.

3. Pursue peace by declaring war on sin (v. 3). Too often we make peace with our sin. We learn to just live with it. How do I manage? How do I hide? How do I make it look like I don’t struggle? MAKE WAR! Fight sin. Pray that there would be a day where you don’t struggle with gossiping, pornography, greed, envy, etc.

4. Remember that your longing for peace will only fully be satisfied in the New Jerusalem (v. 5). Just like this Psalm writer desired to be in Jerusalem so he could worship fully with God’s people, we today struggle in incompleteness. This incompleteness will be met with a completed cosmos unlike anything we can even imagine when the Lord comes back and purifies his bride, bringing with him the New Jerusalem. We have a hope and future beyond the limitations of this present age.

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