Book in Review: "Spiritual Depression"
This classic collection of 21 sermons from the "Doctor" (as Lloyd-Jones is commonly referred to) is a timeless treasure trove of truth. Though perhaps incorrectly titled, the subject matter is just as relevant today (if not more) as it was when it was originally preached: How do we live this Christian life to the fullest?
The premise for this book comes from Psalm 42:11 where David cries, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God." What David has done in this verse is "taken himself in hand" as Lloyd-Jones says and preached to himself. David would not the allow himself to become the sum product of his feelings. He recognized the "downcast spirit" and proceeded to remind Himself of God and His goodness. We likewise cannot listen to ourselves (feelings, lies, burdens, the Devil) but must constantly proclaim to ourselves who God is--and what our response must be to such a God: Hope in Him!
The chapters are as diverse as they are dense. Lloyd-Jones tackles: the unregenerate heart, discipline, anxiety, fears of future ills, weariness that comes with Christian service, and even introversion and personality weaknesses. These are things that we all face! I was somewhat surprised that Lloyd-Jones does not spend a chapter (or several for that matter) on addictions and frequent temptations--but it seems that he is far less concerned with the external realm. What DMLJ was most interested in was the heart. The beliefs. If the root can be corrected, the fruit will follow.
Though Lloyd-Jones is very smart, I found his sermons clear and accessible. In fact many of the "cures" are things that most Christians already know--but they simply fail to act on! "Spiritual Depression" is then a book that should not be read simply to finish--it is a book to read, re-read, and chew on. I recommend it to everyone, and it is especially helpful for group study or one on one discipleship. I myself bought 4 copies to give to friends.
Let's stop waiting for eternity to find true joy. It is available now. May we therefore take hold of the riches that are offered the saints in Christ Jesus, and not linger another day living in anything less.
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