Dr Martin Lloyd Jones, is a master at exposing the very roots of spiritual depression, as we soon find out in Chapter IV of Spiritual Depression.
He is minister/physician who is straightforward in his approach to spiritual matters and like one who with great concern grabs his parishioner/patient by the collar and speaks steadily and truthfully to him about the seriousness of his spiritual condition and the application of a sure remedy.
The Root of spiritual depression in the life of the believer, to summarize Lloyd-Jones, is essentially a belief in some lie or deception of the enemy of our soul. Lloyd-Jones reminding believers that,
” We are brought into this marvelous life, this spiritual condition by the grace of God . But we must never forget that over against us is another power. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God,but the Bible tells us that we are opposed by another kingdom, which is also a spiritual kingdom, and that all along we are being attacked and besieged.”
He also picks up the theme of the “Subtlety” of our adversary who seeks to destroy the work of God and especially the enjoyment of the knowledge of the goodness of God. Therefore we face opposition in the form of manifold temptation and discouragement. It is to be somewhat expected and I so heartily agree.
Jones in speaking of the Remedy for spiritual depression asserts, that the reality of what God has done in Jesus Christ by providing forgiveness for sinners who will believe in Him ( The Gospel), must be taken into all aspects of our human personality. That the glorious message of the gospel must permeate —- Our Mind—-Our Heart—Our Will.
That humankind ( Made in His image) has been designed in such a way that our personality, (intellect, emotions, desires) might be captivated by him in the gospel message. the message of the gospel must be first believed then applied.
” But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”
From this short verse, Lloyd -Jones unpacks that “…that form of doctrine…” referred to by Paul, is the very Gospel message which delivers from the power of sin to condemn and to which we were all helpless to escape in our own efforts.
Lloyd-Jones goes on to say that this Gospel reality ( the complete forgiveness of sins through the completed work of Jesus) must first be accepted and understood with the mind. It is a (doctrine of truth), then it must be applied to the heart (where so many of our troubles arise and the reality of emotional instability, fears and desires compete) finally we are to take the Gospel to our will so that from our heart where our affections are turned from self to the joy of Christ we willingly obey .
Knowing with our mind the truth of the gospel, believing in our heart his love for us and willingly choosing those things that glorify Christ and keep us from those thoughts and desires that bring us down and make us unfruitful, conflicted and discouraged.
Chapter IV has been very good for the soul!!!