In the world but not of it

January 12, 2010

Remember “Who” not what…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you…Psalms 42:5-6

Years ago I went to a doctor for help with a particular condition I was suffering with. At the time there was no clear treatment for this condition so the only prescribed method for addressing it was to take an antidepressant.

I asked the doctor about the side effects and he explained that the antidepressant would relax me and slow me down, perhaps making me a bit lethargic but the trade off was that my condition would improve.

It was the “lethargic” word that got me. I opted to pass on this and continue to deal with the condition until something else came along (eventually it did).

Discouragement actually has the same side effect as an antidepressant in the context of “slowing you down”…it makes us lethargic. It is an emotional ailment that works against us, focusing us on the horizontal aspects of our life (looking at the problems) rather than the vertical solution (looking up to God).

When we are discouraged we tend to think about worst-case scenarios. We play the “what if” game remembering things and constantly churning thoughts in our mind about how we could have done something differently or said something else or how something may have turned out in another way.

We get discouraged when we sin or even do something that is not too “Christian-like”. But the discouragement comes from our own sense of pride. We don’t like failing, we don’t want to me passed over or neglected; we don’t expect bad news about our health, our finances, our relationships.

We want life to run smoothly and we enjoy experiencing a continuous emotional high. Isn’t this the reason people turn to artificial stimulants? People want to escape their emotions and somehow live in a perpetual state of “happiness”. But you see that is the issue. We have grossly misinterpreted the expectations of the Christian life. Happiness is based on happenings or events and since events vary greatly so will my mood and the level of discouragement that I experience.

The Christian life is predicated on joy which has nothing to do with events or happenings but all to do with the finished work of Christ and the acceptance we have into God’s family.

The antidepressant or antidote to discouragement that has side effects we actually do want to experience begins with remembering. You might be thinking “didn’t you just say that remembering the past is the cause?”…Yes, I said remembering the things that we did or didn’t do are often the cause.

The “remembering” I am talking about here is strictly focused on God. It is the last phrase in our text when the Psalmist says I will remember you. It is recalling the goodness of God in your life. It is remembering how He has always come through, how He has been faithful to love you, to provide for you in the smallest of ways and if your answer to prayer has not yet come then it is remembering He is God and all things are in His hand.

This will take your mind off the present situation as you focus your thoughts on God’s ability to help you rather than on your inability to help yourself. God’s antidepressant for us is to get into His Word and meditate on it, allowing it to penetrate our soul and bring to remembrance who He is and who He is in our situation specifically.

Yes, there are great side effects to this…peace, trust, faith, love and joy…these are not based on happenings…


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