SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION. Its Causes and its Cure

The ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief. For if it were not for unbelief even the devil could do nothing. It is because we listen to the devil instead of listening to God that we go down before him and fall before his attacks. That is why this psalmist keeps on saying to himself: Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise Him…. He reminds himself of God. Why? Because he was depressed and had forgotten God, so that his faith and his belief in God and in God’s power, and in his relationship to God, were not what they ought to be. We can indeed sum it all up by saying that the final and ultimate cause is just sheer unbelief.
What about the treatment in general?
Very briefly at this point, the first thing we have to learn is what the Psalmist learned-we must learn to take ourselves in hand. This man was not content just to lie down and commiserate with himself. He does something about it,he takes himself in hand.

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them,but they start talking to you,they bring back the problems of yesterday,etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Yourself is talking to you.

Now this man’s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, Oh my soul?’ he asks.
The main art in the manner of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.  You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’- what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, up braid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God‘-instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way.
And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.
The essence of this matter is to understand that this self of ours, this other man within us, has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him; condemn him; up braid him; exhort him; encourage him; remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you.For that is what he will always do if you allow him to be in control. The devil takes hold of self and uses it in order to depress us. We must stand up as this man did and say: ‘Why art thou cast down? Why art thou disquieted within me?‘ Stop being so! ‘Hope thou in God , for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance,‘ He,’who is the health of my countenance and my God.
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