Godly Counsel from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

In Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses the Psalmists words in Psalm 42:11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” I will share his Godly advice without comment:

“I say we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ouselves’ to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. This is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. 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? Your self 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, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.’ Do you know what I mean? If you do not, you have had but little experience.

The main art in the matter 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 are thou cast down’—what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid 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.’” (Pp. 20-21)



  1. Branson said,

    February 23, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    This makes perfect sense. Although I have to admit how amusing it may sound to say, “My pastor encourages me to talk to myself.” 😉

  2. Sandra A. said,

    February 24, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    May we always encourage each other with psalms and spiritual songs and that includes ourselves. Thanks, Clifton; I needed this reminder.

  3. February 25, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    This one really blessed me, too! I struggle with anxiety and depression, and the Psalms help a lot. Hymns do, too. I like to get my hymn books out and sing the ones that speak words of comfort like “How Firm a Foundation”, and “Come Thou Fount”.

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