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All of us, from time to time, experience discouraging circumstances in our lives. Then we become like the Psalmist who in Psalm 42 said to his soul: “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.” Some of God's people are prone, by their very character and inner disposition to be more easily discouraged than others. But to be discouraged is wrong, it is not honouring to God Our Father, Christ our Redeemer, or the Spirit our Comforter. The Christian would see that they have no good or valid reason to be discouraged, if they could but view things as they ought. Discouraging circumstances we need to face up to, and deal with, in a Christian manner. Over the next couple of weeks we will notice six things William Bridge had to say about how a Christian can apply the Word of God in order to bear up against discouragement.

A Remedy For Discouragement

Question:

You perhaps say: I know indeed that I have no just and Scriptural reason for my discouragement; indeed I see there is much reason against it. Yet I am one of a troubled spirit. I would desire it to be otherwise; that at last I might glorify free grace. How may I bear up against all discouragements, and not be discouraged, whatever my condition may be?

Answer:

Firstly, the only way, as with the Psalmist in Psalm 42:11, is to hope, to trust, to believe in God. And if you would not be discouraged in any condition, never lay your comforts upon your condition. Don't be in love with any condition for itself; neither let your condition be the ground of your encouragements. Hang a cloak or garment upon a rotten peg and it will break, and the garment falls down. Now there is no condition that is not a rotten peg. Every condition is alterable. There is no condition so firm and fast that it is not exposed to many changes. It is a rotten peg that will not hold. God however, is pillars; his name is Adonai, which signifies as much. And in Isaiah 26 we are commanded to trust in the Lord: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, or the rock of ages. And, says the Psalmist, my flesh faileth and my heart faileth, but God is the rock of my heart for ever, Psalm 73:26. Lay your comforts upon your own condition, and you do but build upon the sand, which will be carried away with every wind, storm, and tempest in life. But if you build upon Christ, upon God himself, you build upon the rock; and though floods, and storms, and winds, rise and beat upon you, yet you will not lose your comforts: for they are built upon a rock.

Secondly, be sure that you think of and consider Christ as he is held forth in the Gospel. We are very apt to have misconceptions of Christ. As Satan transforms himself into an angel of light; so he would transform Christ into and angel of darkness. But the Scripture holds him forth under such relations, as make him very amiable, very lovely, unto poor sinners. Are you accused by Satan, the world, and your own conscience? He is called your advocate. Are you ignorant? He is called your prophet. Are you guilty of sin? He is called a priest, your High Priest. Are you afflicted with many enemies, inward and outward? He is called a king, yea the King of kings. Are you in straits? He is called your Way. Are you hungry and thirsty? He is called the bread and water of life. Are you afraid you shall fall away at the last. He is our second Adam; a public person in whose death we died and in whose satisfaction we are satisfied. As there is no temptation, nor affliction, but some promise or other especially suits it. so there is no condition, but that some name, some attribute of Christ is suitable unto it. If you look upon Christ's attribute of love, without your condition you may grow presumptuous. If you look only upon your condition without Christ's attribute of love, you may despair. But think on both together, and you will not be discouraged.”

Brethren this is surely great help to the believer who receives and understands the things of Christ and the Spirit. There may be much imperfection in them, but they are in tune to the Word and Spirit; they have the light of life and peace in their soul. But, O what a sad thing to be an unbeliever. The unbeliever must needs be an oft discouraged person; for these precious truths of the kingdom do not reach the heart to strengthen it in the grace of God: - “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace,” ( Romans. 8:6). How does it stand with your soul?

From the Pastor's Desk
The Evangelical Presbyterian

Volume 12, July 1998

 
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