On Preaching to Ourselves

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. ~ Psalm 43:5

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. ~ Psalm 1:2

“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.”

So wrote Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones in his great work, Spiritual Depression.  You don’t have to be depressed to read this book nor should you wait until you are spiritually depressed (and you will be) to follow the injunction of preaching to yourself.  This is what the psalmist did in Psalm 43:5“Hope in God for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” He’s talking to his own soul!  He is preaching to himself.

Lloyd Jones insisted that the “ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief” and recommended a paradoxical prescription for better health:  “…we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us!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?”

According to Lloyd-Jones, there is a difference between the involuntary voice of our lives (our flesh, the devil, and the world) and the intentional voice of speaking the truth of God to ourselves.  In Psalm 1, the ‘blessed’ man is he who’s delight is in the law of the Lord and on that law he ‘meditates‘ day and night.  The Hebrew word for meditate is hagah which means to moan, growl, utter, and speak (BDB).  Notice how all of these meanings relate to vocalization.  The blessed man literally speaks the word of God to himself day and night.

Think about God’s word, ponder it, but also begin speaking God’s word into your life.  A mutter is a great beginning!


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