I say the above to bring up a point about what is often called depression, and I offer my opinion on the subject. Depression is a real malady to be sure. Often depression is not that at all, but doubt is the culprit.
Bunyan stated it this way with his character Christian in The Pilgrims Progress: “What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called promise that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.”
That doubt leads to despair, and despair to depression is well documented. We humans, in the prototype were made in the image of God and thus we contain inner hard wiring for belief and hope. When we surrender these two thoughts of belief in something/someone bigger than ourselves we find we lose hope, hope which is basically future oriented. We believe the Promise of God and thus because we trust His Word about the future we are as a few lyrics state in our song, “I’m possessed of a hope that is steadfast and sure since Jesus came into my heart.”
John Bunyan had Christian state the truth about doubt. You doubt because you choose to doubt. You can by the same action choose to believe the Promise, more accurately the Promises.
Dr. Herbert Lockyer in his All The… series of books wrote one titled All The Promises of the Bible and he claimed there are over 7,000 promises in the Bible. Most of them are made in general to God’s people, though some are to the Jews, some to the seed of Ishmael and Abraham and certainly to New Testament believers. Dr. Lockyer points this out accurately in his book. I had all of his books but they were lost in our 1997 fire. I miss them.
The purpose of the last paragraph is to help you to grasp that God works primarily through His Word and His Word is saturated with promises for you and me to lay hold on and march on through life with faith and hope in our hearts that is sure, so strong that we can, as the song says, stand on them. Again a few lyrics, “Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.”
Hebrews chapter eleven is often called the Roll Call of Faith and for good reason, it tells the abbreviated version of the lives of outstanding men and women of faith and shares the key to their unflinching courage in the face of the impossible. The writer says this in Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Peter identifies the bedrock of their faith and ours in 2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
I love the phrase, “exceeding great and precious promises,” because that is what they are. Far above all promises on earth, these promises come from the city of our citizenship, where our name is written as certified residents in letters leaded in granite and sealed and stamped in Christ’s blood. We cling to the promises while we look forward to this promise from Paul in Philippians 3:20, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” The next verse assures us of our body being delivered from the current vileness which surrounds us.
It’s time for all of the Lord’s people to sit down and methodically revisit the sure and precious promises of our God. I close with a grand promise recorded by Peter: 2 Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly
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