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Regrets can be hard on us. Whether they are about our lives before our salvation or what happened yesterday. We think back about what could have been only if we had not messed up or if we did what we were suppose to. How are we to interact with these regrets?
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones helpfully lays out how we are to respond:
1. Dwelling on regrets is a waste of time. “Let us then lay this down as a principle. We must never for a second worry about anything that cannot be affected or changed by us. It is a waste of energy…You can sit down and be miserable and you can go round and round in circles of regret for the rest of your life but it will make no difference to what you have done.” (p. 82)
2. Failures in the past are not to make us depressed, but to spur us on to action. “if you really believe what you say about the past, if you really do bemoan the fact that you have wasted so much time in the past, the thing to do is to make up for it in the present. Is not that common sense?” (p. 83)
3. Turn away regret by focusing on who you are right now, at this moment. “What matters first of all if you are a Christian is not what you once were, but what you are…’I am what I am’—whatever the past may have been. It is what I am that matters. What am I? I am forgiven. I am reconciled to God by the Blood of His Son upon the Cross. I am a child of God. I am adopted into God’s family, and I am an heir with Christ, a joint-heir with Him. I am going to glory. That is what matters, not what I was, not what I have been.” (p. 85-86)
4. We are not to judge ourselves. “As Christians we must leave our judgement to Him [1 Cor. 4:1-4]. He is our Judge and you have no right to waste His time or your own time and energy in condemning yourself. Forget yourself, leave the judgement to Him; get on with the work.” (p. 87)
5. Forget yourself, know Him. “part of the trouble with these people is that they are still morbidly preoccupied with themselves, that they have not learned as Christians that they are to deny self and take up the Cross and follow Him and to leave themselves, past present and future in His hands….stop looking at yourself and begin to enjoy Him…If you were to feel more interest in Christ you would be less interested in yourself. Begin to look at Him, gaze upon Him with this open, unveiled face. And then go on to learn that in His Kingdom what matters is not the length of service but your attitude towards Him, your desire to please Him.” (p. 87-88)
6. Live knowing you are in the Kingdom of Grace. “Nothing Matters in the Kingdom but the grace of God…God has a different way of looking at things. He does not see as men do; He does not compute as they do; it is all grace from beginning to end…stop looking at what what you have not done and the years you have missed and realize that in His kingdom it is His grace alone that matters.” (p. 89)
To sum up, “Praise God for the fact that you are what you are, and that you are in the Kingdom.” (p. 90)
Quotes taken from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 82-90
“They seem to know enough about Christianity to spoil their enjoyment of the world, and yet they do not know enough to feel happy about themselves.”
and how one fixes the problem,
“If you are unhappy about yourself…come to Him, come to His Word, wait upon Him, plead with Him, hold on to Him…He is pledged to do it and He will do it, and you will no longer be an uncertain Christian seeing and not seeing. You will be able to say: ‘I see, I see in Him all I need and more, and I know that I belong to Him.'”
~Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, 40, 48.
God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
“We must think of suffering in a new way, we must face everything in a new way. And the way in which we face it all is by reminding ourselves that the Holy Spirit is in us. There is the future, there is the high calling, there is the persecution, there is the opposition, there is the enemy. I see it all. I must admit also that I am weak, that I lack the necessary powers and propensities. But instead of stopping there . . . I say, ‘But the Spirit of God is in me. God has given me his Holy Spirit.’ . . . What matters . . . is not what is true of us but what is true of Him.”
-D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (Grand Rapids, 1965), page 100.
HT: Ray Ortlund
It does not matter how long you have been in the Christian life, you are dependent upon Him for every step. Without Him we can do nothing. We can only conquer our doubts by looking steadily at Him and by not looking at them. The way to answer them is to look at Him. The more you know Him and His glory the more ridiculous they will become. So keep steadily looking at Him…
It is ‘the fight of faith’, you are walking on turbulent waves and the only way to keep walking is to keep looking at Him.
-D. Martyn Llyod-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 158-159
The Christian faith begins and ends with a knowledge of the Lord. It begins with a knowledge of the Lord—not a feeling, not an act of will, but a knowledge of this Blessed Person. There is no value in any feeling unless it is based upon this. Christianity is Christ, and Christian faith means believing certain things about Him and knowing Him, Knowing that He is the Lord of Glory come down amongst us, knowing something about the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth, knowing why He came, knowing what He did when He came, knowing something about His atoning work, knowing that He came, as He said Himself, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, knowing that He says: “They that are whole need not a physician but they that are sick’, knowing that ‘His own self bare our sins in His body on the tree, that we, being dead in sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed’.
I find almost invariably when people come to me in a state of spiritual depression, that they are depressed because they do not know these things as they should.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 155-156
This is a rare TV interview of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is great to see the man in person and hear a little about his calling.
The actual interview starts around the 1:50 mark.
And if you would like to watch a short documentary on his life that I posted a while back you can go here.
HT: Justin Taylor
“What God did when He sent His Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that He will do everything He has promised to do.”
A tender shoot has started
up from a root of grace,
as ancient seers imparted
from Jesse’s holy race;
It blooms without a blight,
blooms in the cold bleak winter
turning our darkness into light.
This shoot, Isaiah taught us,
from Jesse’s root should spring;
the Vrigin Mary brought us
the branch of which we sing:
our God of endless might
gave her this child to save us,
thus turning darkness into light.
~Otto Goldschmidt (1829-1907)
Now false teaching may be guilty of stating less than [the apostolic message], of leaving out certain things. This is something which misleads so many Christians today. If a man says something flagrantly wrong they can see at once that he is wrong, but they are not so quick to see that a teaching may be wrong because it is less than the apostolic message, because it does not say certain things.
-D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: It Causes and Cure, p. 183-184
Are we discerning on both ends? Sure there is the guy running around who says that Jesus was not divine and that we need to accept how each person choses to live their own “lifestyle”. Those teachers are not hard to spot by those who know their Bibles pretty well.
But then there are the slick guys that have a method of speaking which is extremely engaging. And they want to talk about a God of love, a Jesus that was divine, and how we need to be real about our faith. What is wrong with that? It looks and sounds so right and good.
But what is this love of God? Is it the love that pours from Himself onto undeserving people that have faith in the work of Jesus on the cross? Or is love really the demand that God accepts everybody regardless of what they do with Jesus?
Sure, Jesus is divine. But is Jesus the one who comes, pouring forth with love and grace upon the undeserving? Not accepting anything else but total trust and reliance upon Him? Then making disciples that follow His pattern no matter what the cost? Or his he either a faceless rule giver, or a image of one’s own political agenda? Does this Jesus want us to do all for the glory of the Father, as he did? Or is this Jesus a really spiritualized means of attaining our own selfish ends?
Is real faith living in light of the gospel of God and therefore charging the gates of sin because our justification is secure? Or is it a moral code which we have to abide by or else we fall from good standings from God? Is the law of God a blessing to us as we live every command of our Lord? Or is it our own determined law by which we just chose which things we want to abide by?
These are just a few examples of the questions to ask. We must be willing to ask the hard questions about what someone is teaching. Half of the needed medicine will not heal. So to, half of the truth will not heal. And not giving half of the needed medicine will do nothing to stop the disease. So to, only being told half the truth will not give you enough to be right with God and walk according to his statues.
Thus, we must being willing to ask, in a loving non-deriding way,” is this person giving me all that I need?” And if they are not, then we must discard them as unreliable teachers at best and heretical teachers at worst.