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Radioactive - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2020 2:00 am

Radioactive - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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November 11, 2020 2:00 am

Do you struggle to make sense of the suffering you go through? That way of thinking can often lead to spiritual depression. In the message "Radioactive," Skip gives you some remedies for spiritual depression, sharing how you can live in the joy of Christ.

This teaching is from the series Playlist.

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Did you notice that the psalmist in these two psalms talks to himself?

Did you see that? Did you see how three times he goes, why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted with him? He's like, he's talking to himself. Hey, you in there, soul, you, I'm talking to you.

I'm preaching a sermon to you. He's talking to himself. And he says, hope in God. According to Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, that medical doctor who became a pastor, in his book, Spiritual Depression, writes, we must talk to ourselves instead of letting ourselves talk to us. Most of your unhappiness, he writes, in life is due to the fact that you're listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.

In scripture, we frequently find people who try to make sense of their difficult circumstances only to find themselves in dark places. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares several remedies to help you face depression and live fully in the joy and hope of Jesus. But first, we want to share about where you can hear even more biblically solid teachings from Skip. Well, I want you to know that because of support from listeners like you, our media ministry is expanding. Our weekly half-hour TV program is continuing to grow. In addition to our weekend broadcast on the worldwide Hillsong Channel, we are now being seen each week on the Trinity Broadcast Network.

Thank you for your donations that make this expansion even possible. It's a joy to see the teaching of God's Word reach even more people. Here are the viewing details for Hillsong and TBN. Watch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4.30 p.m. Mountain.

Or catch it on TBN on Sundays at 5.30 a.m. Eastern. Tune in to hear more impactful Bible teachings from Skip. Now, we're in Psalms 42 and 43 as we dive into the teaching with Skip Heitzig. Elijah the prophet, spiritual guy, when he ran from Queen Jezebel out in the desert, he said, it is enough, oh Lord, take my life. That's suicidal. Job, last time I checked, God said he was the most righteous person living on earth at the time. Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

You've got to feel pretty low to do that. Then there was Paul the apostle in the New Testament who said he was burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that he despaired even of life. All of them great spiritual people. Over the years, you've heard me quote, probably almost every week, one of my favorite quotable pastors, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Ever since I was a young believer, I just loved how he said words. It's like, wow, people don't talk like that.

He's so quotable. But then I discovered that Charles Haddon Spurgeon also suffered severe bouts of depression and he confessed as much to his own congregation, saying that I have been in depths of which I hope none of you ever go. And he also said to them, there are dungeons beneath the castles of despair. And yet, for some reason, some of us Christians feel that we need to add stigma to those people who are feeling low and down and depressed. And if they're not doing this, we say, hey, come on, how come you're not doing this? So those are flaws.

This stuff is real. Now, I'd like to have you look with me at these two Psalms and consider some reasons for it. Now, let me be quick to say that I am not a clinician and I'm going to confine my thoughts to the Psalm because I'm an expositor and also to this theme of spiritual depression. But there are several reasons, though there are many more, I'm just going to give you what I see in the Psalm. Reasons for spiritual depression. Reason number one, expectations. Expectations, unfulfilled expectations.

When you expect something to happen that doesn't happen, that's an unfulfilled expectation. Verse one, as the deer pants for the water broke, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God? My tears had been my food day and night while they continually say to me, where is your God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me.

For I used to go with the multitude. I went with them to the house of God, the voice of joy and praise with the multitude that kept the pilgrim feast. Whoever it was that wrote this Psalm, this person feels cut off from spiritual life, isolated in this incident. Whether it was the Levite that was off with David when they fled Jerusalem or it was somebody that wrote it years later, notice the expressions. Like a deer, thirsty, panting for water, wanting to find refreshment, but finding no relief whatsoever. The Bible says in Proverbs 13, that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Once again, think who is writing this Psalm.

The sons of Korah, their whole life, their whole purpose is involved in the public worship system of Israel. Whenever our purpose is challenged or our usefulness is challenged, we become susceptible to spiritual depression. This shows up when a person feels trapped in a marriage, when a person feels trapped in a job, when a person is forced into retirement because of a medical condition, they start asking questions, what use am I?

What is my purpose? We all have expectations and some of them are realistic. When we do this, we expect certain things to happen, but some of our expectations in life are just flat unrealistic.

The more unrealistic your expectations are, the more severe the depression will be. I found an interesting article I wanted to share with you. It caught my attention. It was a Vanderbilt University study.

Listen to how it opens. Pentecostals are three times more likely than any other Christian group to experience major depression. That caught my attention.

I just thought, that's an odd thing to say. How do you study that? Well, Vanderbilt University studied 2,850 North Carolinians over a six-month period and their findings were that the group experienced serious depression at a rate of 1.7%, whereas the rate among Pentecostals was 5.4%. The question becomes, why is that? And they couldn't be definitive, but they said they believe that it's because, in part, people who were already depressed were attracted to Pentecostalism's promise of physical and spiritual healing.

If you come to Jesus, all your problems will be solved and you'll be wealthy and you'll be healthy. And when you live with those expectations and they don't happen, then you come crashing down. So, number one, expectation is one of the reasons.

Here's the second reason. Criticism. Criticism. Verse three, he's saying, they say, where is your God? Verse 10, as with the breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me while they say to me all day long, where is your God? Psalm 43, verse two, for you are the God of my strength.

Why do you cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of my enemy? Whoever this author is, he's surrounded by critics, surrounded by those who are saying these things to him, taunting him. And whenever you suffer for doing good, for doing right, working for God, doing the right thing, but you're mocked because of it, produces anxiety. Proverbs 12, 25 tells us, anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression. Think of the Christian student in a secular university who all day long, been there, done that, who all day long here, where is your God? Or the Christian worker amongst unbelievers who say, where is your God? Or a believing person with a family filled with unbelievers who are saying, where is your God? That kind of anxiety can build up, and as the scripture says, cause depression. I know, I know, we know that Jesus said that we should preach the gospel to every creature.

We're to be about that mandate. But when we preach the gospel to every creature, every creature doesn't like the gospel of Jesus Christ, and you get caught in the crossfire of it. And that's where the pain comes in. Sometimes you sort of feel like Linus, right? Remember Linus in the Charlie Brown cartoon Peanuts?

One day he said to Charlie Brown, I love mankind, it's just the people I can't stand. And when you get the critical eye and the critical comments from people, you feel like that. So expectation, unrealistic, criticism. Here's the third, accumulation. Accumulation. It's one struggle after another struggle.

It's the cumulative effect of many trials that just feel like they pile up. Verse seven, deep calls unto deep at the noise of your waterfalls, all your waves and billows have gone over me. Now the metaphor is in the ocean, and I don't know how much time you've spent in the ocean, but I was surfing one time in Newport Beach at the tail end of a storm.

I shouldn't have gone out. I almost drowned that day, seriously. I almost died because I got caught in just one wave crashing after another, after another.

I couldn't get out. And this psalmist feels like it's just like one trial, one event after another, it doesn't end. It all piles up.

Accumulation. Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 11 writes of his own experience. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep. I have known hunger and thirst, and I've often gone without food. I have been cold.

I've been naked. And besides everything else, I face the daily pressure of my concern for all the churches. It's that daily pressure that adds up, that feels like waves crashing down. A few years ago, there was a book put out that I just found interesting and helpful, to be honest. It was called The Executive Stress Manual.

It was two authors who wrote about stress, and they looked at the experiences that people have in life, and they tried to determine why is it that some people experience nervous breakdowns and deep depression. And so they assigned numbers, what they call life change units, to events that happen in life, life change units. According to their findings, if a person has between two and three hundred of these life change units in a year period, they're set up for a nervous breakdown or depression, deep, deep depression.

So here's some of the numbers. The death of a spouse will yield one hundred life change units. A divorce will yield seventy-three life change units. Marital separation from your mate, sixty-five life change units.

Detention in jail or an institution, sixty-three life change units. Death of a close family member, sixty-three. Fifty-three life change units. Death of a close family member, sixty-three.

Major personal injury or illness, fifty-three. Marriage, fifty life change units. See, stress is stress.

Whether it's good stress or bad stress, it still has its effect. Marriage, fifty life change units. Being fired, forty-seven life change units.

Interesting that that's only three less than marriage. Retirement from work, forty-five life change units. Pregnancy, forty. Vacation, thirteen.

Christmas, twelve life change units. So accumulation. Here's a fourth reason. Recollection. Remembering the past but doing it the wrong way.

The wrong use of your past. Verse four. When I remember these things, says this author, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude.

I went with them to the house of God with a voice of joy and praise with a multitude that kept the pilgrim feast. This author has memories of better days, what it used to be like. And if we think that it will always be this way because it has always been that way, you set yourself up for a crash. Life doesn't always stay the same. The past will either become a rudder to guide you or an anchor to hold you back. It's interesting to me that there's this huge market for nostalgia these days.

I think there always has been but it's big right now. And I'm even attracted to nostalgic things. We talk about the good old days. The good old days is in part a bad memory to be honest with you. Because I remember my parents speaking during the good old days about it not being so good during those days. But it's amazing what a lapse of time will do as we look backwards. And so whether it's in music or clothing, there's just this huge attraction toward the good old days. And the psalmist is looking back to I remember what Jerusalem smelled like and sounded like.

It's not that way now. Recollection. Fifth and final one, preoccupation. Preoccupation with yourself. When you are preoccupied with yourself, you are in the swirls of a depressive behavior pattern.

Now we're not going to do it but I've done it for you. I counted in these two Psalms 51 personal pronouns. Listen to this. The psalmist uses the word I 14 times, me 16 times, my 21 times. I know you might be thinking yeah but this is his personal experience. Of course he's going to talk about himself. However, at the same time, he mentions God 20 times. He mentions the Lord once.

21 times God, 51 times me. That's a preoccupation with self. It's out of balance because in part this is his prayer to the Lord. His plans aren't being fulfilled. His life is crashing down. His past has been changed. And though there are many reasons that lead to depression, one of them, one basic problem is self-centeredness.

So we've seen the reality. We've looked at some of the reasons as per these Psalms. I want to close with remedies. How do you mitigate against that kind of thinking or those kind of experiences and your reaction in your thinking to them? What are the remedies for it? Well there are lots of remedies by the way. Many of them are not good remedies. Some people will drink as a remedy or smoke something as a remedy or shoot something up as a remedy and it gets worse and worse and worse. Did you know that 35% of people who have been or are depressed say that they solve it by watching television? Oh goodness, that makes it worse.

What are the remedies? There's three of them. I'm going to sum it up in one word. Replace. Replace. Take something out and put something in to replace that with.

So here they are. Here's the three things. Replace your thoughts with his truth.

That's number one. Replace your thoughts with his truth. Second, replace yourself with your God. And number three, replace your past with your future.

All three are present here. Replace your thoughts with his truth. Did you notice that the Psalmist in these two Psalms talks to himself? Did you see that? Did you see how three times he goes, why are you cast down on my soul?

Why are you disquieted with me? It's like he's talking to himself. Hey you in there. So you, I'm talking to you. I'm preaching the sermon to you. He's talking to himself and he says, hope in God. According to Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, that medical doctor who became a pastor in his book, spiritual depression writes, we must talk to ourselves instead of letting ourselves talk to us. Most of your unhappiness, he writes in life is due to the fact that you're listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. The new Testament calls this taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

As soon as you wake up in the morning and you hear the chatter in your head, stop it. Replace your thoughts with his truth. This is what the Bible says about this is what the Bible says about that.

And that's the grid that you approach your life with. So replace your thoughts with his truth. Second, replace yourself with your God. I know it is human nature to be self-absorbed in suffering. It's the nature of suffering, but at some point you're going to need to bring God into the picture. That's what verse eight and nine are all about. The Lord will command his loving kindness in the daytime and in the night his song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I will say to my rock, why have you forgotten me? That's how he feels, but at least he's saying it to the Lord.

Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of my enemy? He's now focusing from inward to upward.

Remember what Corey 10 Boom, the survivor of the Nazi war camp said? She said, look around and be distressed. Look within and be depressed. Look to Jesus. Be at rest. Your outlook is determined by your up look and the Psalmist looks up.

Now others can help you do this. I love the story about Martin Luther for several weeks. He just sort of hung his head and moped around the house and looked really bummed out and said just just just negative things. So one day his wife Katie, she was quite a pistol. She wore all black. She dressed all in black.

Now back then it wasn't. You were black cause it's slimming. You were black cause you were going to a funeral. So she comes out in a black dress and Martin Luther says, Katie who died and she said, God is dead. And he said, what? Whatever do you mean? Why would you say that?

She goes, I've been looking at your life the last few weeks. It must only mean that you believe God is dead. By your attitude around the house, God is dead.

Well that shook him to the core. It is said that Martin Luther wrote a single Latin word vivit, which means he lives and placed it in his study. So every day he'd walk by it and be reminded of the truth. God lives. God lives and the need to bring God and replace God with myself. So replace your thoughts with his truth. Replace yourself with your God.

Third, replace your past with your future. Three times in these two Psalms the word hope appears. The word hope appears and the truth of hope appears in Psalm 43. Essentially the Psalmist is hoping God will defend him from his enemies. That's verse one and two. Hoping that God's truth and light will lead him. That's verse three. Hoping that God would restore that place of worship back in the temple.

That's verse four. It's all forgetting the past in Psalm 43 and looking ahead toward the future. Remember what Paul the apostle said, forgetting those things which are behind, looking forward to those things which are before.

One of the best things you could ever do is to go home and read Revelation 21 and 22. That's your future. Whatever has happened in your past, it is your past. Much of it cannot be changed.

Most all of it cannot be changed. But replace your past with your future. I want to quickly conclude by saying if you are experiencing what the ancients referred to as the dark night of the soul, as a Christian brother or sister, you are not a failure. You are a fellow member of the human race.

That's all it proves. You are not a failure. Many years ago there was a young Midwestern lawyer who was suffering deep depression.

It was so bad that his friends thought we got to keep any razors or sharp objects from him and they took him out of the house. He couldn't see any purpose for going on. He couldn't see any purpose for his future and he wrote these words, I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode that I shall not.

But somehow from somewhere that young lawyer by the name of Abraham Lincoln got enough courage and encouragement to press ahead. It is my sincere prayer that just being in God's, among God's people today, in God's house and hearing a message like this would give some of you the encouragement needed. That concludes Skip Heisig's message from the series playlist. Now we want to share about an exciting resource that lays a solid foundation of God's truth in your life.

Fake news, it used to be restricted to tabloids at the grocery store checkout and it used to be so obvious, chimpanzee head put on human body. But now there are entire websites dedicated to helping us figure out if a story, speech or statistic is true or not. Here's Skip Heisig with an important question. Is there such a thing as absolute truth? I want you to just think about that question. We want to help you get started in answering that question with two brand new booklets by Pastor Skip, Why Truth Matters and God and Suicide. You see, the Bible makes truth claims and some of those claims are, well, pretty absolute.

But how can you know it's really true? These resources will help you better understand the nature of truth so you can pursue God's truth in your life. And they're our way to thank you for your gift of $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach.

Get your copies when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. The Bible calls Jesus your Good Shepherd because he protects you, provides for you and leads you along his good path through Scripture. That's why we share these teachings to help you and other listeners learn to follow the voice of your Good Shepherd. And we invite you to help reach more people with these messages through your gift today. Give now when you call 800-922-1888. Again, that's 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. Connectwithskip.com slash donate.

Thank you. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig explores how you can experience God's unconditional love by committing your whole life to honoring him. When God is in your midst, if the Lord is real to you, you will engage him on some level of worship. Why is it that Christians think that enthusiasm for the most worthy thing in all of the universe must somehow be carefully contained? God is not too excited about secret admirers. He likes to be told that you love him. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-28 16:26:13 / 2024-01-28 16:35:32 / 9

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