“Spiritual Depression” By Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Summaries to Encourage, Edify, and Bless
Chapter 7 Fear of the Future
2 Timothy 1:7
Not only are there countless ways that spiritual depression can manifest in a believer’s life, but the Devil is relentless in his pursuit of our destruction. One of his chief means of discrediting Christianity is through spiritual depression. If he cannot get us to look backwards in despair, he may turn our eyes to the future in fear. Paul wrote to Timothy in this verse in order to deal with fear of the future.
One of the primary causes of future anxiety is one’s temperament and regeneration does not change temperament. Thankfully, God created and uses all types of temperaments.
One temperament focuses on the challenge of being Christian and ultimately fear failure. Another temperament has a fear of what they might have to suffer, even becoming paralyzed by these fears.
In this addressing of the future, a fine line exists between proper and improper forethought. Scripture frequently warns against worrying for the future. It is right to think about the future but wrong to be controlled by it.
In this verse, Paul gives Timothy both a reprimand and a reminder. Timothy faced his future as if he were still only an ordinary person. We, with Timothy, must have an entirely different outlook on life and future by realizing what matters most. What matters is not what is true of us, but what is true of Him. We must look at His power rather than our weakness. We must be controlled by the Holy Spirit rather than our temperament. It is God’s power that works in us.
This power includes the power to endure. Here Paul encourages Timothy that God will give Him the Power to endure. After that Paul mentions love. This awakens those caught up in spiritual depression as they are absorbed in self. They must look outside themselves. Paul urged Timothy to think of Christ’s love and then think of love for the brothers.
The final antidote here to fear is a sound mind. God will give us the words to speak in the heat of the battle. We prepare our minds before the heat comes.
Contemporary man and woman seek mastery over their lives. We daily seek to control our present moments and ultimately our futures through a variety of means. Our inability to even manage our present often magnifies the recognition that our future is further out of our reach. Fear seems to naturally flow from this recognition.
In stark contrast, God calls us to overcome fear of the future. We are to look at Him as master of our future and find peace in that. MLJ points to Paul’s letter to Timothy as God’s reminder to look outside ourselves, particularly in God for hope in the future rather than fear.
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