Monday, August 12, 2013

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Spiritual Depression

As is true of many different authors I've read, my co-contributor Lisa introduced me to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Several years ago she recommended Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, for which I am forever grateful. My husband had lost his job and returned to college full-time when I first opened the pages of  the book, a compilation of 21 sermons that were the nourishment my ailing soul needed.

At the time I'd never heard of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a Welsh Protestant minister who died in 1981 at the age of 81. He was a physician, having worked in the medical field for 6 years before surrendering to the call to ministry in 1927. In 1939, he began ministry with Westminster Chapel in London, where he remained until his retirement in 1968. Afterwards he devoted his time to editing his sermons, which have been published in various volumes. His sermons are also available on audio through the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust.

It was through reading Spiritual Depression that I first came to realize how much Christians need the Gospel every day.
A great gospel like this takes up the whole man, and if the whole man is not taken up, think again as to where you stand. 'You have obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine delivered unto you.' What a gospel! What a glorious heart entirely and it can lead to wholehearted obedience in the realm of the will. That is the gospel. Christ has died that we might be complete men, not merely that parts of us may be saved; not that we might be lop-sided Christians, but that there may be a balanced finality about us. (p. 60)
During a time in my life when my family was at the beginning of a long, hard journey that required more faith than I could muster, Lloyd-Jones' pull-no-punches preaching exhorted me to continue.
...remind yourself that we have been given the gift of God's Holy Spirit, and to realize that because of this our whole outlook upon life and the future must therefore be essentially different. 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..In other words, we have to learn to say, that what matters is any of these positions is not what is true of us but what is true of Him...So do not think of your own weakness; think of the power of the Spirit of God. It is when we begin to do that that we balance our doctrine and see the whole position clearly. (pg. 100 - 101)
The Lord used words written before I was born to charge me to spend this season of my life for His glory
As we face the modern world with all its trouble and turmoil and with all its difficulties and sadness, nothing is more important than that we who call ourselves Christian, and who claim the name of Christ, should be representing our faith in such a way before others, as to give them the impression that here is the solution, and here the answer. In a world where everything has gone sadly astray, we should be standing out as men and women apart, people characterized by a fundamental joy and certainty in spite of conditions, in spite of adversity. (p. 23)
What I find most amazing about the work of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (and why I highly recommend reading him) is the timelessness of his words. His sermons are proof that man faces the same struggles today as 50 years ago, and that the same God still reigns.


  1. I love that book. I read it a couple of times years ago and need to read it again.

  2. One of my favorite books. So much wisdom in it, especially the part about "preaching the truth to yourself."

  3. Life changing book. I highlighted almost every word:)