To finish reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ classic work, Spiritual Depression, I am trying to read a couple chapters a week in conjunction with my morning devotional time. In my reading this morning, he wrote this (I don’t agree with all of what he says, but the focus on making Christ the object of our affections when we are tempted to discouragement and despair is very helpful):
Better still, let me put it like this. If you want to be truly happy and blessed, if you would like to know true joy as a Christian, here is the prescription — ‘Blessed (truly happy) are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness’ — not after happiness. Do not go on seeking thrills; seek righteousness. Turn to yourself, I turn to your feelings and say: ‘I have no time to worry about feelings, I am interested in something else. I want to be happy but still more I want to be righteous, I want to be holy. I want to be like my Lord, I want to live in this world as He lived, I want to walk through it as He walked through it. You are in this world, says John in his First Epistle, even as He was. Set your whole aim upon righteousness and holiness and as certainly as you do so you will be blessed, you will be filled, you will get the happiness you long for. Seek for happiness and you will never find it, seek righteousness and you will discover you are happy it will be there without your knowing it, without your seeking it.
Finally, let me put it in this way: ‘Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but — this is the simple essence of it — go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has taken or broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother.
So if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him. If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find Him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything. So avoid the incitements and the temptations of Satan to give feelings this great prominence at the centre. Put at the centre the only One who has a right to be there, the Lord of Glory, Who so loved you that He went to the Cross and bore the punishment and the shame of your sins and died for you. Seek Him, seek His face, and all other things shall be added unto you.