Defeating Spiritual Despair
Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.
Spiritual despair is a terrible thing. It can settle upon us like a dark cloud, obscuring our vision and leaving us feeling like a failure of a Christian. The accusations of the devil flood our conscience, and it feels like there is no way of escape. What should we do?
The great Martin Luther gives some advice in a letter to a young man who had become overwhelmed with similar feelings of despair. He counsels him:
“By all means flee solitude, for the devil watches and lies in wait for you most of all when you are alone….”
For us this may mean, we must call a friend, perhaps several friends, and ask for encouragement and prayer. But what Luther says next is most potent, for it draws its strength from the very heart of the gospel.
“[The] devil is conquered by mocking and despising…, not by resisting and arguing with him. . .
“When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus:
‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it?
Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means.
For I know One who suffered and made a satisfaction in my behalf.
His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Where he is, there I shall be also.’”
My friends, the gospel is totally counter intuitive. It is when we are least deserving that Jesus is most for us. And even when your faith fails, the faithfulness of God does not.
Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.
“The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.”
~ 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (ESV)