Movin On

A Christian moves. The moves lie in the “from faith to faith,” “from glory to glory,” “from strength to strength” categories and require “grace for grace.” The path of the just shines more and more unto the perfect day, and “in thy light we see (more) light.” Line upon line we learn; and precept upon precept.

Job, in chapter 29 was found in a lament. Apparently, he was an amazing man of patience and ministry having a sense of God moving with him at all times. When we read this chapter we are astounded at the level of maturity he had. Nevertheless, it was all ended now; a grief and grieving was all that remained. Job was about to experience an identity crisis though dying was still more on his preferred horizon.

It dawned on me while reading this portion how often this very thing occurs for us believers, in smaller increments. Yes, less dramatic changes happen many times in a life, but the same Job-like difficulties often accompany these. The sense of being “stuck” in the emotional stretch of capacity enlargement; indecisiveness creates a loss of desire. The challenge to proceed to another level overwhelms the psyche; new vocabulary, new patterns of thought, even new associates and friends loom ahead. These times tax our determination, test our convictions, and show us our very limits of coping. Our strength of values finds its end point. How much can we take without cracking up?

Let’s pause. New faith, new glory, new strength, and the grace of God wait, but depression fights to the forefront of this battle. What does this depression look like?

Here are some picture painting observations taken from many sources. First, “depressed people organize their thoughts in a manner that is not adjustive. Their particular way of viewing the world does not allow them to adjust in a reasonable manner. Second, the central thoughts of the depressed person center around the theme of loss. Loss of self confidence, self esteem, and loss of pleasure in ones surroundings manifest in their scheme. They lose joy. Third, there begins a loss of hope for the future, a loss of hope that circumstances will improve.”

Other traits of depression include a highly constricted time perspective; so occupied with the pain of the present, there is no focus on the future. Another is distorted recall. Depressed folks selectively recall material with negative content, ignore positive or neutral material. They assign negative global and personalized meanings to events.

“Negative people are that way because of wrong concepts, moods and mental blocks. If they continue in patterns of negativity, they will develop habits that become established response patterns through chemical impulses in the brain, which affects the physical body. Moody people are influenced by negative energy. Moods are usually triggered by adverse circumstances.” These are quotes from Dr. Carl Stevens.

He goes on to say, “A mental block is a negative image in the conscience that can distract us from the truth, because of the influence of the mood. Mental blocks produce a reaction, rebellion, stubbornness, and a heart that grows hard.”

Lastly, with depressed people: “everything is black or white, and no gray areas are allowed. After experiencing one unpleasant event they conclude that the same thing will happen again and again, they think they can tell what someone is thinking about them. Psalm 116:11. Their feeling based prediction of something bad coming becomes an established fact in their mind. They view fears, errors, or mistakes through a magnifying glass. John 21:3. Interpreting emotions as the truth, they live a life dominated by “shoulds” or “oughts.”

Job miraculously made it through his trial because of one thing: meekness. Meekness perceives God’s hand working in a plan that is moving a person forward. More importantly meekness discerns the absolute nature of God and His Word. How does this go? Frankly, for Job it all hinged on the Sovereign appearing of the Supreme God and the revelation of His absolute rule over all events. This had to happen in order to reinforce Job’s conviction, and therefore enable his resolve. This definitive illumination of truth, released Job from his stuckness which held its life in the depressed wishy-wash. Job went from strength to strength then faith to faith, then glory to glory. 

Finally, “Without objective truth our will is inhibited from making good decisions—-made from proper alignment of the emotions with the initiation of the word in our conscience and memory.” The blows of life inhibit our convictions, leaving us in a funk. God’s grace reaches down in our pit and pulls us out. His compassion fails not and is new every morning. The future grace and glory equates to a moment by moment walk with our Savior. It’s called “greater grace” and is found in James 4:6.  love ya

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