Discouragement's Antidote


katy.pumphrey.art
Do you have someone in your life that continually points out attributes about you that make you feel depressed? I can't stand to be around people like that and yet, on an almost daily basis, I allow myself to be exposed to lies whose source is difficult to turn off and tell to leave.

My soul. 

Nothing is more killing to a soul than the want of God's favour; nothing more reviving than the return of it. ~ Matthew Henry

The psalmist asked this question of himself:

How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?  Psalm 13:2

He was asking the Lord for answers for the burdens that he could not find on his own through the counsel of his soul. I can empathize. I am a very poor counselor for my own soul.

We may not understand something very important about Satan. He longs to steal, kill, and destroy us through the power of lies. He is relentless in his accusations before God about us (Revelation 12:10). He feeds those lies to us through the accusations of thoughts of discouragement and despair as he tempts us to hold up his lies higher than the promises of Scriptures when our way is dark. 

Satan doesn't fight fair. He is cruel, evil, and non-repentant in his lack of mercy. This is why the psalmist refused to fight his own battle with the enemy.

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
    fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
    and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
    against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
    “I am your salvation!”  Psalm 35:1-3

But I often try to fight on my own. And my thoughts and their discouragement soon have me in a downward mental spiral. I am realizing that I do have a choice when my soul is a barren place of hopelessness. I can combat the lies with the truth.

Desperate for relief from my anxious thoughts, I took my Bible one day and began reading Psalm 146 out loud as I paced our upstairs hallway. The fear and dread did not leave as my ears heard my mouth reading through Psalm 147, 148, and into Psalm 149. I told the Lord I was waiting for Him to please lift the burden, the heaviness that was crushing me. Somewhere in Psalm 150, the last psalm of the book, a current of hope started welling up within me. As I finished the last several verses exalting the Majestic God of heaven that is mine, the thunderous resounding of "I am your salvation" displaced the burden I had been carrying.

There is much in our world to make us fearful. But we have a choice! We truly can walk away from the lies that our fleshly, human souls tell us and take up the sword of the Spirit, the powerful Word of God, and let that living and active Word say to our souls:

I am your salvation!