Receive the Word (6)
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
AndYour salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits. Psalm 71.15
Antidote to spiritual depression
An old saw has it that “Impression without expression results in depression.” If you ever find yourself suffering from spiritual depression, where you just don’t feel like your walk with the Lord is going anywhere, you might want to take a look at the impressions which are guiding you each day, and the kinds of expressions those are yielding in your life.
Our focus in this series has been on how to increase the impressions God’s Word is making on our souls, redirecting our thinking, improving our affections, solidifying right values and priorities. We’ve seen that daily reading, prayerful meditation, diligent study, and seeking specific life applications are important disciplines for having the Word of God dwell in us richly. So we might want to make sure there is enough of each of these indispensable disciplines in our lives to allow the Word ample opportunity to make the transforming impressions we need on our souls.
As important as the impressions we receive, however, is the consistency with which we express what God is doing in our souls. Impression without expression won’t help us escape the spiritual doldrums that can keep us from soaring with Christ throughout the day. We need to make faith expression of what God is teaching us a part of our daily journey with the Lord.
Kinds of expression
Expression is an intentional act. We must resolve to do it, like the psalmist: “My mouth shall tell…” Expression is not something you simply wait to have happen. It’s something you do. Something you envision yourself doing, and that you plan for each day.
We’re familiar with the image of the anguished poet, sitting silently before his computer, waiting for expression to begin, or the frustrated artist, waiting before her canvas for some inspiration to paint.Quaint and peculiar, to be sure; but that’s not the way expression occurs in the life of an artist. Artists are forever making notes, trying out ideas, creating sketches, and so forth. They know that the more they force themselves to express what’s going on in their heart and mind, the greater is the likelihood that some worthwhile and perhaps lasting form of expression will come to light.
That’s what we need to do more of if we’re going to have the living Word of God live not only in us, but through us as well.
Expression can begin in your time of reading and study. Make some notes. Keep a journal. Pray your reading back to the Lord, together with what you think He’s calling you to do with that reading. Such forms of expression can be both clarifying and confirming. They help us in thinking through what we’re learning, and they enable us to make some convictions about the next steps we need to take.
Then, plan for opportunities to express what you’re learning throughout the day. Will you see some other believers today? Be ready to share a word of encouragement from the Scriptures, and to ask them to do the same for you. Will you have an opportunity to talk with an unbeliever today? How can you engage a conversation with him, focusing on his concerns and needs, that might lead to your being able to share something from God’s Word?
Moses prayed that God would help him to “number his days” – to make an advance accounting of how he would use his time – because this is the way of wisdom (Ps. 90.12). Thinking and planning like this can help wise expressions come to light in our lives as well.
Write it down
And don’t neglect the many opportunities available each day for expressing what God is teaching you through the written word. A brief email to some friends, a blog at a website, or a note of encouragement and appreciation to a loved one – all these can be useful ways of expressing what God is teaching you in His Word, and of ministering His Word to others.
The Word of God is living, active, and life-changing. That’s really good news. So let’s not keep it to ourselves! Ask God to show you ways, every day, that you can express what He’s teaching you from His Word, and you’ll find that spiritual depression is about the last thing you’ll have to worry about.
1. Why do you suppose Christians don’t talk to one another all that much about what they’re learning from the Word of God?
2. How can talking with other Christians about what you’re learning from Scripture help to prepare you for bearing witness to non-believers?
3. Suppose you had a plan to share something from Scripture with someone every day. Whose names would you include in that plan? How would you try to share with each one?
Next steps – Demonstration: How will you express what God is teaching you today? With whom will you share the Word? Make a plan, commit it to the Lord in prayer, work it through. This is the way to “number your days” every day of your life.
T. M. Moore
To learn more about understanding and using the Bible, enroll in the course, Introduction to Biblical Theology. It’s free and online, and you can study at your own pace or with friends. To learn more and to register, click here. This week’s study is Part 3 of a series on The Word of God, and is available as a free download by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.