I have been in the process of highlighting a few key thoughts from the book Spiritual Depression, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. In this blog we will probe some key ideas from chapters ten and eleven on faith. In both of the chapter Lloyd-Jones drew his text from times when the disciples were in a boat and were very afraid because of a storm and the waves. The first text is from Luke 8:22-25.
Now it came about on one of those days, that He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. 24 And they came to Him and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”
The title of this chapter is, Where Is Your Faith. And it is the very words that Jesus’ used to rebuke His disciples. Their lack of faith was demonstrated in their fear of the circumstances. As Lloyd-Jones pointed out, since Jesus was with them in the boat, they should have been content and confident regardless of the circumstances—the waves. “The Christian is never meant to be carried away by his feelings, whatever they are—never. That is always wrong in a Christian.”
I think the idea that we should grasp here is that as a Christian we ought to always be aware that Jesus is with us, ready to help us. We should never let the circumstances around us get to us. When we are faced with fears as the disciples were, we should take it up immediately with God in prayer, and draw on the word of God. That is how we respond in faith.
The text of chapter eleven is from Matthew 14:22-33.
And immediately He made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
The message here is similar to that in the previous chapter. In both cases the problem is a lack of faith. In this story the lack of faith (of Peter) was created by looking at the waves—the circumstances, instead of Jesus. A Christian should keep his eyes on Jesus always. Lloyd-Jones said, we produce our own doubts when we look at the waves—at our circumstances. “We lead ourselves into doubts by dabbling with certain things which should be avoided.”
Lloyd-Jones points out that the antidote to weak faith, and depression, is great faith. And we can build great faith by building our knowledge of bible doctrine, or to build our knowledge of Him.