Joy in the Fellowship of God

by Mike Ratliff

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. 9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped. (Psalm 63:1-11 ESV)

In yesterday’s post, “The Calves of Jeroboam,” I revealed my besetting sin of despondency, melancholia, and depression as I grew up which continued until God saved me in my mid thirties. Even after He saved me, I fell into despair for short periods of time as I struggled in the fires of sanctification. My depression was an expression of dissatisfaction with my circumstances. The root of bitterness was growing in me and resentment was continually present as I dealt with the ups and downs of life. These are symptoms of a heart in bondage to pride. After I was saved I heard a sermon once where the preacher stated, “Depression is nothing more than an internal temper tantrum.” That really got my attention. Over the first several months after God saved me, I was battling my tendency to express resentment when things were not going to suit me. The difference between then and how I was when I was lost was amazing. Before, I almost relished my right to be depressed or cast down. However, after God touched my heart, I knew it was wrong. After I heard that sermon, the Holy Spirit cemented that knowledge to my consciousness so that when I started going down the path of least resistance into resentment, anger, despondency, depression or melancholia I would realize that I was being self-absorbed and committing a great sin of idolatry of the heart. Continue reading