THE EXAMPLE AND EXPERIENCE OF TWO GIANTS (Victory Hour 08/13/2020).
By- Pastor (Dr.) Duro Ojetayo.
In Psalms 42 and 43, we see a man in distress, a man in depression, a man who knew he ought to have joy but couldn’t seem to grasp it. He was undergoing severe separation and persecution, he was exceedingly sorrowful, according to him, his tears have been his food day and night because of the oppression of his enemy.
Then he resorted to soul therapy, in verse 5, he spoke to himself, “why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
Immediately after that, he spoke some religious words and relapsed again, saying, “My enemies reproach me…”
Then he talked to himself again,
In verse 11, Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance.”
Then he went into some religious prayer, “vindicate me and plead my cause against an ungodly nation,” made some positive confession, relapsed again,
In chapter 43:5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”
It was a roller coaster experience – a typical situation with many believers today making declarations and soul talks not rooted in the revealed truth.
Paul, the apostle, was in prison in Rome, a more critical situation. He was enduring some very dire circumstances, but it was during this imprisonment he wrote four epistles. We know them as the “prison epistles.”—Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon, that little letter. In fact, in his last epistle in prison to the Philippians, Paul did not write to answer any profound theological question, solve some knotty problem, or deal with specific sin. Instead, he wrote to express and encourage joy.
Joy in Living (Phil.1:1-30)
Joy in Serving (Phil 2:1-30)
Joy in Sharing (Phil 3:1-21)
Joy in Resting (Phil 4:1-23)
You would agree with me that someone in prison or under confinement encouraging those that are free to rejoice is not normal. There must be something unusual behind it.
THE ELEMENTS OF JOY
In Chapter 1 verses 3-26, Paul expressed the elements of his joy:
- The element of recollection – “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” Vs.3 It is what you are recollecting that is causing depression. In Chapter 4, Paul gave a list of what one should recollect maintaining his joy level.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phil.4:8(NKJV)
Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute (report); if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. Phil.4:8 (AMP)
Those who remember and consider the past disqualify themselves from seeing new things that God is set to do (Is.43:18-21).
Isaiah 43:18-21 (NKJV)
18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field will honor Me, The jackals and the ostriches, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen.
21 This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.
- The element of intercession – “Always in every prayer of mine making request for you with all joy. Vs. 4. In fact in vs 9-11, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
PowerPoint: Intercession is taking your eyes off your own matters while concentrating on what concerns somebody else. This has a way of healing you of unhealthy introspection and self-pity that leads to implosion.
- The element of participation/Fellowship – “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” Vs. 5
PowerPoint: The place of fellowship brings light, life, and love. The other side of the impersonal method of live streaming, texting, social media etc. is that it robs one of physical interaction, which is needed to foster a healthy relationship (Heb.10:25). You need the memory of healthy fellowship to survive in the time of crisis.
Statistics show that lonely people tend to die at a younger age. Why? The short answer is because they have weaker immune systems. Being around people exposes us to more potential threats, boosting our immunity and building on white blood cell count. If you spend a lot of time alone, your system will weaken. A new study shows that loneliness can increase your chance of death by 14%.” Chicago News
A man friendly to fellowship shall more be a friend, than a brother. (A man given to fellowship with thee, can be more of a friend, than even thy own brother.) Prov.18:24 (Wycliffe)
Therefore: Remove the spikes that could make people run away from you, e.g.
Spike of countenance:
A joyful heart makes a cheerful countenance, but sorrow of the heart crushes the spirit. Prov.15:13 (Berean Study Bible)
Point to ponder: You have to intentionally train yourself to shine your countenance all the time so that the day you do not look like you used to, people would easily know the difference.
“During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was king, I served him his wine, as I had done before. But this was the first time I had ever looked depressed. So the king said, “Why do you look so sad? You’re not sick. Something must be bothering you.” Even though I was frightened, I answered, “Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! I feel sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and its gates have been burned down.” The king asked, “What do you want me to do?” I prayed to the God who rules from heaven.” Neh.2:1-4 (CEV)
“Many of you have the joy so deep down in your heart that your face has not found out yet!” Anonymous
PowerPoint: Manage your mood so that you won’t send away those God has assigned to help you. Mood swing is a sign of a sick soul. The enemy would want to keep you isolated.
- The Element of Anticipation – “Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Vs.6
- Ponder this: People who think about the glorious future are rarely depressed about what has happened in the past or what is happening today.
The problem with the children of Israel was that they always think backward and complain about their present condition instead of thinking forward about the Promised Land except for Caleb and Joshua.
The beauty of life is that we do not have the same story. Children of the same father have a different story—that is why it is too low to compare, be anxious, murmur, give up or go back!
Don’t covet anybody else’s life, destiny, timing, and possessions. You would forever lack the grace to run it through.
There is no competition in the realm of the spirit. Run your own race with patience.
Never make your life susceptible to self-pity and the pity of others.
Tell yourself that what God is doing in your life is good. He started you and He would complete all that concerns you.
Never go into the presence of God parading in His face his goodness to another person to provoke Him to do yours. Approach Him as your Father
Ref: John 21:20-22 (AMPC)
20 But Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, following—the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper and had said, Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?
21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man?
22 Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!
Confess this: There is a good work God has started in me; He would complete it and I would see and enjoy it. Amen.
- The Element of Affection – “Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, in as much as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” Vs. 7-8
You do not long for things that would bring you sorrow but joy. Longing shows that things are in good shape and the relationship is healthy. Transgression is an enemy of affection. Hatred is an enemy of affection.
Affection does not come naturally for some people (most especially the choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic), it has to be observed, learned and intentionally practiced until it becomes almost natural.
PowerPoint: When we feed the image of God in us with the right diet, we become naturally affectionate for godly things, godly people, and godly purposes. You become what you feed on.
- The Element of Perspective – “But I want you, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. So that it becomes evident…that my chains are in Christ. Vs. 12
Your point of view is what determines whether you win or lose in the battle of life and the enemy knows that and uses it to his advantage. Your point of view is what determines your height in the kingdom. One of the blessings of the cross is that it changes our position, and with a change of position comes a change of perspective about everything. You have to view things from God’s perspective to live “the higher life.” You must intentionally align your perspective with what the word of God says.
Your victory rests in your perspective.
Your peace rests in your perspective.
Your joy rests in your perspective.
Your height rests in your perspective (1 Cor.2:16)
The same thing you are going through and you are depressed and suicidal, somebody else is going through the same (if not worse) situation and is waxing strong in the Lord. The difference is in perspective. Let your perspective be on the Lord’s side and you will never be depressed.
God would get glory out of this!
I shall come forth as pure as gold (Job 23:10).
This would work together for my good.
- The Element of Purpose – …I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this, I rejoice, yes I will rejoice. Vs.17b-18 (15-17)
Do not engage yourself in an unnecessary battle. Majority of the battles are for control.
Point to ponder: Those who take everything seriously could be easily depressed (what you see, hear, feel, smell, taste). You have to see everything, overlook a lot, and deal with little that has to do with your purpose. Sometimes you have to use Gallio’s approach in life (Acts 18:12-17).
“When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” And he drove them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.”
PowerPoint: Be purpose-driven in all you do.