by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
[A cause of spiritual depression]—physical conditions. Is anyone surprised? Does someone hold the view that as long as you are a Christian, it does not matter what the condition of your body is? Well, you will soon be disillusioned if you believe that. Physical conditions play their part in all this...; there are certain physical ailments which tend to promote depression.
Thomas Carlyle, I suppose, is an outstanding illustration of this. Or take that great preacher who preached in London for nearly forty years in the last century—Charles Haddon Spurgeon—one of the truly great preachers of all time. That great man was subject to spiritual depression, and the main explanation in his case was undoubtedly the fact that he suffered from a gouty condition which finally killed him....
And there are many, I find, who come to talk to me about these matters, in whose case it seems quite clear to me that the cause of the trouble is mainly physical ... tiredness, overstrain, illness. You cannot isolate the spiritual from the physical for we are body, mind, and spirit. The greatest and the best Christians when they are physically weak are more prone to an attack of spiritual depression than at any other time and there are great illustrations of this in the Scriptures.
Let us give a word of warning at this point. We must not forget the existence of the devil nor allow him to trap us into regarding as spiritual that which is fundamentally physical. But we must be careful on all sides in drawing this distinction because if you give way to your physical condition, you become guilty in a spiritual sense. If you recognize, however, that the physical may be partly responsible for your spiritual condition, and make allowances for that, you will be better able to deal with the spiritual.
Spiritual Depression, pp. 18-19
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