by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
For I am myself my own fever and pain
Let us ... consider what this man discovered about himself in detail. [Psalm 73:21–2]. The first thing ... was that he had very largely been producing his own troubles and his own unhappiness ... his trouble was not really the ungodly at all; it was himself. He found that he had ... ‘worked himself up’ into this condition ... What he is saying [in v. 21] is that he has done something to himself. He is saying, ‘I have soured my heart... I was preparing for myself a piercing pain’. He had been doing it himself. He had been stimulating his own heart, he had been exacerbating his own trouble, he had been souring his own feelings. He himself had really been producing his own troubles and giving rise to this piercing pain which he had been enduring until he went into the sanctuary of God.
This is clearly a very important and vital principle. The fact is ... that we tend to produce and exacerbate our own troubles. We, of course, tend to say... that it is that thing outside us that produced all the trouble. But it is not that thing at all; it is ourselves ... [what matters is] you and I and the way we face it, the way we react, our behaviour with respect to it.... You may see two persons living exactly the same sort of life, facing precisely the same conditions. And yet they are very different. One is bitter and sour and grumbling and complaining; the other is calm and quiet, happy and composed. Where is the difference? It is not in the conditions; it is not in what is happening to them. It is something in them; the difference is in the two persons themselves ...
Two men looked out from prison bars. The one saw mud, the other stars.
One, you see, looked down; the other looked up. It is not life, it is not the circumstances, it is not the ungodly ... it is us.
Faith on Trial, pp. 76–7
“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”
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