Fighting Melancholy


What a dreary post that was yesterday, and it was my 300th! I should have been bragging about blogging and listing my favorite posts for everyone to read rather than sharing my OH LOOK, KITTENS!!


To help remedy my downward thinking I sat down to read a little book (only 79 pages) of John Piper’s yesterday afternoon. I decided to share a few precious nuggets of wisdom from Piper’s pen with the hope that it will serve a fellow sojourner.

Piper believes that a right (biblical), thorough understanding and application of the doctrine of justification is a major weapon with which we fight for joy. He has coined the term “gutsy guilt” to help describe it.

“Gutsy guilt means learning to live on the rock-solid truth of what happened for us when Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again from the dead. It means realizing that in this life we will always be sinful and imperfect. Therefore in ourselves we will always be guilty. This will prove emotionally devastating if we do not discover the reality of justification by faith, that is, the secret of gutsy guilt.”

I have to completely agree with him on this point. I have had to learn to review the gospel with myself on a daily basis, and in so doing, the doctrine of justification by faith alone has become precious to me. Unconfessed sin can definitely play a role in depression. These are some verses I review when I’m feeling the weight of my sin and the sorrow associated with it:

“For this is my [Jesus] blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

“For I [Paul] delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

“For as by the one man’s [Adam] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”(Romans 10:4).

“For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Corinthians 5:21).

“And be found in him [Jesus], not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness
from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9).

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law”(Romans 3:28).

“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5).

I hope those scriptures bring you as much joy as they do me! Reviewing what God says about my standing before Him (in Christ alone, mind you) is the only truth that helps to lift the weight of my sin and one truth that gives me joy. I cannot approach God pretending that I have not sinned. Going to God while pretending that everything is fine doesn’t help me at all. It does nothing to cure my sadness and depression. He cannot bless me with His grace and mercy if I don’t know how desperately I need them. Rather, I go as a humble and contrite sinner with a faith that says, “I know my Father delights to give grace and mercy to sinners, so I must go to Him. Oh, Father, I’ve done it again!” I can confess my sin with the assurance that I am forgiven and righteous in God’s sight. I guess that’s why Piper calls that kind of guilt a gutsy guilt. I’m always guilty and always clothed in the righteous of Christ. Piper writes, “O what a difference it makes to be assured, in the discouraging darkness of our own imperfection, that we have a perfect righteousness outside ourselves, namely Christ’s.”

I hope to share more from Piper’s book, When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God–and Joy, the rest of the week. This book is on sale right now from The Westminster Bookstore for just $5.99. Click on the cover to read more about this little gem of a book from John Piper.

10 Comments on “Fighting Melancholy

  1. Thanks for sharing this. You know I struggle along these same lines at times, too, and going back to the scripture is such a blessing!

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  2. What a wise thing to do!(And the kitties are darling! They look like they are kissing!): )

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  3. Happy Birthday! I felt the same way about the 30th.I’m glad this book helped you. I haven’t read it yet. I love Piper, but can’t keep up w/him. Every time I turn around, I discover another book from him that I haven’t read yet.Those kittens are adorable!

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  4. Wendy–you could definitely read this one. It is very short and to the point.

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  5. gutsy guilt…. I like it! A good term indeed and I wholeheartedly agree.Cute kittens!

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  6. That sounds like a great book!Your struggles will bring you closer to the Lord as you seek Him through it.Kim

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  7. Poohbah on being 30, girlie,,,,it’s only a number. It’s only a blip on the screen in God’s economy. And update your “about me”. Did you see the news over the weekend of the newest woman in the Guiness Book of World Records? (It was in Sat. Commercial Appeal.) She is graduating from college at 92!! She was speaking the history to those in the class learning. She and her husband farmed and raised children and she said the kids were her best crop πŸ™‚ Happy Birthday! Wait’ll 50 is staring you in the face,,,now that’s a nice round number.

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  8. I’ll not update my “about me” page until I am officially 30!! Six days and 9.5 hours left!!!

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  9. Great post Leslie, that book is going on my Amazon wishlist now! Thanks for the review.By the way, I totally missed my 100th post by about a month! πŸ™‚

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  10. Hey! That’s a John Piper book I haven’t read yet! Better tell my hubby…good Mother’s Day gift….hint hint, sweetie…..:-)Janet T.PS- Ah….a warm, purry kitty can cheer you up!

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