Have you ever felt upside down? Ever found yourself depressed? Discouraged? Apathetic? Have you ever felt like you were losing hope? It will be no surprise if you have been in such a place. And if you have, it means you’re a human.
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You are like the rest of us. You are like me. Life happens at a frenetic pace, and sometimes it can press in so fast that you’re not able to process and respond to it biblically. The result is that you will experience seasons of discouragement.
Discouragement is a reminder of your finiteness and fallenness. You were not built to last. And you are not built to sustain on your own all that life has for you. The accumulative effect of the day-to-day grind can wear on you.
In Psalm 23:3, David talks about his troubles with depression when he makes the statement “He restores my soul.” David needed soul restoration. He had, at some point in the past, experienced “soul trouble” and he wanted to let the world know how he rebounded from his problems.
How Does God Restore Souls?
David’s statement is encouraging but just to say that “God restored your soul” is incomplete. Without question, the Lord is a soul restorer, but you need more information than that. You need to know not only what God can do, but how does He do it. That is the question.
Fortunately, David’s parallelistic writing style gives you the answer. At times, David would write in parallelism, meaning he would make a statement and then explain the statement with his next thought. This concept is what he did in Psalm 23:3.
He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake!
How does God restore your soul? He does this by leading you in paths of righteousness.
- Are you discouraged?
- Are you a bit upside down right now?
- Are you depressed?
Let me suggest that you walk in “paths of righteousness,” which begs the question, what are these paths of righteousness? The paths David is talking about are the right way of thinking and living. If you begin walking down these paths, your soul will slowly and surely start to experience the restoration process.
Sample Paths of Righteousness
- Open your Bible and start reading. Typically, the Psalms are helpful here.
- Utter a few words to God. Pray. Just start talking to your Father.
- Go to your church meeting. Show up. Expect to engage God there.
- Tell your friend what you have been going through recently. Let them share your burden.
- Take care of your body. Watch what you eat, how much you sleep, and get proper exercise.
Probably some of the most difficult things to do when you’re depressed are the things I just mentioned. There is a spiritual warfare going on in your mind, and once you turn to God, you can expect challenges. The challenges are why you don’t want to do this alone.
If you know someone who is struggling today, what if you come alongside your friend? Find the discouraged person and lovingly and patiently help them down these paths of righteousness. There are times when it’s hard to do baby steps.
It takes a friend to get them up and walking again. It’s your great privilege to model the gospel to them. Jesus came to get us up off the mat and place us on paths of righteousness. You want to follow His example to the downcast.
Call to Action
- Are you discouraged? Pick two paths of righteousness that you can walk down today, and start down those paths.
- Do you know someone who is downcast? Will you come alongside them to help them down the restorative paths of righteousness?
Also published on Medium.