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December 10, 1998

God-Help

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Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. PSALM 43:5
Self-help is not total hogwash. Just partial. Popular psychology has become a national obsession since the 1960s and has gathered steam into the twenty- first century. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on books, tapes, and seminars to help our way out of obesity, depression, and family dysfunction. Like scores of generations before us, we are troubled and desperate people. What is unique to us, however, is our self-reliant attitude toward tackling the tough issues and pains in our lives.
Not all self-examination is a bad thing. God has given us the ability to step outside of ourselves and examine our attitudes and actions in the third person. In balance with the rest of life, this is a good and healthy practice. If it is done in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, it can be a revolutionary force in our lives. In Psalm 43, the psalmist performs some introspective surgery and refines his self-talk. Realizing that he is slipping into a state of despair and possibly even depression, he bolsters himself and points his weary disposition back to the source of its hope and strength—the Lord.
This type of prayer is a healthy and underutilized expression of our faith. God has given us these emotions, and we need to take them under the control of our renewed minds and God’s Word. Often, this requires some rigorous personal work and self-talk. Think of it as God-help versus self-help.
Where is your attitude today? What are your thoughts about where you are in life? Your work? Your family situation? Your colleagues? Your boss? Are you up or down? Take a quick inventory and work on your attitude in areas that need it. Begin to rewire your internal conversations with yourself and with the Lord, Who is your Savior and your God.

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