Spiritual Depression – Labourers In The Vineyard – Matthew 20.1-16

As we’ve been working through Spiritual Depression by D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones we’ve established some base truths. Now then, where do we go from here? We have, in his own words, “…arrived at a turning point” and we “must take a step forward”.

When we come to believe in Jesus we are never promised a trouble-free life (1 John 3.13, for example). We should never fall into the trap of thinking that all will be plain sailing now we consider ourselves Christians (Luke 4.13). Lloyd-Jones uses Matthew 20.1-16 and the parable of the labourers in the vineyard to make a point with which we can move forward through times of spiritual difficulty.

First, it fixes our attention on the things to come, not on the transient troubles of the world (cf. Colossians 3.2-3):

“For the kingdom of heaven is like…”

(Matthew 20.1, NET)

Second, Lloyd-Jones writes that what we take from this parable is that in our Christian lives “…all is of grace from the very beginning to the very end”.

Some of the labourers started well but fell into trouble later on (Matthew 20.11). Having been invited into the fold early in the day they resented those that came later but received the same (v.12). They began in the grace of their master but fell into feelings and attitudes of entitlement and expected-ease.

For you and me and our propensity to struggle with spiritual depression the lesson is clear: “It is not enough to start correctly, we must continue in the right way”. Starting off the Christian life full of the joys of grace received is wonderful, but when troubles strike we often revert to factory settings and try to deal with problems ourselves and in the flesh. We consequently become, as Lloyd-Jones writes, miserable Christians, because we feel like we’re fighting alone.

The kingdom of heaven is all about grace. Grace to enter, grace to stay, and grace to grow. It’s when we try to take the reigns and do things our way that things start to go wrong. Let us commit today to “take a step forward” by grace and through faith, away from spiritual depression and away from self.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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