The following is excerpted from Paul David Tripp’s devotional book, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional.
Discouragement focuses more on the broken glories of creation than on the restoring glories of God’s character, presence, and promises.
What captures your mind controls your thoughts and dominates the desires of your heart. Outside of intentional moments of public or private worship, what occupies your private meditation? That which dominates your meditation shapes the way you view yourself, life, the choices you make, and the actions you take. Is your meditation kidnapped by:
- the disloyalty of that good friend?
- the sorry state of your finances?
- disappointment with your church?
- the dysfunction of your extended family?
- problems in your marriage?
- the daily struggles of parenting?
- your frenetic and demanding schedule?
- physical sickness?
- the daily hardships of life in this fallen world?
Now, you may be thinking: “Paul, what do I do with this stuff? How am I supposed to respond?” Well, one of the themes of this devotional is that biblical faith— that is, true faith in the existence, presence, promises, and provisions of God— never requires you to deny reality in any way. It is not biblical faith to try to convince yourself that things are better than they actually are. It is not biblical faith to work to make yourself feel good about what is not good. Biblical faith looks reality in the face and does not flinch. On the other hand, there is a crucial difference between facing hard realities and allowing those realities to dominate the meditation of your heart (see God’s counsel to Joshua, Josh. 1: 1– 9). Here’s what biblical faith does: it examines reality, but it makes the Lord its meditation. It is only when you look at life through the window of the glory of the One who has been the source of your meditation that you see reality accurately. The more you meditate on your problems, the bigger and more insurmountable they seem to be. Meditating on God in the midst of your trouble reminds you once again that the God to whom grace has connected you is magnificent in his grandeur and glory. He is infinitely greater than any problem you could ever experience. Then your responses are shaped by his glory and not by the seeming size of your problems.
For further study and encouragement: Psalm 143
Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Kindle Locations 6359-6363). Crossway. Kindle Edition.