Many of you know that each year I devote time to the study of one man’s life and theology. This year I have decided to spend a year being taught by the man many affectionately call “The Doctor”, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. My first direct exposure to Lloyd-Jones was through his book Spiritual Depression. The logic was life changing, the seriousness contagious, and the solemn holiness that is attested to have permeated the atmosphere in which he preached could still be sensed. It is paragraphs like this that will leave me eternally thankful to God for His teaching:
How do we reconcile the two things? In this way. I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us! Do you realize what that means? I suggest that the main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self. Am I just trying to be deliberately paradoxical? Far from it. this is the very essence of wisdom in this matter. Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment was this [the man in Ps. 42]; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you’….The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.
The second book of Lloyd-Jones and one of the most practically life changing was Preaching and Preachers. After reading this book the driving emphasis behind my ministry, my schedule, use of time, and study habits radically changed and I am all the better for it. I believe these changes have brought about much fruit; I think that God has blessed my ministry in a way that was absent before.
Next year I hope to read through his set of expository sermons on the book of Romans (14 volumes), his large book, the Great Doctrines of the Bible, and Revival. In addition I plan to reread Spiritual Depression, Preaching and Preachers, and The Cross as well as skim back through Studies in the Sermon on the Mount and Life in Christ. As far as biographies I will reread Iain Murray’s wonderful two volume work, as well as reading his new work Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace. Unlike years past I plan on beginning each week by sharing with you some of the gems gleaned from my study the previous week. All these posts will be prefaced, “The Doctor:”.
I invite you join me by reading any of the titles listed above, especially Spiritual Depression and Preaching and Preachers. Also the Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recording Trust has free sermon audio, books, articles, and an mp3 podcast.