Psalms 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
Many years ago, I used to coach our school’s football team. The first year we took our first trip to play the defending champions. We had a good team that year. At half time we were beating them pretty good. But the second half was a completely different story. As a new coach I was not quite as equipped to put our team in a position to handle it. They not only wiped out the deficit, but they wiped us out. That was a really long ride home. Although we were a good team, they were a great team, we were just not quite there yet.
The next year, our team was even better than we were the year before. We had better talent and had gained experience from our first year in the league. Of course, the game we circled on our calendar was against those guys. We remembered the year before, the joy we felt when we were beating them in the first half, and the dejection we felt when they pounded us the second half. We were better than them this year and we were ready to show them. And it was a home game to boot.
Our guys were excited. We kicked off to them to start the game. They immediately went right down the field, methodically, play-by-play, easily scoring a touchdown. We were immediately behind, and those negative thoughts from the game the year before started to creep in. After they kicked off to us, I called time out. I huddled the guys together. It was time for a pep talk. I started raising my voice, reminding them how that all year long all they could talk about was how they were going to show that team just how much better they were. I ended it with, “Talk, talk, talk. That’s all I’m hearing. Now go out there and back it up.” The pep talk seemed to work: they went out there fired up and immediately scored a touchdown. By the time it was over we had put fifty points on those guys and run them off the field. And we did it again in the championship game.
The point is this: after that first touchdown, the guys were either going to check out mentally and end up losing again, or be fired up and go out or get the victory. But they needed a pep talk to get them focused again.
Sometimes in life we need that kind of talk. In Psalm 42 the Psalmist was having that kind of time. Apparently his soul was sagging as well, and his hope in God was sinking. He needed a pep talk. He needed someone to come to him and lovingly remind him that he had no reason to be down, to continue to trust in the Lord, that He would see him through.
The interesting thing to notice is the one who gave the pep talk. The Psalmist did. He gave himself a pep talk. He encouraged himself. He reminded himself that he had no reason to be cast down, to be defeated. He admonished himself to trust in God, and that at the end of his situation, he would be able to praise God for the help he would receive, for the encouragement God would give.
There is nothing wrong with receiving encouragement and a spiritual pep talk from a godly individual. I have on many occasions, and thank God for each time I have. However, there will be times in life when you don’t have someone to give you that encouragement. You need to give yourself that encouragement. The fuel we must have in order to be able to give ourselves that kind of encouraging word, that kind of spiritually refreshing reminder, comes as a result of a life of daily devotion with God, and time spent in His Word.
You’ve probably heard the old line, “It’s OK to talk to yourself as long as you don’t answer.” But it is not only OK to talk to yourself, sometimes it is vitally necessary. However, the validity of what we have to tell ourselves is dependent on where we get our words. A life spent in the Word of God provides us the ammunition we need to encourage ourselves in those difficult times in life, when we so desperately need it and there is no one else to give it.
Determine to not waste your vacation by returning stronger than ever.
Nothing can be more satisfying than seeing someone trust Christ as their personal Saviour and take steps towards spiritual growth!