Have you ever been in a “funk”? Maybe you’ve been discouraged, depressed, stressed, or just in a bad mood. We’ve all probably experienced this at one time or another.
The people in the Bible were no different. The psalmist David admitted, “My spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart within me is distressed” (Psalm 143:4, NKJV). Throughout the 143rd Psalm, he wrote about his desire to rise out of a pit of despair.
Why was this so important to David, and why should it be so important to us? Well, you may have noticed that it seems more difficult to hear from God when you feel overwhelmed or distressed. It’s hard to be led by the Spirit when you’re dismayed.
That’s why our enemy, the devil, wants to keep us in a downcast state of mind. He works in our thought life to plant seeds of defeat, doubt, fear, and anxiety. And he hopes that we’ll dwell on those negative thoughts, because doing so will bring us to a dark place in our soul.
David explained, “For the enemy has pursued and persecuted my soul, he has crushed my life down to the ground; he has made me to dwell in dark places as those who have been long dead” (Psalm 143:3, AMPC).
You see, while God is trying to lift you higher, the devil is trying to pull you down. He wants you downtrodden and downcast, and he will pursue your soul, your thoughts and feelings, in order to do so. We must be aware that our soul is the part of us that the devil often attacks.
We are very familiar with what it takes to monitor our physical health. We check signs like blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and blood sugar. We track our daily activities such as the number of steps we take or the flights of stairs we climb. While those are important, unfortunately, many people often overlook the health of their souls.
We need to monitor our thoughts to stay in good spiritual health, and it helps tremendously to think on good things, not bad. David expounded, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I ponder the work of Your hands” (Psalm 143:5, AMPC). We need to spend time thinking about the greatness of God!
That also means we should be careful what we expose our souls to – the shows we watch, the posts we read, the people we talk with – because that can deflate our souls and cause us to miss God’s best for us. Clearing the junk out of our souls helps us be in better position to hear clearly from God and receive His divine direction.
David prayed, “Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You” (Psalm 143:8, NKJV).
In another place in Psalms, God is called “the One who lifts up my head” (3:3). This is one of God’s defining characteristics. He is the lifter of your head! He sends things and people into your life to encourage you, inspire you, and lift you up. So, if there are negative influences pulling you down, avoid them as much as is in your power. Know that God wants you to be encouraged, so give your attention to the One who lifts your head!