Souls are vulnerable things. They need safeguards. It was when Paul was in prison that this idea came to him. He had just been writing to the Philippians about the benefits that accrued because of his own sufferings and the possible death he might die. He told them of Epaphroditus’ illness and anxiety, and finished with “In conclusion, my brothers, delight yourselves in the Lord!…You will find it a great safeguard to your souls” (Phil 3:1 JBP).
It would be very easy to allow depression and anxiety to overcome us when we look at the dismal circumstances in which we sometimes find ourselves. Who had better reason than Paul for depression? (“Oh well, but he was Saint Paul!” we counter.) He had learned by practice how to apply the soul’s safeguard, which is not mere enjoyment. It is delight. This is a command and therefore an act of will, and it is done in the Lord. No circumstance is so dismal as to prevent obedience to the command. No trouble can blast that safeguard. Do it. Do it by faith. Delight yourself in the Lord. Maybe you will have to get out of bed, get up from your chair, go outdoors and walk, sing a song out loud, bake a pie for somebody, or mow the lawn as an offering of praise. You can do something which will help you to obey that command. It is amazing how strongly what we do affects how we feel.