Depression: Tough Enough To Make Grown Men Cry

Depression: Tough Enough To Make Grown Men Cry
I know a man whom we’ll call Mike, a 48 year-old owner of a small, custom cabinet-making shop. Mike has struggled most of his life with interpersonal relationships, has two failed marriages and no close male friends.
He came to faith as a child when he ‘walked the aisle’ in his grandfather’s church and has secretly dreamed of being a pastor.
However, his angry demeanour makes Mike’s church wary of entrusting him with ministry, much less leadership positions. Over the years he has changed churches several times and even stopped attending for extended periods of time. He complains about being raised in a loveless home with a sometimes brutal father. He distrusts women and, though lonely most of the time, manages to alienate the women who would be attracted to him. His angry, accusatory side emerges as soon as they become semi-serious about him.
He complains about how disappointed he is with his life and often expresses his desire that the Lord would “take me home now.”
admitting  depression
His business is often in financial trouble and he has difficulty focusing on his work. Because of his lonely life, he is often angry at God, accusing Him of not keeping His promises. When I suggested that he might be struggling with a life-long clinical depression and that he might find our counselling times together to be more effective if he took an antidepressant, he angrily protested, “I’m not depressed. I just want to die. Besides, Christians don’t take antidepressants.”  
For many years Mike drank heavily, finding companionship in bars. Then, at the age of 40, he decided he was in danger of alcoholism and quit drinking cold turkey. He is now going to an AA group but says, “I’m not an alcoholic. I just like the way those people think.”
the Trail of depression
Mike’s story is not unusual for Christian men with long-standing depression.  Although there are various types of depression with differing details, the general pattern frequently presents: anger, alcohol use, reckless life activities, sleep disorders, difficulty maintaining a marriage or friendships and a deep underlying feeling of failure and uselessness both to God and to mankind.
According to the most carefully conducted survey of American mental disorders, in any given one-year period, 9,7% of the adult population suffers from depressive illness, with women having a rate of 11,6% and men 7,7%. The youngest adult group, ages 16-29, have the highest rate of any age group (12,9%). Over a lifetime, 24,9% of women and 17,5% of men will experience a significant episode of depression. Women are far more likely than men to acknowledge depression, to seek treatment and to attempt suicide, though men are four times more likely to succeed in killing themselves. Christians are no different from unbelievers in either the frequency of depression or their response to it, except that suicide is less likely because of a fear of jeopardising their eternal life in Heaven.
To effectively treat depression we must tackle it on every level, physiologically as well as spiritually. You can overcome depression in Christ – He promises you mental health in 2 Timothy 6:7 – but we must address depression comprehensively.
A healthy lifestyle and exercise is critical to defeating depression. Nutritious foods, vitamins and supplements go a long way in improving your state of well-being.  St John’s Wort, has long been regarded as a natural herbal treatment for depression. In some countries, such as Germany, it is commonly prescribed for mild depression, especially in children and adolescents, and where cost is a concern. Standardised extracts are generally available over the counter. However, in some countries (such as Ireland) a prescription is required. Extracts are usually in tablet or capsule form, and also in teabags and tinctures.
This article deals signficantly with the mind and why we must renew our minds and take control of our thought life – the Bible says “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…” so we must confess God’s Word over our circumstances.
To be fully delivered from a spirit of depression, you need to commit your life to Christ and trust in Him to heal you.
Confronting depression
How is a Christian man to think about his depression, down in his heart of hearts, as he outwardly denies having it? Can he overcome it by will power? By prayer? By counselling? By medication?
As I struggled with my own depression for about four years, from ages 18-21, I didn’t even know that I was depressed. When I came to faith in Christ at age 21, most of the depression left me within weeks. I realised I had been depressed and that there is healing power in the Kingdom of God. But I couldn’t grasp how to minister this discovery to other depressed people, either believers or unbelievers.
I went on through a masters and a doctors degree in psychology and counselling, but still, like all mental health professionals, was profoundly affected and hurt when a patient took his or her life. When teaching at a university, I began to seek a Scriptural understanding of the human personality and its defects. I saw then that everywhere the Bible considers us to have three constantly interacting aspects – body, soul (mind, will, emotions) and spirit. It occurred to me that when something is wrong with us in any one of these areas of life, the other two aspects are also affected. We must consider the consequences of our genetics and body chemistry, our life experiences and our spiritual condition in order to understand ourselves and to work out a response to our defectiveness. In other words, we need a broader understanding of sanctification than we, as Christians, usually have.
Using spiritual warfare to fight your depression
By allowing room in my thinking for medications to confront the biochemical aspect of depression, for counselling with regard to our life experiences, and for a primary focus on our spiritual lives, I began applying this broader approach with both individuals and groups of men and women with depression. I found that about 70% of seriously depressed people achieve some relief from the extremely painful despair by taking antidepressants – deriving just enough relief to make it easier to examine the extremely pessimistic mind-set of depression. For those non-responsive to antidepressants, there are certain life-style changes that can be made to also influence the ‘body’ aspect of depression. But I discovered that the key to significant and lasting victory over depression is spiritual warfare.
stand on the word and seek support FROM OTHERS
My experience taught me that people with depression typically find their minds ruminating on an almost identical theme in the middle of the night when they are plagued by the sleeplessness of depression. It goes something like this: “Everything you try to do ends up in failure. You can’t do anything right. No one likes you, no one wants to be with you, and you are inadequate at nearly everything you set your hand to do. When you pray it seems your prayers bounce off the ceiling, and when you try to read the Bible, your mind quickly wanders. Remember the  Apostle Paul’s words, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms” Eph 6:12. This mindset is the key to winning the battle. Fellowship with the Holy Spirit is also vital to living in victory over your struggles every day.
Satan is devoted to killing, either spiritually or physically, the people for whom Christ died. He is a liar and a thief, but he can be resisted. Go to God’s Word for your encouragement, raise up your shield of faith, confess the Scriptures over your life, renew your mind in Christ and walk with a Christian brother who will pray for you regularly and provide a good laugh.
Remember that you are not alone. There’s a bias that says women get depressed more often than men, but it may just be that men don’t ask for help or realise what’s wrong.
Often with men, there’s more agitation than lethargy. You may have frenetic, restless energy that doesn’t fit with the typical picture of someone in bed with shades down and the sheets up over their head. But the good news is, you can get help, and you have the best Doctor around – after all He made you!
For more information on depression or for help, contact the  South African Depression and Anxiety Group on (011) 262-6396 or emergency 0800 567 567
what to do if your spouse is depressed
When one spouse is depressed, a marriage is depressed. This illness erodes emotional and sexual intimacy and suffuses a relationship with pessimism, resentment, anger and isolation. You may be overwhelmed by extra household chores that your partner is too lethargic to finish, resentful because your spouse won’t just snap out of it, or feel that you’re somehow to blame for the illness itself. You may feel alone yet unwilling to tell anyone there’s depression in your household, or you may simply wonder when the sparkle and joy seeped out of your relationship. The worst thing you can do if your husband is depressed  is nag him about it, or indulge his depression.
The best thing you can do is pray for him constantly, speak God’s promises over his life (obviously in your prayer closest) and deal with him in a loving, encouraging way. If your husband is saved, pray together and play praise and worship music in your house. Praising God always lifts our spirit. If he is unsaved, pray for him and love him unconditionally, trusting God to reach his heart. Rely on friends for support and try where possible to do fun things together.

I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel
A million years from now, the only thing that will matter is who is in Heaven and who is in hell. “We must all appear before the Judgement seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10
When you stand before the Judgement Throne of Almighty God, it will matter on that day whether you told a very lost and dying world about Jesus and whether you shared the most precious thing you have with everyone you could.
be bold for the lord
We must be bold for the Lord. Perhaps you think that there is nothing particularly important that you can do, at least nothing as important as those who have high profile ministries? I have found that numerous prominent ministers are convinced that the most important thing that anyone can do is personal, one-on-one evangelism.
American evangelist, D.L. Moody, preached to huge crowds in America and England. However, he did not consider his day to be complete unless he had engaged in one-on-one personal evangelism. He undertook never to go to bed without having witnessed to one person that day. There are numerous funny stories of D.L Moody wandering the streets late at night, in his dressing gown, looking for a stranger to witness to. On these occasions he had apparently been prepared for bed, only to remember that he had not yet completed his day’s duties by conducting personal, one-on-one evangelism.
personal evangelism
Tragically, the vast majority of churchgoers do not engage in any evangelism at all. Many Christians are absolutely terrified of witnessing, yet, when they are forced to try it, are amazed by how open and responsive so many people are to the Gospel of Christ.
I was brought up in a secular family; we never went to church or Sunday school.There was no prayer or Bible reading in our home, not even grace before meals.
When I was 17 years old I heard the Gospel for the first time  at a cinema, which had been hired out by a local church for an evangelistic rally. As the visiting speaker, Rev. Rex Matthie, described the sacrifices and sufferings of Christ he challenged us: “This is what Christ has done for you, what have you ever done for Him?”
giving back to god
His challenge pierced my heart. I had done absolutely nothing for Christ. I had never even thanked God for His creation, for my life or for my health. I realised that I was a self-centred, lost sinner – truly deserving the condemnation of Almighty God on the Day of Judgement. When the appeal was made at the end, I walked forward and publically committed my life to Christ.
Right from the beginning of my adventure of discipleship, I could not help but be involved in evangelism: door-to-door evangelism, tract distribution in the streets, ministering in old age homes, holiday missions, teaching in Sunday school, and evangelism at railway stations.
Coming from a non-Christian background, I knew that there were many hurting people out there who would respond to the Good News, if we would only take the time, and make the effort, to share it with them.
child-like faith
We can learn so much from how naturally children share the Gospel. When my oldest daughter, Andrea, was just five years old, we were in an aircraft flying to Europe. It was just after take off, when Andrea shouted loudly for the entire aircraft to hear: “We’re Christians!” I put down my book, turned to Andrea and said: “Yes, we are, but why do you bring that up right now?” Andrea answered: “The lady was asking if there are any Christians, we should let her know.” I thought for a moment and answered: “I think that must have been, ‘If there are any questions, let me know!’”
Just before this trip, my mother had taken Andrea shopping. She reported that when a magician called across the mall to Andrea: “Hey, little girl, come over here – we have magic for you!”, Andrea replied: “My Lord Jesus does miracles – and that’s better than your magic!” The magician stood there speechless, as did many of the shoppers passing by. “Out of mouths of babes…”
missionary or imposter?
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” You’re either a missionary or a mission field. You’re either gathering or scattering. There are so many hurting people who are looking for truth, meaning and purpose in life. One question that we must continually ask people is: “When you die, what do you think is on the other side?” The answers will reveal a lot about where that person is on their spiritual journey.
The one thing you can’t do in Heaven is talk with a lost person. Shouldn’t it be a priority of your life to reach out to all the lost people on earth while you can? We are commanded: “Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Tim 4:2
Pray for the people whom God will seat next to you on busses, trains and aeroplane flights. If God seats a believer next to you, encourage that person to be a bold man or woman of God. If He puts a non-believer next to you, then give that person the best news ever heard! “For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:12
The Value of a Soul
We need to realise something of the value of other people in the eyes of Almighty God. What is a soul worth?  We need to change our mindset from the dutiful “I have got to witness” to “I get to witness!” It isn’t a burden. It’s a privilege! It’s not that we’ve got to go to church, but that we get to go to church! By just changing a vowel, it goes from being a task to being an opportunity! We get to pray to the Almighty God of the universe! We get to read the Holy Word of God! We get to worship the King of kings! We get to give back some of what God has provided us with and invest it back into the work of His Kingdom. Jesus Christ commanded us to: “Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
The more we know of the Word of God, and the more we share in love, the more we will find people responding. You will be amazed at what you encounter when you step out in faith and begin conversations about eternity. If you have a theology that’s dwindled into a philosophy, in which there is no thrill of faith, no terror of doom and no concern for souls, then unbelief and worldliness have taken over.
an eternal thank you
We can never repay Jesus for what He did for us on the Cross, but what a fantastic ‘Thank You’ we can give Him each time we step out and share our faith with the lost!
When we don’t want to talk about our faith, it is usually because we are ashamed of what people might think of us.
“For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of Peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!… Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Rom 10:13-17.

The Blessing of Mentorship

The Blessing of Mentorship
Hindsight can be a good thing, particularly when it gives us clarity or direction on how to approach things in the future. But at times it can also be a little painful, especially when you look back at a situation and think, “If only I’d known back then what I know now.”
How can we know in advance the lessons that only hindsight seems to teach us? I actually believe we can gain the kind of knowledge that sets us up to win by accessing the wisdom of those who have walked the road before us. The Message version of the Bible tells us to: “Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honouring God” Jam 5:10 (The Message Bible). As a leader, do you have a positive mentor in your life, an experienced and trusted advisor? A mentor is different from a hero. Although we may admire a hero’s achievements, these will not necessarily help us get to where we want to go. Nor will the myriad of voices that vie for our attention such as the media, our hairdresser or our unchurched family. So what is it that makes the voice of a mentor stand out?
mentors in the bible
The experience of Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, gives us some valuable keys on mentors and having the kind of spirit that attracts the blessing of mentorship. In Exodus 18 we read that Moses was drowning in his role as the leader of the Israelites. Moses had a blind spot; he was trying to carry alone the leadership of millions of people and all their problems. It was only when wise counsel came from a seasoned advisor, Jethro, that Moses made the necessary adjustments to his leadership approach. What was it that qualified Jethro to speak into Moses’ life and situation?
Jethro cared about Moses’  well-being
“So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law… and they asked each other about their well-being.” Exod 18:7
A good mentor is someone who has the well-being of others at heart. Jethro was not motivated by his own success or promotion, but instead he was focused on helping Moses become a more effective leader in order to fulfil the call of God on his life. Make sure the voices you are listening to are committed to your well-being.
Jethro was a positive influence
“Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake…Then Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the Lord had done for Israel.” Exod 18:8, 9
Although Jethro recognised the challenges Moses was having in leading millions of people, he didn’t focus on the problem. Jethro was solution-orientated. There can be a thousand voices that can speak to the problem, but only a few that can help us find solutions. We need to listen to the voice of experience, but only when it points to answers that will move our life forward.
Jethro was direct
“So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?’” Exod 18:14
Jethro observed how Moses was trying to micro-manage the Israelites and confronted him with the truth. A true mentor won’t beat around the bush. They will speak directly and honestly into our lives – simply because they have our best interests at heart.
Jethro knew God
“Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods.” Exod 18:11. Another name for Jethro is Reuel, which means ‘friend of God’. This was true in more than just name; Jethro’s words and wisdom confirm that he had a personal revelation of God. We don’t need people who are just experts and professionals speaking into our lives; they need to be people who know God and can speak God’s Word into whatever season we’re in.
The years have shown me that mentorship is not something you have to demand; it often comes supernaturally. It’s amazing how God has brought people into my life at different seasons, and I believe it’s because I had an openness or receptivity to hearing it. We need to ask ourselves: ‘What is it about my life that attracts mentorship?’
Again, the story of Moses shows us that he was open to the voice of wisdom and he readily embraced wise counsel. We believe the following characteristics below attracted mentorship to his life.
1. Be teachable
“So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.’” Exod 18:17, 18
Instead of responding to Jethro’s advice with: “I’m Moses, didn’t you hear about the Red Sea parting”, Moses took his father-in-law’s wisdom on board. Leaders who are insecure or too sensitive will often struggle to receive advice or instruction. Some will even be offended by it as they see it as belittling to them. Leaders who take things too personally risk missing the blessing of mentorship.
2. Be a listener
“Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you…so Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he said.” Exod 18:19, 24. It’s one thing to listen but entirely different to heed the good advice we hear. To heed literally means to listen with a commitment to change. Moses not only listened to Jethro, but he applied his counsel to the situation and changed the way he managed those he was leading. It’s not about how many sermons we hear preached, or how many counselling sessions we go to – it’s what we do with what we hear that counts. To see the fruit of wisdom in our lives, we need to have the spirit of a listener.
3. Be a pray-er
“Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God.” Exod 18:19. Jethro’s advice pointed Moses to God, not away from Him. Similarly, a mentor should never replace God in our lives. Mentors should propel us toward a greater dependency on God, not man. Yes, we have to sow spiritual seed, and God uses other people to water that seed, but only God brings the increase into our life.
4. Be a reader
“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness…” Exod 18:21. Some people are readers of books but aren’t very good at ‘reading’ life, people or situations. Moses knew how to read people. When choosing leaders he didn’t look at their resumé, instead he looked at their heart, their motives, their character and integrity. He had to find the kind of people who had a heart that would help him do what God called him to do.
We, too, need to hone our skills at reading people, and resist the temptation of making surface judgements based on external appearances. Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgement” John 7:24. Using discernment and focusing on internal heart issues will cause us to listen to the right voices.
5. Be a releaser
“Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way to his own land.” Exod 18:27. Many people want to pull things in, including mentors, and hold on tight. But mentorship is not all about our needs and us. We need to release our mentors to live their own lives, just like Moses did Jethro. If we come to expect our mentors to be on hand whenever we need them, we can potentially risk cutting ourselves off from the spirit of mentorship. I believe the right spirit will attract the kind of people who care about you and your challenges, and point you to a greater dependency on God. My prayer is that you will grow in these five areas and discover the blessing of mentorship in your leadership role.

Christianity In Need Of Christ

Christianity In Need Of Christ
I was raised in a predominantly Christian society. My parents were longstanding members of the Netherdutch Reformed Church in our town and we were your typical church family. My father was a deacon and later an elder in the church.  My mother was involved in general church service work – collecting offerings for the church, managing the cutlery rentals and contributing to almost any event where food was involved! The children all attended Sunday school (referred to as Catechism), where we were taught everything that the Netherdutch Reformed Church believes in. Every Sunday the entire congregation recited our church’s Declaration of Faith as stated in the Catechism.
a traditional upbringing
Also, we were all baptised as babies, which to our church was a doctrinal substitute to the Jewish circumcision. Around the age of 16, all children were expected to have successfully completed the Sunday school courses and presumed to have a proper understanding of the Christian faith. This stage was marked by something of a graduation ceremony or a confirmation event.
This was the environment in which my understanding of being a Christian was formed. As I became older in this process and my thinking became progressively independent, I started counting myself extremely lucky to have been born and raised in this Christian culture. There were times when I actually felt sorry for people who were not as ‘lucky’ as I was to be born into Christianity. In fact, it all started seeming a bit unfair to me. Later I came to the conclusion that God must have substituted the chosen nation of Israel with the Reformed Church of today, or even with the white ‘boere’ nation of the day.
Back then, being of white skin colour almost guaranteed your classification as a Christian. By whatever means of reasoning, I believed I was a chosen child in a chosen church.
dead religion
Meanwhile on the other side of town there was the so-called Christian ‘sect’ of the Apostolic Faith Mission. They believed some strange doctrine that we considered to be evil, having the audacity to base it on Scripture.  My friends and I used to make fun of their practices, like the baptism of adults when they came to faith in Christ. There was no difference between their religion and that of Hindus or Muslims to me. They were all outside the teaching of our church, and therefore wrong. In my mind we were the ones going to Heaven and I still felt very sorry for the rest.
I fervently believed in my religion and counted myself righteous above anything that said otherwise. During my last school years and up to the age of 27, my life became one big disaster. Not only was I becoming a bad Christian, but by no standard of any religion was I being a good person. I crossed every boundary I thought ever existed and I wanted to commit suicide because of what I had become.
On that day on 14 April 2004, I made what was probably my first honest and broken- hearted approach to God in my entire life. I confessed my sin while demanding from the then unknown God that He intervene if He existed. He did and I was born-again.
true faith in a holy god
For the first time in my life I began a relationship with the living God, the Creator, the God of the Bible and the God of Israel. All the doctrine I had ever been taught fell off me like filthy rags. I knew and believed that God is real. I discovered the meaning of eternal peace.
Before 14 April 2004 I wanted to die, yet was filled with the fear of death. After that day, I had peace that stretched from the present and far beyond death into eternity. Death lost its power over me.
we all seek the truth
Opposite my townhouse lives a married Indian Hindu couple. This man seems like someone who has his life together, evident in the small things such as the way in which he cares for his vehicles. They are always spotlessly clean and taken care of in a manner that causes me shame.  Sometimes we meet outside and make small talk. I can honestly say that this man and his wife are the nicest people I have ever met. Seeing them causes an instant smile, which is always returned in the same manner.
My Indian Hindu neighbour got me thinking about the difference in our religious upbringing and I realised that it is not that much different at all. They were also born into a religious culture; they were also subjected to religious doctrine and up to this day probably believe that their religion must be true.  Their religion must also, in some sense, seem incomplete. They too must have a Voice telling them that all is not right, although they probably do not know who the Voice belongs to. 
every human needs god
I am now convinced that religions of all types are only that – religion. No man has more favour before God than another, simply because he was born into a specific religious culture. Every person on earth needs Christ. Those born into Christianity may know that a person needs to declare Christ as the Son of God, the Saviour of the sinner, but they might not yet have personally done this.
Everyone has a desire to worship God, of which our diverse religions are the evidence. Every person knows that he/she is sinning against God, of which an inherent sense of good and evil is evidence.
Our conscience ensures that we can never say we did not know. Every man desires freedom from sin and knows he needs a Saviour.  Christ must ring true to all people, otherwise God is not righteous. In the Church today we have lost our faith in Christ’s Gospel as a supernatural power to reconcile people with God. The Gospel has became our in-house property –  something to be discovered by those who somehow ended up with us by luck.
the christian way or christ’s way?
The truth, however, is completely upside down or perhaps the right side up. The Gospel is for the unsaved in all religions including the religious culture of Christianity. All people need Christ – not religion. All people should be brought to faith in Christ, not faith in Christianity. We should stop boasting in ourselves, but in Christ alone. In many ways Christianity has taken the place of Christ and, therefore, disappointed many people. The world ridicules the Church, because the Church is walking in the religious way, not in the Christ-like Way. 
We believe that all will be fine if people would just become like us and be one of us. We have lost the powerful simplicity of the preaching of the life transforming Gospel.
god’s salvation plan is found in jesus
All men have sinned against God. God hates sin and has to destroy it, but loves the world so much that He decided to offer His only Son for man’s sin. God’s Son became a man who walked on the earth – His name was Jesus and He was crucified, slain like a lamb for all man’s sin. God determined that every person who believes that Jesus has paid the price for the sin of man, that person’s sin will be forgiven and he will inherit  eternal life.
I now know that what I needed my entire life is the same thing that is needed by my Hindu friend and my childhood Apostolic Faith Mission peers. We all need Christ and we all, even the ones raised in Christian culture, need to be born- again of the Spirit. Getting ‘saved’ is not obedience to an instruction, but every man’s own personal encounter and process with the living God, and this only through faith in Christ Jesus, His Son.
removing the labels, unveiling the love
It’s time that we start removing labels from people, automatically approving or condemning according to culture or upbringing or current religious denomination. It is time that we start seeing with God’s eyes, and hearing His voice above all others.
Let us not think more of ourselves than we ought to, but approach God in humility and trust Him to continually renew us and free us from the bondage of religion, so that we may clearly see and follow the boundless plan of salvation for the world that He has called us to be a part of.