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Of course you do. We all talk to ourselves: it’s called “thinking.”
But do you talk out loud when you talk to yourself?
An unhealthy habit for most of us is that our thoughts are only a one-way monologue. That is, we are listening to our thoughts but we are not talking back to them. As a result, everything negative we’ve heard from our enemies is bouncing around in our heads. The more we hear it, the more likely we are to believe it.
In Psalm 42, we hear from a psalmist who is longing to experience God’s presence but at the same time there’s a nagging thought implanted by skeptics: “Where is your God?” The psalmist reminisces how it used to be, which means there is a nagging doubt in his mind that it may never be like that again.
But finally, the psalmist does the mentally healthy thing: he talks back to his thoughts. He asks himself a question and then he gives a new response—a response that is hope-filled instead of doubt-plagued.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You. (Psalm 42:5-6)
When the nagging thought of “Where is your God?” comes up again just a couple of verses later, he doesn’t linger or brood over this doubt-inducing thought but immediately talks back to that negative voice with hope-filled words (vv. 10-11).
The devil has a singular agenda: to separate you from God. He does this through lies and doubts. Jesus told us the devil’s native language is lies: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
The Bible tells us that the devil can also put thoughts and desires in our hearts, but they are all lies (see John 13:2; Acts 5:3).
We cannot let these lies go unchallenged, so here’s our battle strategy:
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical weapons of flesh and blood, but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, inasmuch as we refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ—the Messiah, the Anointed One. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 AMP)
There are five questions we need to use to talk to ourselves about the thoughts we hear:
- Is this thought unbiblical? (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Does this thought rob God of the glory due His name (Psalm 29:1-11)?
- Does this thought stifle my love for God or others (Mark 12:28-31)?
- If I linger on this thought, does it rob me of peace (Isaiah 26:3-4)?
- Does this thought make me apathetic toward sin (Genesis 4:7)?
(Check out all of the above verses by clicking here.)
If we answer “yes” to any of these questions, we must capture that thought and put it to death, which requires the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Because of what Jesus has done for us on the Cross, every promise in God’s Word is “yes and amen” in Jesus, and therefore is an invincible weapon against lying thoughts (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Here’s how we use those promises:
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb AND by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:10-11)
Listen to your thoughts, but don’t listen too long before you start to challenge them with these five questions. Then demolish those lies—triumph over them by the blood of the Lamb and your spoken testimony. Speak the truth out loud for all to hear.
This is part 4 in our series on a Christian’s mental health. If you’ve missed any of the other messages I’ve shared, you can find them all by clicking here.
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