Confession time: I talk to myself. A lot. But hey, at least not out loud. Well, not always out loud.
But everybody talks to themselves, right? And, unless I’m very much mistaken, Selves talk back. And we listen.
Throughout the average day, people get a lot of listening done. I lot more than most of us think. And we don’t always hear things the way they were intended. Sometimes, the things we heard weren’t even spoken aloud.
It can be something simple, like having an acquaintance ask you if you had a nice day. What you hear is that someone cares.
Or maybe your boss isn’t overly thrilled with the last project you turned in. This one sounds like “You failed.”
There are a lot of voices out there and they have a lot to say. Knowing who’s doing the talking is crucial.
For years, I heard ‘You’re worthless’ from a lot of sources, most notably myself. And I believed it. What’s worse, I didn’t realize who was really telling me this.
I walked around (and still do sometimes) feeling ugly, stupid, pointless, etc. and I swallowed every one of those lies because I was accepting them under the guise of humility and Holy conviction. I was accepting them as truths.
I’ve finally figured out those are not names Jesus would call me.
There should, of course, be Holy Spirit conviction over sins. If I dishonor God, He’s gonna tell me so. If I stray, He’ll set me straight.
But I’ve been listening to the wrong voices because I didn’t know how to pick my Father’s voice out of a crowed.
So here are some pointers I’ve learned as I’ve sought to recognize His voice:
If I’m hearing that I’m not enough without Him, that’s the voice of truth.
If I’m hearing that I’m not enough without good looks, money, intelligence, a size 4 body, etc. that’s the voice of the enemy.
If I’m hearing that my behavior or thoughts are dishonoring to God and I need to knock it off, that’s the voice of truth.
If I’m hearing that God’s love for me is based on my performance and I should feel super guilty for letting Him down, that’s the voice of the enemy.
If I’m hearing that He’s in control and I need to trust Him, that’s the voice of truth.
If I’m hearing that I’m a failure who won’t ever amount to anything because I’ve made too many mistakes, that’s the voice of the enemy.
Basic rule of thumb, if what I’m hearing isn’t lining up with the Scriptures, than that’s the enemy talking, and I should ignore him.
More than that, I’m commanded to ignore him. 2 Cor. 10:5b says we should be “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,…”.
We shouldn’t let the enemy play mind games with us because he might introduce sinful thoughts to us, and when we entertain them, they become our sin. And strongholds and sinful habits all begin as thoughts.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Who are you listening to today?