Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Talking back

Earlier today I posted some words of Martyn Lloyd-Jones regarding "talking to yourself". Lloyd-Jones referred to the idea of reminding ourselves of who God is when we our selves speak to us. That is, when your inner voice, your SELF, starts to speak and remind you of the sins you committed the day before, the things you are anxious about, the world-weariness that causes you to turn inward depressingly, and the many other things that your SELF tells you, you need to talk to yourself and remind yourself "[w]ho God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do." To do this requires some maturity and God will get us there. But we need to do something too. First we need to get in the habit of stopping ourselves when our SELF is speaking to us. This takes repetition and perseverance, but it will come as you continue to do it. Then, we need to have truth about God handy in order to talk to ourselves - correctly.  This is the "ooomph" I want to give to the Lloyd-Jones quote. We already have things to say, but how are they informed? The only place where we find truth about God is in His Word. So, that's where we need to go.

Let me demonstrate from my own life. Recently I have been feeling a little weary. Maybe I'm world-weary. Maybe now that my son is in remission and the most intense part of his treatment is over, I am experiencing emotions that were not released at the time. Maybe the epilepsy and developmental delay of my other son are taking a toll. Maybe it's hard for me to see people I care about making bad decisions. Maybe it's the chronic pain I suffer from. Whatever the reason, I've been feeling kinda... blah. And my SELF has been talking to me. Sometimes my SELF says, "why waste your time with people, focus on yourself" or "I want to be left alone" or even "maybe I'll die soon". So, while these moments come and go and are not ongoing, it still could develop into a more serious spiritual malaise if I were to give into it and neglect spiritual discipline. The good news is, by God's grace, I have not neglected my walk with Christ and I do talk back to my SELF. I remind myself of God's faithfulness, His nearness and that He is for me. His goodness and sovereignty over all things. I remind myself of His great love for me in sending His Son to rescue me out of the slavery of sin by His blood. I remind myself that He is my sufficiency and my treasure. Many other truths. I bring in passages like Romans 8, Ephesians 1, Colossians 3, Hebrews 12, John 10, etc. Then I am brought back to reality. The reality is that I am God's child and I am in Christ and that is the functional reality of my life. The things that my SELF tells me are "unreal" because, since I am in Christ and that is my true identity, whatever else my SELF is telling me is not true as far as my identity is concerned. While it is true that I have real feelings of discouragement, weariness, impatience, etc, I am not to be defined by those things. I am defined by Christ who is my life.

So, the next time your SELF starts talking to you, what are you going to use to talk back to SELF? May I recommend you start with Psalm 145 (below). This wonderful psalm is simply jam-packed with marvelous truths about who God is and what He has done and all that He is doing for you. You will benefit from it.

Great Is the Lord
145  A Song of Praise. Of David.
 1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
 2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
 3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
 4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
 10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
 12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]
 14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
 15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
 16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
 20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
 21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment