Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
- Proverbs 18:21
Do you talk to yourself? I do. All. The. Time. I even answer myself at times as well.
I'm naturally a verbal processor who happens to also be an only child, so talking aloud to myself about anything and everything is something that I've grown up doing. It's taken my husband and me 12 years of marriage to work out that sometimes, I just need to TALK without him feeling like he has to fix a problem. Sometimes I don't even have a "problem" to talk about, I just need to process things aloud.
Can anyone else relate?
The good thing about getting to verbal process with my husband is that he is a passionate lover of TRUTH and if he happens to hear me processing something that doesn't quite sound like the Holy Spirit's voice, he will graciously call me out on it so that I don't go down a bad road in my thinking. Verbally processing with him has saved me many times from negative agreements with lies and wrong thinking, thus wrong behaving.
But what happens when my husband is away for a few weeks, and I'm all alone with my thoughts and my verbal musings and self-talk? Oh the lessons I've learned in this.
The past few weeks that my husband has been on a mission trip have been one of those defining "where the rubber meets the road" sort of times for me. I've had a weird lung infection since the end of November, and I've been more physically unwell than I've ever been in my life. The enemy knows that when I'm sick and lacking rest I'm more vulnerable, and he certainly took a few cheap shots from the moment I stepped into the month of December. I had opportunities, in many different contexts, to engage and believe lies OR to fight off the enemy with the words that I spoke aloud and spoke over myself.
Can I be honest? I failed miserably a few times and ended up verbally processing myself into ENGAGEMENT with untruths that the devil was trying to feed me. Of course there were other times I used my tongue to powerfully establish truth in my thoughts again. But more than anything, I learned some new things about myself and had to put into practice some of the very things that I often teach others about the words that we speak.
Lesson 1: The devil doesn't speak "praise." How many times have I heard people preach about "praising God in the storms" or offering sacrifices of praise during times when you just don't feel like praising Him? HUNDREDS of times. I've heard this over and over and yet the revelation only truly came alive to me in the past week: We have to praise because God is worthy and the devil doesn't understand it. He doesn't even know how to do it. I'm convince that praise infuriates him. But you know what? It also magnifies GOD and everything else that's non-kingdom fades away. So if the devil's native language is lies - then praise is the opposite of what he's saying thus we are filling our lips with good things that keep us from falling into the trap of engaging with the devil's rubbish.
Lesson 2: If the devil can only speak in falsehoods (John 8:44), then when I talk to myself I have to be sure to talk about the TRUEST things I know. This piggybacks Lesson one, but it goes a bit further. What are the truest things that I know? A) That God is GOOD and filled with goodness and light, and B) That I have (within me) a resurrected Jesus who has given me a new nature and who I now look just like (1 John 4:17). I can reference scripture after scripture about my new identity and transformation in Christ, but if I'm not confessing them aloud when the devil tries to tell me otherwise, then I am engaging with his lies. Even when I verbally process, I have to be careful that I'm not speaking his language.
Lesson 3: We weren't created to do this alone. Remember when I said that the devil can only speak in falsehoods (John 8:44)? One of the biggest falsehoods out of his nasty little mouth is that we cannot and/or must not be vulnerable with our trusted friends. I'm not talking about airing dirty laundry or throwing pearls before swine. I mean finding a mature Christian who understands his/her identity and authority, and asking them to help you expose the lies that you may be believing. In the past two weeks, amidst near emotional melt-downs while I've been feeling so physically unwell, I've had two friends say these exact words to me: "that's not who you are." One other friend just reminded me how loved I am by others and mostly by Jesus. And you know what? That's all I needed to hear. My self-talk/confessions changed, my praise got louder and there was no longer an influence of the devil's native language in my verbal processing. The Lord gave me friends who reminded me who I am and challenged me to remind myself as well.
Now I do get that some people struggle to find trusted, safe friends to share with. And I also know that we cannot always rely only on our friends because as mature sons and daughters it's our inheritance to be able to find our complete strength and satisfaction in the Father's words alone (Philippians 4:13; Psalm 107:9; 2 Peter 1:3). But I also know that those who isolate themselves can lash out at sound judgment (Proverbs 18:1). Galatians 6:2 says to bear one another's burdens. God made us for this kind of friendship.
What it boils down to is this: My tongue is powerful. If I speak life, I'll produce life. And unfortunately if I start talking like the devil, I produce death over myself. I found this to be true in my physical body these past few weeks. The more I spoke truth aloud and praised Him, the better I felt. But the more that I dwelt on even the possibility of a falsehood, the worse I felt physically.
And when I verbal processed to my very attentive mini-schnauzers, I found that even the atmosphere around me shifted when I spoke the truest things I knew.
"I can reference scripture after scripture about my new identity and transformation in Christ, but if I'm not confessing them aloud when the devil tries to tell me otherwise, then I am engaging with his lies. Even when I verbally process, I have to be careful that I'm not speaking his language."