Pictured above: Pastor Jeff Hundley of our Edmonds Expression preaching from Luke 12:4-12 last Sunday.
by Kim Arthur | Hallows Communications Director
“The battle is to take God at His Word without wavering in fear and in doubt. I hope you will allow me to preach a sermon to myself this morning which I hope will help overcome my sin of fear by strengthening my heart in the words of Jesus. And since this battle is not unique to me, I hope you might listen in and find something here for your heart too…” – from Pastor Jeff’s sermon last Sunday on “The Fear that Frees Us.”
Do you realize that we are constantly speaking–yes, even you quiet ones are still speaking. Even if you aren’t talking out loud, there is an inner monologue going on within. Three times in the last couple of weeks, I was reminded of the power of what we are saying not just to others, but also to ourselves.
The first time was at the Edmond’s Women’s Bible Study where Jane (a bottle of energy and hilarious life observations) shared how shocked she was in recent years to learn that she is always talking to herself (inner monologue). In fact, a large part of her testimony of growth has to do with learning to identify what she was saying to herself in any given moment so that she could then those thoughts captive if they were not true and edifying.
The following week, I overheard my son repeating a phrase over and over under his breath that only made him increasingly angry. It became a teachable moment as I explained to my children that it actually matters what we say to ourselves. I encouraged them to try to catch themselves when they are thinking or saying something over and over. Then, when they realize it, I challenged them to consider whether it is something that helps them to turn to Christ or away. Does what they are saying reflect God’s wisdom and His Word or does it is sound like something more reminiscent of our world, our flesh or our Enemy?
Then this past Sunday, Pastor Jeff allowed us to hear what he has been feeling and thinking the last several months–a mix of fear and gratitude. As he prefaced his sermon, Jeff acknowledged that his soul needs him to preach a better word to himself. And so do we.
Even the psalmists demonstrate the importance of going beyond just “knowing” truths about God. They show us the necessary practice of actually speaking truth to ourselves. See Psalm 62 for example. Notice how David starts the song with declarations about God and by verse 3 his gaze turns to his strong foes and their destructive ways. How do you start to feel when your gaze lands on things you are struggling with? Are you tempted to be afraid, overwhelmed, or even crushed? You wouldn’t be alone! We know David often felt these things by exploring his other psalms.
So, what is necessary in the ordinary, as well as extraordinary, moments of our lives? We need to speak a better word to ourselves. We need to recall God’s truth to cast out confusion, fear and despair. This is what David did: he promptly turns his gaze from the real threats in his life (verses 3-4), and talked straight to his soul “Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God” (verses 5-7). Can you imagine him taking a deep breath and speaking these truths to himself over and over? I can.
So this weekend, would you join me in asking the Lord to help you realize what voices, what thoughts, what stories you are you speaking and hearing? What are you saying to yourself over and over–about yourself, others, your situation, God, and His Church? Would you ask the Lord to help you grow not just in identifying what things you are saying and listening to, but also to help you capture any thoughts not from Him so that you might replace them with His truths. As we do, may we be able to enjoy more life lived in Christ–life full of certainity when things are uncertain and fearless because we only fear the Lord.