This title may sound strange and certainly not good advice for having a healthy 2-way conversation with a good friend, but this is great advice for interacting with one specific person in your life – you! The reality is that we spend more time listening to ourselves than anyone else in our lives. Unfortunately, we can often hear ourselves speaking negativity, worries, fear, and even self-sufficiency. Do we let these words go unchecked, or do we speak God’s truth against them?
The first time I remember hearing this was from Martin Lloyd Jones, and since then I’ve heard it from many people including John Piper, Jerry Bridges, and Paul Tripp, but we can find it as far back as David in Psalm 42:5. Here he says to himself…
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
What is your heart saying to you right now? Do you find yourself reflecting on your current circumstances with hopelessness and gloom? Is your mind dwelling on worst case scenarios, despair, or future-tripping? Does your heart seem to lean towards dejection over what is being lost during this sheltering in place?
Let me encourage you with Paul’s response to some very difficult circumstances that he recounts to the Corinthian church.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. — 2 Cor. 1:8-10
Paul speaks here of God who is faithful, powerful, and good in all He does. He is a God who is worthy of our trust and our hope. He sends hard things into our lives with His glory and our good in mind. Paul says that the things that happened to him during his trip to Asia were far beyond his ability to endure, and that he even thought he would die from all the pressure he was under. But he speaks to himself – and to the Corinthians – of God’s glory and good purposes in these difficult times.
Here are some powerful truths we find from Paul that we can speak to ourselves right now! First, remind yourself that He is faithful – He never changes. He operates the same way now as He did before this virus came on the scene. He has not left us. He is still with us and He always will be. Lean hard into Him during this time. Paul turned to God in his trouble and found Him there. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Next remind yourself that He is all-powerful – this virus seems pretty powerful, it has affected the entire global economy and health, but it is not stronger than God. Paul speaks of God who delivered him from deadly peril, and he was confident that God would deliver them again. Remind yourself that God is more powerful than anything we could ever face in our lives.
Finally remind yourself that God is always working for our good in everything He does – Paul says that going through the difficulty in Asia taught him a powerful lesson, that his hope was in God and not in himself. This is a great lesson, one that we all need to learn and continue to learn. Remind yourself that God is working good in all our lives through these challenging times. He is teaching us things that we may not even realize right now, and they are good!
God in his great wisdom knows perfectly how to accomplish His good in us, and He uses the most perfect means to work that in our lives. Be encouraged as you remind yourself that He is faithful, He is all-powerful, and He is working good in our lives. These are just a few of the powerful truths of God we can speak to ourselves. We been given many, many more! Dive into the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God, and then speak, speak, speak them to yourself! To God be the glory.
Karl Stephens is the Director of Worship Arts.