Have you ever seen someone, obviously with serious mental health issues, vigorously talking to the air? Let me tell you a little secret, I do it all the time. Or at least I used to. No, it wasn’t in the same kind of way– I could keep the thoughts inward, but they were vigorous conversations nonetheless. In fact, I used to justify these conversations as being a sign that I’m intelligent and always thinking…until my wife caught me…
We were in the car, I was driving, and deeply engaged in a conversation with someone in my mind, when my wife says, “What are you doing?” Apparently, my inside thoughts had moved down to my lips–and when she looked over she saw my lips wordlessly moving a mile a minute…
It was embarrassing to be caught, but I never questioned it–these voices in my head. It wasn’t until I read Neil Anderson’s The Bondage Breaker that I realized that something much more sinister was going on. You see, I have voices in my head. All the time. And you do too.
The problem is not the voices in our heads, but the terribly dangerous naivety about them–because we assume that they are our voices. All of them. And that’s not only not true, it’s dangerous!
How many times do the supposedly intellectual ramblings and conversations in my mind, the reflections over my character and integrity, the re-playing of the days’ or weeks’ conversations turn instead into accusing voices creating doubt and guilt regarding the state of my soul? Just whose voices are these? Are they ours? Are they the result of a guilty conscience and therefore a tool of God to “push” or “nudge” us back on track? Godly conviction does bring a sense of guilt as it shows us our failures. Yet Godly conviction encourages as well and leaves the believer with the desire and the belief to change while never doubting God’s love or our worthiness to Him.
Yet the voices that I have allowed to entertain in my life and mind are not so kind and beneficial. They not only point out my weaknesses, but they make inferences regarding the sincerity of my heart, the lack of maturity of my faith, the hypocrisy of my position in Christ. Though Scripture clearly indicates the spirit that God gives (power, love, sound mind/discipline-2 Tim. 1:7), we so often fail to recognize these “voices” as not coming from God, nor even our own selves. We think that if it is not God, these voices are our own—the voice of our conscience. “Besides”, we say, “Satan is not a part of me, has no place in my body.” Yet we never realize that Satan has ample resources and power to influence our thoughts. If the great accuser can exert a physical presence in this world (and we know he can) why can he not play with our minds, substituting his accusing voice amidst our own? Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Satan always is present to add his “2 cents worth” to our own thoughts and questions. He’s so adept that we assume his accusatory and damning voice is our own conscience or worse yet, God’s voice of judgment. Oh, how we have sacrificed and given up control of our mind!
Dear son, take it back! Why have you been so easily deceived? Look at my servant Paul. Did he not readily confess his weaknesses, and lack of worth on the one hand, yet in the same strong voice declare himself an example to follow? Did he wallow in his past mistakes, or because of his strong position in Me did he not readily admit his weaknesses while joyfully proclaiming My strengths? Paul knew very well his failures, but he knew Me even more. He knew My victory. My child, do the same. The guilt that my Spirit will place in your mind and heart is one which leads toward repentance and the acceptance of my forgiveness and love. Take back control of your mind from the evil one! He has no right to mingle with your thoughts. I, however, died to have that right.
It’s simple really. Refuse to listen to those voices in your head! You know the voices I’m talking about—those accusatory, negative and damning voices that seem to ring so true about who you really are. Throw them out, every one! Who has control over what you listen to in your mind? How many times have I sat back like a spectator at a tennis match watching the voices argue back and forth over my identity in Christ? As if I were impotent, I awaited the outcome of the arguments. God’s voice so wanting to demonstrate His love and encouragement and Satan’s accusatory and condemning voice masquerading as my own. Who wins? In my life, I usually leave this mental tennis match in defeat. STOP IT! Don’t be a helpless spectator, but take control of your mind! Refuse these voices and proclaim God’s voice. A negative thought? Refuting it with Scripture is best or if you’re tired just take control, knowing that you decide what you will or will not listen to. When I catch myself listening to accusing voices, sometimes all I can muster is a mental “kick in the pants” telling myself “stop”, upon which I immediately put my mind to work on something else.
Today Lord, I proclaim ownership of my mind. You have given me my body and mind and I am to be a good steward of them both. I have been entrusted with this responsibility and today I will take back control of my mind!