Whose Voice is It Anyway? Part 3
I Corinthians 4:3-5 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
II Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal …bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ….
James 4:6b-7 God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Many of us struggle with self-condemnation, and don’t even know it; we think being hard on ourselves is normal and natural. As difficult as it is to untangle the thoughts we might have against someone else, it’s even more challenging at times to get a hold of our own “self-talk,” which can be as sinful as what we might think about others. We have been tricked into thinking those condemning, harsh thoughts we think against ourselves are our own thoughts. (The author sometimes calls them the “You jerk!” thoughts.)
These thoughts are not from us originally. They belong to the accuser just as much as a thought that condemns and accuses someone else. And what he has sometimes succeeded in doing is convincing us that they are our own. Since we tend to guard what we think is ours, we hold onto this “stinkin’ thinkin’” as part of our identities, and it becomes harder to pry them away from our minds.
God’s thoughts toward us are very different from our negative thoughts about ourselves. If Jesus wouldn’t want us to speak condemningly toward someone else, what makes us think that we could speak to ourselves that way? We often exempt ourselves from the scriptures about edifying speech and love of the brethren, thinking it’s OK to aim them at ourselves.
This is a demonic victory against us. We may think we deserve such self-flagellation, but we know better. Jesus has paid it all, which means there is now therefore no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Not the slightest bit. Not even for you! God doesn’t speak such things to us—conviction is clean, not muddy and harsh—and Jesus died to free us from such condemnation, even the mental or verbal forms of it.
As disciples, we must reject the accuser’s thoughts—even toward ourselves—and replace them with God’s thoughts. This takes work, but we have no right to bear toward ourselves the kinds of negative, enemy-inspired thoughts we don’t want to have toward others. We must face our enemy on this front in the name of Jesus, submit ourselves to God, and resist these foreign thoughts. His thoughts toward us are peace, giving us a future and a hope. Let’s aim to do a Grand Replacement.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for harboring negative thoughts about myself. I want to be genuinely humble, but I don’t want to agree with the accuser and adopt his faultfinding, negative and condemning thoughts. I want Yours instead. Teach me how to replace all his thoughts with Yours.