It is not only madmen who speak to themselves. The deeper one wades into spiritual waters, the need to speak to oneself becomes apparent. Furthermore, it becomes a necessity. As we unwrap ‘the riches of his (Christ’s) glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe’ (Ephesians 1:18-19), our flesh fails to make sense of it all, and so a revolt occurs. A fight within us ensues, but not because God has left anything pending – in fact, Jesus says, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). The salvation of our souls that seemed like an impossible feat was declared finished by Jesus on the Cross. But time and time again, our fleshly self tries to counter our spiritual self. And so after all the praying is done, one is to rise and speak to their fleshly self in order to conquer it. In the instances when fleshly self tries to subdue the spiritual truths, then speaking to ourselves remains crucial. This should not be overlooked, because ‘The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit’ (Proverbs 18:21). Our tongues which was used to make our confession unto salvation, should continue to be used to speak to ourselves in order for us to be ‘strengthened with might by his Spirit in your inner man’ (Ephesians 3:16). God actually tells us, ‘and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, this is their vindication from me’ (Isaiah 54:17).
David, ‘a man after his (God’s) own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14), understood this heritage and vindication God had given him and appropriated it well. Most Christians too have mastered the art of refuting every external tongue, but some rarely speak to themselves- while in reality the biggest enemy lies within. David came to a full knowledge of what lay within and speaks to himself saying, ‘Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God’ (Psalm 42:5-6). Our souls tend to be downcast and gloomy in order to demand an antidote outside of what God already prescribed to the spiritual man. In fact, our souls crave to eliminate any spiritual influence and tries to make us look for worldly, fleshy, and even demonic remedies. This now calls for the spiritual man to arise and refute our soulish self. During such instances, David says to himself, ‘Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on God’ (62:v5-7).
Clearly, the Christian life requires a constant inner probing. We ought to constantly question and then answer ourselves with the Word of truth and life to keep our spiritual blood circulating. While petitioning God is paramount, speaking to oneself is also necessary, and is even encouraged by God. When the Israelites were fashioning gods from wood, God marvels at their lack of inner probing. He says of them, ‘No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, ‘Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow to a block of wood?’ (Isaiah 44:18-19). God comes down to human reasoning, trying to understand why a man would turn from Him and worship wood. He then concludes that such people do not actually stop to think, or even reason. He is baffled by their lack of inner questioning. In fact, those in religions, idol worship, cults, and other related demon worship are not allowed to think, let alone question themselves. And so, many in such settings fail to find the truth, because they do not ask themselves anything. They simply go through the motions of habit, routine, and deliberating efforts because ‘their conscience have been seared as with hot iron’ (1 Timothy 4:2). Such people ‘perish because they refused to love the truth and so be (really) saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe a lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
When we became born-again, you will notice that God did not turn us into a robot. The flesh still remains intact. This is because, by retaining our free-will to reason, think, and decide, God wants us to ‘participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires’ (2 Peter 1:4). Of course some choose their free-will to foster anti-Christ spirits in one way or another, but true followers of Jesus Christ use free-will to participate in the divine nature bestowed on us. One of the ways that we participate and collaborate with God to bring forth our divine nature is by allowing our spiritual man to speak to our fleshly selves. That is why Paul wrote that we ought to ‘demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This clearly shows that a Believer plays an active role in the formation of the divine nature that is within them. A myriad of thoughts, arguments, and pretensions exist that threatens to set us up against all that is of the Spirit. So, it behoves us to examine ourselves against the Word of God, which is like a ‘mirror’ (James 1:23), and immediately take out what is not of God, and adjust here and there by practically speaking God’s Word to ourselves. That is why David says, ‘I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes’ (Psalm 119:59). For it is only by considering that one can actually be grounded in the faith. Therefore, ‘Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord’ (Lamentations 3:40).
Within us, a storm brews. Some storms are bigger in some than in others, because they have never been stilled. When Jesus and His disciples were in a boat and a storm raged, the disciples began to panic. But Jesus who was asleep, simply ‘got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm’ (Mark 4:39). This demonstrates to us that to maintain an atmosphere of calm around us, we are to speak to the storms within and around us, ordering them to Quiet! as Jesus did. Clearly, calm does not come automatically, but requires one to get up and speak back to whatever storm. There are so many things we can speak to ourselves about, because the Word and wonders of God are unlimited. We can like David recall God’s promises and doings of the past. ‘When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul’ (Psalm 94:18-19). Other instances require that we ask ourselves questions. When we face unreasonable fear, for instance, we should say, ‘The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ (118:v6). Other times, we can just sing songs to ourselves that praise God. Whatever the nature of the dialogues with self, the bottom line is that we ought to speak to ourselves like God. ‘If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God’ (1 Peter 4:11). But for this to be possible, one has to first know how God speaks by staying on His Word, and communing with Him in prayer. So, we should never stop speaking to ourselves, because one of the armoury we ought to always possess is ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:17). And the Word is not only to be read, but also to be spoken, to tear down anything within and around us that raises up against God, for it is ‘living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword’ (Hebrews 4:12).
‘I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation’ ~ Psalm 40:10