Everybody speaks to themselves – whether it’s in front of a mirror, while driving, or when half asleep!
But the kind of speaking I mean are not vain ramblings, or practiced speeches before a meeting, or mouthing some repetitious formula that will make you rich, but speaking life-giving words to yourself before negative words come out of you. There is a part of us that speaks life and affirmation, and a part of us that speaks death and destruction. One part builds, the other tears down.
According to James, your tongue is like the rudder of a ship that sets the direction of your life.
Fenelon said, “We must speak to ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to speak to us”. You can wake up one day and allow yourself to talk back to you saying, “You are a loser who will never amount to anything!”, or you can take the initiative and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Too often we wake up in the morning and allow the wrong voice to set the tone of our day.
If we don’t learn to speak to ourselves words of life and faith, we will be increasingly dominated by the dark part of our hearts. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7 (NAS).
This is why the Psalmist took initiative in saying, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my help” Psalm 42:5 (NRSV).
He would not allow the dark voices within him set the agenda of who he was going to become.
When the dark inner voices tried to consume David, it is said, “But David strengthened himself in the Lord” 1 Samuel 30:6 (NRSV). I believe that this involved David speaking to himself.
After Paul tells the believers of Ephesus to encourage each other with “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, he then speaks of “making melody to the Lord in your hearts”:
“As you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts”
Ephesians 5:19–20 (NRSV)
When you speak to yourself the promises, thoughts, and intents of God, you are heading off the part of you that would speak the opposite and setting the course of where your ship will take you. Only by speaking the truth to ourselves will we cast out the lies we are so tempted to believe. So start talking.