Saturday, January 15, 2011

Talk to Yourself

After yesterday's depressing post I was thinking about a sermon my friend told me about. It's by CJ Mahaney, a great pastor in Baltimore at Covenant Life Church. It's entitled The Troubled Soul: God's Word and Our Feelings and is based on Psalm 42. If you are going through a rough time or even if you're not, pick up a Bible right now and read Psalm 42. You will be encouraged.

In this sermon Mahaney says when your soul is troubled you need to do two things:

1. Talk to yourself
2. Talk to God

He uses a quote from D. Martin Lloyd Jones, a British Pastor who was first a medical doctor, in his book Spiritual Depression:
"Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself."
All day long we carry a conversation with ourselves. From the time we wake up till the time we go to bed we are talking to ourselves (talking about what we did, what we will do, what we should do, etc) and in turn listening to ourselves. For example I may say to myself, "what has happened to me is not fair" and I may say back, "it's so awful, look at so and so they have it so easy. How am I going to live like this?!"

So, what should you say to yourself? You have to preach God's truth to yourself.  When a thought of worry comes to mind, you say "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)  Mahaney says that our circumstances lie to us. If we look only at our circumstances we think that God isn't faithful or good or that He's forgotten us. 

And of course talking to God through prayer is essential to soothe the troubled soul.  God wants us to speak His promises from the Bible back to Him.  We say, "God you said you would never leave us or foresake us(Hebrews 13:5) but it sure feels like I'm alone right now...HELP ME!"

Mahaney reminds us that one good way to both talk to yourself and talk to God is to sing songs of praise.  I love to listen to music. When I am having a particularly painful or worrisome day, if I turn on music and sing; it uplifts my soul.  Talking to ourselves and talking to God is definitely a discipline and it will take practice, but great will be our reward if we trust Him.

You can listen to the sermon in full  here I hope this encourages and challenges you like it did me!

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