You all have voices in your head, but which are God, which are he devil and which are simply yourself?
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
If you have not seen the kids movie “Inside Out,” then you have missed a really great movie. It’s the kid movie very adult should see! In the movie, it relates the thoughts that go through a little girl’s head in various situations, and features the voices in your head like joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust.
A kid movie, yes, but doesn’t it ring true. How many of you know that, whenever you face anything in you life, there are often conflicting voices in your head. So which of these voices in your head are God, which are the demons, and which is just you?
Please note that I’m not suggesting that you are all schizophrenic! These poor people hear voices in their head telling them to do all kinds of things, and they need professional help. I heard one guy joke, “I used to think I had Schizophrenia, then I realized that is just what the voices want me to think,” but it is no joking matter. If that’s you, seek professional help now.
But even if we are not mentally ill, we still hear voices in our heads every day, either God, us or demonic voices.
YOUR CHOICES OF VOICES IN YOUR HEAD
Simply, the voices in your head are from either of those three sources. But sorting them out, and figuring which ones you want to listen to is no easy matter!
Choose the right ones and you will grow and prosper in God, choose the wrong ones to listen to and you will be tormented and maybe even have your life ruined! The stakes are high, but God is God, and His ways are higher than your stakes.
IPOD, IPHONE, I SAID IT!
In the “I Generation”, we think everything is about us. This of course is not new… Remember the foolish rich man…
And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
Man has always been all about himself.
The thing is, demons love to use this to trick us, and they do this by whispering in our spiritual ears, just as God often does. But they use the word “I”. You’ve always assumed that you are the originator of your own thoughts, the voices in your head, but I think you need to step back and have a look at that theory right now…
The demonic wants to influence you in every way. If you’ve ever read the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis you will recognise this. One of their greatest tools is planting thoughts in your mind and convincing you that the thoughts are yours.
They do this by using the first person… “I’m such a loser”, “I won’t make it,” “How can God bless me when I’m such a mess.”
If the devil can get you to take ownership of negative thoughts he can lead you to utter despair.
Slightly less subtle but equally as effective is the second person attack…
“You shouldn’t have done that”, “You always let God down.”
Recognise that these destructive voices in your head are planted in your head, so don’t fall for them hook, line and sinker!
THE GHOSTS OF THE PAST
Dickens explored this area in his famous story, “A Christmas Carol.” The first voice old Scrooge had to deal with was from the past.
You may have had a tough upbringing, you may have been abused, hurt or put down by someone in your past. God knows this, and yet He says,
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
That voices in your head which bring up the hurts of the past… It’s most often the devil. And if he wants to bring up your past, try bringing up his future!
It’s time to make the past past at last! The things your parents or sibling said, the failures you’ve experienced, the hurt people have caused in your life…that failed marriage, that failed business, that miserable church experience… It is time to let them go. Put them behind you, draw a line and say, “Enough… I’m done, and I’m moving on!”
MAX LUCADO WRITES…
The forgiven who won’t forgive can expect a sad fate—a life full of many bad and bitter days. . . .
Hoard hurts in your heart and expect the joy level of a Siberian death camp.
A friend shared with me the fate of a hoarding grandmother. . . . She refused to part with anything. Her family witnessed two terrible consequences: she lost sleep and treasures. She couldn’t rest because junk covered her bed. She lost treasures because they were obscured by mountains of trash. Jewelry, photographs, favorite books—all were hidden.
No rest. No treasures. Or clean your house and give the day a fresh chance!
Hang onto your hurts and you don’t hurt them, you hurt yourself.
Has someone taken something from you? Your innocence, your money, your reputation? Release them now. Why let them take even more from you? Haven’t they stolen enough?
Forgiving them releases their hold over you. It doesn’t mean you approve of what’s happened to you. You aren’t endorsing what they did, but you are stopping them from doing it to you again and again in your mind!
If you cannot forgive and release the hurt, then the ghost of Christmas past will always haunt you. You will never be free.
Let Jesus remove that burden from your weary, discouraged shoulders, and replace it with a yoke that is easy and light. He say,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In the end, we all choose what lives inside us. We all choose what voices we will listen to.
THE GHOSTS OF THE FUTURE
We all have fears of the future, if we’re honest. Mostly they revolve around money, families, whether we’ll ever make it and, for the guys,.. Money.
Again, we have conflicting voices in our heads… Come on, you can do it, or… You’ll never make it.
90% of all the things we worry about never happen. But that doesn’t stop the voices telling you that they could happen. Sometimes these voices keep you up at night wondering what you’ll do if it does happen, when you have no guarantees that it will happen!
Confused? Yep, that’s where the devil wants you! He wants you trusting your feelings not the Lord, basing your life upon the whispers of trouble ahead instead of the Word of God.
Yet the Word says this…
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Max Lucado says, “You don’t have wisdom for tomorrow’s problems. But you will tomorrow. You don’t have resources for tomorrow’s needs. But you will tomorrow. You don’t have courage for tomorrow’s challenges. But you will when tomorrow comes. God meets daily needs daily and miraculously. He did then, he does still, and he will for you.”
You’ve got on one hand the God of all creation, you loves you and wants the best for you, vs the worry wort in your head. So who are you going to believe? Who will you listen to?
THE GHOST OF THE PRESENT
Bill Keane said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
Yet we listen to the voices that tell us we’re in trouble, right here right now. They say things like, “You don’t deserve any better than this,” and “I’ll never be able to do that,” or “I just can’t take it any more.”
Often the voices write us off, even before we attempt anything. We worry about the future, and this spills over into the present.
The big thing in business circles these days is living in the moment. This is in direct contrast to recent teaching about goals, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and profitability. What they are saying is that if you cease listening to the voices of worry in your head, you will have a happier life.
But Jesus said exactly this long ago…
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
So to finish up, I want to talk about the present, and the battle that we all face in our minds. Those voices keep on whispering, and if you want to grow in life, it’s time to tell the bad voices to shut up… Permanently!
THE VACILLATION EQUATION… SHALL WE DANCE?
1 Kings 18:21
Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
The Hebrew word for waiver is “pasah”, which means to limp, skip over or dance.
That’s what these voices do, they whisper in your ear, and you think the evil voice is your own. Then you waiver. You start to vacillate between one opinion and the other. One minute you believe, the next you doubt.
Shall we dance? Sure, let’s waiver, let’s sway between God and the devil. Let’s do the dance of indecision, and let’s play this game all day every day. We dance and skip from one voice to the other. If you keep dancing this dance, you, your ministry and your life will be paralysed.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
SO HOW DO YOU RECOGNISE AND OVERCOME THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD
FORGIVE ANYONE WHO HAS HURT YOU IN THE PAST
You will not hear God clearly if you view everything through the lens of you past hurts and pain. Forgive whoever has hurt you, family, friends, investments, friends, anyone who has spoke words of curse over you.
Forgive and let them go. Forget the former things and release yourself, and watch God bless you and change your mind forever!
LISTEN TO THE ACCENT OF THE VOICE
You can recognise the voices in your head by their accent. I’m not suggesting that good voices are in French and bad ones in German, but each voice has an accent from its country of origin. You can tell where people come from by their accent!
God’s voice is always encouraging. The devil is discouraging. God’s Spirit even brings correction with an accent of conviction, not condemnation. His words are accented with life, but the devil always has an accent of death.
2 Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. A sound mind is one that is only listening to the Holy Spirit, not the evil one.
ACCEPT GOD’S VOICE, AND REJECT THE OTHER VOICES
Make a conscious decision to accept the voice of the Lord, and make a decision to reject the other voices in your head, of criticism, discouragement and fear.
Say, “Thanks for sharing, but I don’t do that any more!”
Why not listen to the one who says,
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
The thing is, you must not tolerate or put up with those evil accented voices. Don’t fill you mind with that junk. Don’t watch movies or listen to songs that depress you. Don’t hang out with people that drag you down.
As Paul said,
2 Corinthians 10:5
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
So accept the voice of encouragement and take captive and then reject the voices that drag you down. As Wayne Alcorn says, it’s the voices John West rejects that makes him the best.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Don’t dance, walk in it. Don’t vacillate, follow Him.
FILL YOUR MIND WITH THE RIGHT THING
Whatever you mind is filled with is what’s going to speak to you. Fill you mind with your pain, and everything you see will be negative. Fill it with thoughts about money, and you’ll be obsessed with getting money. Fill it with porn, and you’ll have thoughts of lust.
Fill your mind with God, and guess what voice you’ll start to hear more and more!
Do you know how investigators are trained to recognize counterfeit money? They don’t spend all of their time trying to keep up with the latest technological advances in creating false money. Instead, they first and foremost diligently study the original, the real thing. Then, held against the standard, the imitation stands out.
The best way to distinguish God’s voice from the other voices in your head is to get to know it, and the best way to know God’s voice is to get to know Him. He’s the real thing. Spend time in His Word and soak in His truths. You must know God’s Word before you can differentiate God’s instructions from the messages that Satan or your flesh is sending you. You must learn God’s accent by spending time with Him, and then you’ll realise that He sounds very different to the devil or the flesh.
When the devil attacked Jesus in the wilderness, every time He answered with Scripture. Answer with Scripture, and Jesus did! Matthew 4:4, But he answered, “It is written…
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
What you let into your mind will have a direct affect on the voices you hear, and the accents you detect. So don’t fill your mind with junk from TV, movies, songs, books or magazines… Renew your mind,
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
And the way you do that is to meditate on the Word of God. There is no substitute for reading a God’s Word daily. You cannot live a Spirit filled, victorious life without spending time every day with the Lord.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
DON’T FIGHT ALONE
God invented church, not so we could have tall steeples, but so we could share together. We can worship together, laugh together, cry together. We can share our money, our things and our hurts. The Bible says this…
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
Yet most Christians listen to the evil accented voice and move not towards the people of God, but away. They’re ashamed. The voices tell them they are sinful, they are unworthy, that no one will love them if the truth about them and what they’ve done gets around.
If you’re struggling, don’t isolate yourself. Don’t go it alone!
This church is built on love… God’s love, His unconditional love. Listen, whatever you’ve done, whatever you are carrying, whatever voices you are listening to, let us stand with you. We are all sinners too! We love you and we’re here for you.