Voices in Our Heads

Dowd Simpson

07 Nov, 2017

Which voices of the world cause you to doubt God’s goodness? Which voices are you looking to in the midst of struggle and trial?

There are a number of voices out there that we could listen to. There are the voices of friends, family, co-workers, church members, media, hollywood…the list could go on.

There is also your own voice. For many, it might be the loudest. 

When in the midst of struggle, which voices are we hearing.

To be honest, I believe the lie that I can be my own god and judge. I listen to myself for validation and criticism, and my validation is rarely that kind and my criticism is usually very harsh. I am one of those glass half empty kind of people when it comes to examining my own life. Nothing is quite good enough. I could always do better.

It is difficult for me to accept grace when I fail because I believe that I could have done better. I believe that whatever I did was not my best. This is not in an attempt to achieve perfection. But I do believe myself capable of more. Because of one or more reasons…I know deep down that I did not give it my all, or that this failure, this stumble if you will, has not tripped me up before. I am disappointed when it does because I know that there have been times when it has not.

I am not hard on myself because I believe I can achieve perfection. I am hard on myself because I want to be perfected. But, here’s the ah ha moment. I can never be perfected if I do not accept grace and forgiveness. If I am always hard on myself, then I am likely not accepting the grace that God offers when he says, “It’s OK. I forgive you. I forgive that slip of the tongue or that action out of insecurity. Breathe, count to ten, and try again.” This type of perspective, being hard on myself, thinking I could always do better, becomes all about me. It is very ego-centric. My thoughts are filled a lot with me and my accomplishments or lack there of.

Why can God extend this type of gentle, patient, always available, never ending grace to me?

Ephesians 2: 1-10 says this:

“And you were once dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the power of the prince of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”

How do we respond to this, knowing that our own voices might be the loudest? What do we do?

Well practically speaking, when we mess up, I tend to think about myself and how I’ve failed. Ego-centric. All about me. Instead I wanted to think about God first and how he forgives. Grace-centric. All about God. The voice that should be the loudest is God’s. If you want to hear God speak, read your Bible out loud. 

I think we also pray. We pray that the Lord would remind us of his great love for us. We pray that he would awaken in us a fresh understanding that we have been saved by grace through faith and that there is nothing we can do to earn his approval or love or even his sanctification. The process of sanctification is in his hands and in his time and he will use whatever means necessary to make us more into the image of his son. Even if that means our failing and our stumbling and our tripping up on things that we have conquered before (only by his grace), to remind us that what he has for us is not a works-based gospel but a grace-based gospel. 

I pray that the Lord will soften our hearts to the grace that He generously and sacrificially extends through the life, death and resurrection of His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.