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Preach to yourself rather than listening to yourself

 September 2009 

Recently I read in a Christian book a principle that has had a huge impact in my life over the past 15 years. The principle is this: The need to talk or preach to yourself rather than listening to yourself.

When I read this, I realized how in the past 15 years, I have been talking to myself much more than listening to myself.

Let me explain: For most of my life, I would wake up in the morning and start listening to myself. As with everyone else, there would always be things going wrong and there still are. I constantly have trials and troubles. In previous years, I would wake up in the morning and my emotions would get the better of me. The more I listened to myself, the more fearful and worried I would become. Fifteen years ago, I began talking or preaching to myself and I did this through Scripture memory. Instead of listening to my emotions, I would say things like, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you." John 14:1-2

Is this talking or preaching to yourself Biblical? Most certainly. Two passages that have self talk in them are Lamentations 3 and Psalm 42. The book of Lamentations was once part of the book of Jeremiah and it is believed that Jeremiah wrote both of these books. The book of Jeremiah contains sermons or messages by Jeremiah given over a period of about 25 years. His basic message was to call the people to repent of their sin and wickedness. It they didn't repent, he predicted that the Babylonians would overthrow them, which happened in 586BC.

Lamentations was written after Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians. Jeremiah deeply grieved over this terrible destruction of the city he loved and that he wrote Lamentations out of his grief. It is believed that he wrote Lamentations.

Many years ago when I was reading through Lamentations, I was especially taken with Lamentations 3:19-33. I decided to learn that passage and over the years, it has been a great comfort and encouragement to me. Especially when I have suffered loss or was in trouble in any way. Verses 22 and 23 say this, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Then Jeremiah preaches to himself. In verse 24 he says, "I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."

I regularly tell myself that, "The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him." I am often tempted to work things out myself instead of trusting in the Lord and waiting for Him."

It appears that the person who wrote Psalm 42 may have got very downcast and depressed at times. In verse 5 and again in verse 11, he talks to himself and says this: "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 has been a help to me over the years. I have sometimes said to myself, "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."

Preaching to myself through Scripture memory has changed my life. It has helped to stop negative emotions from controlling me. Instead every day I give thanks to the Lord for His goodness to me. I tell myself how good the Lord has been to me and, as a result, great joy has come into my life.

In my August newsletter I said that it appeared that Kathy's prolapse operation was more successful than previously thought. Her specialist now thinks it has not been a success and because of this, Kathy may now have another operation next year.

Despite this disappointment Kathy is still positive trusting the Lord. She is deeply grateful to the Lord for all that He has done for her and is not allowing negative emotions to control her life.

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