Do any of these sound familiar to you? “I’m scared.” “I hate myself.” “I hate this job.” “No one loves me.” “I’m tired. I don’t want to do this anymore.” “Maybe I should just give up.”
Self-talk. Everyone does it. From the youngest child to the oldest adult, we all talk to ourselves. Much of what we say to ourselves is not very helpful. It can be degrading or demoralizing.
Much of what we say is not verbalized… it just mockingly rolls around in our heads. Paul Tripp has noted: “No one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do. You are in an unending conversation with yourself. You are talking to yourself all of the time.”
Many years ago, the psalmist wrote about his difficult life (Psalm 42-43). Men mocked him. His enemy was deceitful and wicked, and was oppressing him. His suffering was so great that his bones cried out in mortal agony as his foes taunted him. His life was so overwhelming that it felt like he was in the middle of a treacherous storm, with waves and breakers sweeping over him. He was left only to wonder if God was rejecting him.
Yet, a glimmer of hope still existed. Three times the psalmist asked himself the same question: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” (42:5, 11; 43:5).
This struggling man was depressed. Yet God gave him the grace (James 4:6) to answer his own question: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him my Savior and my God.”
Three times he asked himself the same question, and each time he responded with the same answer: O my dear soul, put your hope in God. In the midst of his sadness and suffering, he proclaimed to himself a message of hope. He reminded his own soul to not be overwhelmed, but to cast his gaze upwards to heaven.
Preaching to himself just once was not enough. He needed to preach the same message to himself over, and over, and over again. He had a callous, hopeless heart that needed to hear a message of hope. So he repeated the question and answer three times until he broke through the tough exterior of his unbelieving heart.
The Life-Giving, Daily-Sustaining Gospel
As biblical counselors, one of the most important life skills we can teach struggling Christians is to preach the gospel to themselves. They are always talking with themselves. So why not teach them to preach truth to themselves? The best kind of self-talk is centered on the gospel.
The gospel gives life not only to the unbeliever who turns from his wicked ways, but also to the believer, who needs to hear this life-giving, daily-sustaining truth every day of his life.
So preach the gospel to yourself… today… tomorrow… and every day of your life…
Join the Conversation
How could you become your own biblical counselor by speaking truth to yourself?