Monday, June 15, 2009
Talk To Yourself (pt 2)
What do I say to myself???
Psalm 42 is the text we discussed last week.
We are going to read this Psalm again…
Listen carefully as we are addressed by God through this Psalm.
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me continually,
"Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
(-) Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
(-) By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?"
(-) As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
A brief recap of last week’s sermon:
We quoted Paul Tripp, renowned minister and counselor as he said,
I find myself saying it all the time. When people hear it they laugh, but actually I'm being quite serious when I say it. Here it is. No one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do. You're in an unending conversation with yourself. You're talking to yourself all the time, interpreting, organizing, and analyzing what's going on inside you and around you.
You may be talking to yourself about why you feel so tired. Or maybe you woke up this morning with a sense of dread and you're not sure why....Perhaps you're reliving a conversation that didn't go too well. Or maybe [you're] preparing yourself for a conversation that may be difficult by conjuring up as many renditions as you can imagine, so you can cover all the contingencies.
Maybe your mind has traveled back to your distant past and, for reasons you don't understand, you're recalling events from your early childhood....The point is that you are constantly involved in an internal conversation that greatly influences the things you decide, say, and do....
Then we asked:
What do you regularly tell yourself about yourself, God, and your circumstances?
- Do your words to you encourage faith, hope, and courage?
- Or do they stimulate doubt, discouragement, and fear?
- Do you remind yourself that God is near, or do you reason within yourself, given your circumstances, that he must be distant?
- Do you encourage yourself to run to God even when you don't understand what he's doing?
- Or do you give yourself permission to back away from him when you are confused by the seeming distance between what he's promised and what you're experiencing?
- ....When others talk to you, is your internal conversation so loud that it's hard to concentrate on what they're saying?
Here's the question: How wholesome, faith-driven, and Christ-centered is the conversation that you have with you every day?
Our main point was: No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.
So examining and evaluating the content of this internal conversation in light of holy Scripture, and informing this conversation with the content of holy Scripture and the gospel, can—and by God's grace, will—make all the difference in your soul and in your life.
And in Psalm 42, we have the unique opportunity of listening in on the internal conversation of the psalmist.
2 Main Examples we pointed out:
1. THE TROUBLED SOUL
The Psalmist expressed his troubled soul for several reasons…
A. Troubled by the Absence of God (vv. 1–4)
- Have you ever felt distant from God?
- Have your prayers felt like they bounced off the ceiling?
- Have you felt alone & unloved?
B. Troubled by the Presence of Trials (vv. 6–7)
- Maybe life has thrown you some curveballs.
- Emotional Pain
- Broken relationships.
- Job loss.
- Crippling circumstances.
C. Troubled by the Opposition of Man (vv. 3, 9, 10)
- This happens in spiritual attack
- This happens when people are hostile towards you for various reasons, including your belief
The Second example we see is a soul that is not affected by these things but is…
2. THE HOPEFUL SOUL
When your soul is troubled and in turmoil, what is the appropriate response? Well, the psalmist models the appropriate response.
If the psalmist were present, he would tell you personally that when your soul is troubled, when your soul is in turmoil, the appropriate response is (A) talk to yourself, and (B) talk to God.
A. Talk to Yourself (vv. 5, 11)
The psalmist does not repeatedly and endlessly review and rehearse and describe the state of his troubled soul.
He does not ignore his soul.
He does not excuse his soul.
No, instead, he interrupts his soul.
He interrupts this unending conversation taking place within his soul.
He questions his soul.
He interrogates his soul.
He challenges his soul.
He rebukes his soul.
And he exhorts his soul to trust in God.
And this, ultimately, makes all the difference in his soul,
And this will make all the difference in your downcast soul as well.
Too often this practice of talking to yourself and talking to your soul is neglected by those who are troubled in their soul.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes,
"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?"
See, what we have each day is an internal conversation that never ends.
It is ceaseless.
It continues always within us.
And so each day, throughout the day, we have two simple choices:
1) We can either spend the day listening to ourselves, listening to ourselves in our constantly changing feelings and circumstantial interpretations
2) We can spend each day talking to ourselves. We can talk truth to ourselves. We can preach the gospel to ourselves, and we can address our troubled and tormented soul with Scripture and ultimately the gospel.
Lastly, We pointed out that This takes: Effort, Practice, and Perseverance
Now most of us have spent years listening to ourselves and have rarely talked to ourselves.
Talking to yourself is a learned skill.
Our souls need continuous addressing with truth and with the truth of the gospel.
And understand that many of you here are reaping the effect in your soul and upon your soul of listening to your soul for years rather than talking to your soul.
Today we’re going to talk about the good news:
This Morning, this moment, you can begin to talk to your soul.
You can begin sowing truth to your soul.
And if you begin this very moment, this will ensure that you will reap the effect of truth in your soul at some point in the future.
If you were convinced last week…
If you were convinced today by the psalmist
of the importance of this practice,
and if you employ this practice,
by God's grace this will have a transforming effect and make a noticeable difference in your soul.
And today, we are going to work on the mechanics…
What Do I Say to My Soul?
Maybe you are convinced of the practice…
But now you ask, "What do I say to my soul?"
Here is the good news.
The good news is that the psalmist really provides us with a kind of starter's kit for talking to your soul.
The content of your conversation with yourself is explicitly presented in this psalm.
Notice in verses 5 and 11: "Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
Here is the content of your conversation with your troubled soul:
"Hope in God."
It begins by addressing your soul to look outward and to look upward.
He exhorts himself to hope in God.
(Many good people have begun speaking to themselves
Business professionals wake up each morning and recite “Affirmation Statements” to themselves
This is a Healthy Practice…
But where it can fall a bit short at times is when it becomes human-centered instead of God-centered
It can focus on our own projection of reality instead of the Truth of God’s Reality
It can make us the center of our universe instead of God
We want to be careful that these statements are not glorifying “Self “ instead of glorifying God… (Agreed???)
They can lift us up instead of lifting God up and humbling ourselves
The Bible is clear that when we glory, we are supposed to glory in God.
When you speak to yourself, are you trying to pull God into the center of your universe or are you trying to magnify yourself?
(Exp: Solar System…orbits…importance of Keeping God the center... When God is in the center of our lives, He keeps everything in orbit!)
The Psalmist looks for no hope introspectively (within himself).
He looks for hope in God
The psalmist is aware of the sovereignty, faithfulness, & kindness of God.
And the psalmist is certain that God, himself, will intervene and in his good timing fulfill his promises in the life of the author.
He refuses, in this moment, to be governed by the subjective.
He refuses to be troubled by the subjective
- His circumstances
- His emotions
- His feelings.
Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties.
Troubled souls cannot be trusted.
And circumstances often lie to us.
They lie to us, informing us that God isn't sovereign,
God isn't wise,
God isn't kind,
God isn't active,
God isn't present,
God isn't for us—
in fact, he has forgotten us.
We, by God’s grace, MUST not be governed by our souls.
We can’t afford to be governed by our faulty interpretation of circumstances.
We must hope in God.
We must wait on God.
We must be certain, as a result of hope, that God is sovereign and he is faithful and he is kind.
We must be certain and convinced that he will intervene, that he will fulfill his promise and his purpose for our lives.
The psalmist addresses his soul and exhorts his soul to hope in God.
The psalmist determines in verse 6 to remember God.
God hasn't forgotten the psalmist.
It is the psalmist, in effect, who has forgotten God.
And he exhorts himself to remember God. "Hope in God." Remember God.
This forms the content of your conversation with your soul and your exhortation to your soul.
In other words, get your mind off your circumstances & get your mind on God!
And the psalmist asserts, "I shall again praise him."
I love that phrase.
"At some point in the future I will behold the goodness of the Lord. I shall again praise him."
Circumstances presently hide his hand, but hope assures the soul that you will eventually see and discern his hands.
Spurgeon said, "When you cannot trace God's hand, you must trust God's heart."
"I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
He states it twice.
He reminds himself of his relationship with God.
My God will save me.
The God who initiated this relationship with me, the God who revealed this relationship, the God who established covenant with me, this God will save me. He is my God, and he has pledged himself to me, and he will be faithful to act on my behalf.
This forms the content of what you say to your soul, and certainly you can expand on this content.
What do you say to your soul?
Well, in some ways it depends on what is troubling your soul…
What you can begin doing tonight is search the Scriptures for the appropriate promises that address the turmoil in your soul, that address the trials in your life, that address the opposition you are experiencing.
Find your way to these promises in Scripture and then, by the grace of God, speak to your soul.
By the grace of God stop listening to your soul and instead speak to your soul with the promises of God, and these promises will transform your soul from a troubled soul into a hopeful soul.
Talk to yourself.
B. Talk to God (v. 8)
In verse 8, the psalmist turns his knowledge of God into a prayer which ultimately became a song:"By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life."
The psalmist remembers God's Word, rehearses God's Word, prays God's Word to God, and he sings God's Word to God.
And his troubled soul becomes a hopeful soul as he addresses God with his Word.
And I love the reference to singing.
I love it because you have really already experienced the fruit of talking to God and talking to your soul through singing.
That's what we have been doing all morning together.
Troubled souls become hopeful souls as we sing truth to our souls.
The reason we are rarely troubled in the midst of corporate worship is because we are talking to our soul and singing truth to our soul, talking to God, and rehearsing the truth of the gospel and the promises of God to him.
And the effect of that upon our soul is hope, joy, affection, an awareness of God, and trust in God.
There is an effect.
So each time we sing together we really are experiencing the fruit of this practice, talking to ourselves and talking to God.
God desires that we humbly but boldly remind him of his promises, and rehearse his promises before him.
He invites us to do this.
What are some of these promises?
What does God say about himself?
What does He say about you?
Your Identity in Christ?
How does God view you?
What does He promise for you?
Some of us struggle with "Grasshopper Mentality" – Like the Children of Israel, after they had been freed from Egypt and were commissioned to take possession of the Promised Land. God saw them as capable of possessing the land and promised it to them, but they couldn’t see it for themselves… The ten spies saw the giants that lived there & said: “We are as grasshoppers in our own sight!”
God saw them as capable, through Him. They saw themselves as grasshoppers (and saw God as incapable as a result)
Do you believe God is who he says He is?
Do we believe we are who He says we are?
Some of us believe these truths, but they don’t affect our lives!
Part of our problem is:
- We believe the things God has said intellectually but not intrinsically
- They’re great as an abstract truth or a doctrine, but not as a practical reality
- We believe them at a head level but not a heart level
Let me ask you…What does it mean to “believe?”
Belief is something that occurs in the heart… the real you… the heart includes your mind, will & emotions
Sometimes we only believe things in our minds but not our hearts!
(*This is why gospelling the heart (or “speaking the gospel to your heart) is so powerful… we generally address people’s Orthopraxy (Hands) & Orthodoxy (Head)… not their heart-Orthopathy (Heart))
Romans 10:10 (New International Version)
10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Rom. 10:10 – Belief is something that occurs within all you are
If I look at some of the things that come out of my heart I must acknowledge that I am (in those things) an unbeliever…
We act upon what we truly believe…
Someone says, “I believe God is in control!”
Really??? Do you have Fear in your heart? Anxiety? Then do you really believe God is in control?
You know it in your head, but you don’t really believe it in your heart…
The process of closing the gap between what you know in your head & believe in your heart is called “sanctification”… Becoming holistically Christ-centered & gospel-centered
FOR YEARS I SKIPPED THE HEART!!!!
If someone was struggling with a belief or a behavior I went straight to the obvious parts. I dealt with their Orthodoxy (doctrinal beliefs/ Head) & Orthopraxy (Spiritual practices/ Hands) and never dealt with the heart (Orthopathy)!!!
Then recently we’ve noticed that Paul’s correction in the Epistles (letters to the early church) always dealt with the heart…
Here’s the movement: Who God is => Who you are as a result=> So go & do this…
This is who God is… This is what He’s done for you =>
Now he has called you this… Now you are children… Now you are free =>
So love your brother & sister… so give generously to the needs around you…
This is always the movement in Scripture
It starts with belief and moves toward behavior
When we try to stop sinning or a negative behavior or addiction, we normally aim for the behavior… we need to work on our beliefs
John 8:31 – Truth will set you free
Our beliefs (held in our hearts) produce actions!
When our hearts are right, our actions will be right!
When you believe the right things in your heart – at the root level of who you are- your life will produce the fruit of that!
The reason we do so many things we regret is because we choose to do them because we believed something at the time.
“I was angry at my boyfriend because he always does that so I called him a loser and told him I hated him”
We all do this kind of thing, but…
Is that the kind of behavior we should be striving for?
Humble & Loving?
“Well, you should have been there…”
Does that really matter?
Does it matter what people do or say to us?
Can we control other people, or only ourselves?
Are we evaluated upon other people’s behaviors or our own?
You say those things because of a belief inside you…
Maybe you think those words make you feel better…revenge!
Maybe you believe it will teach them not to treat you that way…
Whatever the reason we make decisions, speak words and take action because of our beliefs
“I chose not to hurt her when she said those words and slapped me in my face!”
“I believed that even though she was out of control for a minute she is a creation that bears God’s image and If I got mad and said or did something in return, it would only make things worse, instead of bringing about this reconciliation that we always talk about as a community… besides, God’s only given me grace mercy & love when I treated Him the same way”
If you want to change your behaviors, you need to ask yourself what you’re believing that’s allowing those behaviors…
Then Speak God’s Truth to yourself…
To Your heart
Speak God’s promises to yourself
In fact all our behaviors tie directly into our beliefs about God, (which is something we are going to talk much more about next week…)
Cash the Banknote of Divine Promise
Mr. Spurgeon understood the importance of faith toward God.
It seems to me he had a gift of faith.
I can't read his writings without experiencing a transfer of faith to my soul.
Spurgeon wrote the following about God's promises, which we are to rehearse before him:
God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; He intended that they should be used.... Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation; He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, "Lord, do as thou hast said." We glorify God when we plead His promises. Do you think that God will be any the poorer for giving you the riches He has promised? Do you dream that He will be any the less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine He will be any the less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said, "Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins...be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, "This is a precious promise, I wonder if it be true?" but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, "Lord, here is the promise, do as thou has said." …Think not that God will be troubled by your importunately reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is His delight to bestow favours. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask....It is God's nature to keep His promises; therefore go at once to the throne with, "Do as thou hast said."
That is exactly what we are being, in effect, exhorted in this psalm,
to talk to God and to remind him of his promises.
Listen: The more time you spend talking to yourself and speaking to God, the more time you spend speaking the gospel to your soul and humbly reminding God of his promises, the less time you will spend listening to your soul, and the more you will experience a joyful and hopeful soul rather than a downcast and a troubled soul.
You cannot read this psalm without remembering someone else whose soul was troubled: our Savior's uniquely troubled soul as his death on the cross drew near.
As the hour for which he came drew near, it would appear that he was alluding to this psalm when he said, "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour" (John 12:27).
And in the Garden of Gethsemane, we overhear a similar cry: "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" (Matthew 26:38, Mark 14:34).
The Savior's soul was uniquely troubled and sorrowful as he contemplated his impending encounter with the wrath of God as our substitute for our sin.
On the cross he would be crushed by the Father with his wrath for our sin.
He would be forsaken by the Father, and he would cry out in indescribable agony, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
The psalmist felt forsaken by God.
The Savior was forsaken by God.
The psalmist was troubled in soul because he felt the absence of God.
The Savior was troubled in soul as he contemplated being crushed by the righteous wrath of God and truly abandoned by God.
The psalmist's soul was downcast.
But the Savior's soul would be crushed with the full, furious, righteous wrath of God against our sin.
The psalmist's soul was temporarily and, one might argue, superficially downcast.
The Savior's soul was uniquely troubled and tormented so that the souls of people like us would know freedom from the fear of eternal torment of soul in hell.
He was forsaken so that we might be forgiven.
He was forsaken so that we might never be forsaken.
Because of his sacrifice on the cross, we can sing about the steadfast love of the Lord.
Because of his sacrifice on the cross, we can say with the psalmist, now informed by the cross, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" (vv. 5–6).
Vince Is going to be breaking this down to the daily mechanics…
How to work Speaking to your soul into your everyday life…
The importance of Understanding this connection we started talking about today between your:
How your beliefs affect your behavior
How every negative behavior can be traced back to a lie we believe about God.
It’s going to awesome!…