The cartoon above made me smile, but it’s true that we often have a conflicting dialogue going on in our heads, which can cause a wide range of emotions ranging from the slightly uncomfortable to absolute torment! I believe the human conscience is built in to all of us as a barometer of right and wrong, wise and unwise, but when we come to God and suddenly know who we are and how to live, this dialogue takes on fresh emphasis. I wanted to blog about this because it’s something current in my life and causing a certain amount of dissatisfaction and soul searching.
Jesus has sent us his Holy Spirit as a comforter and counsellor but there is also a dark voice competing for our attention and hoping to shape our responses and behaviour. Tuning in to Jesus through His spirit is my goal and when I do manage to achieve this, the blessing and well being that results is second to none! Personally I find anxiety and discouragement to be a huge temptation as I respond to whatever life throws at me each day, the dark thoughts are whispered into my psyche and it’s easy to give up and drown in them if you are not determined to shake them off …
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
(Philippians 4:8 The Message)
This is one of the most helpful antidotes to depression I have read, it’s true that when I’m thinking about things that make me happy that my feelings are lifted. It doesn’t just mean ‘religious-y’ thoughts either, I take it to mean those things we have experienced, people we know, etc who have blessed and enhanced our daily lives.
Another big battle is resisting going with the flow and joining in with niggles and unrest, the kind of negative situation that typically arises within groups of people! Having a discernment gift I can read people well and quite accurately, and this makes for an ability to perceive situations without having been previously told anything. I do struggle with gossip, and am certainly no saint there (!) but I am mindful of the damage a collective unkindness can have when people jump on a bandwagon and ignore their conscience (ever read Lord of the Flies ..?) There is no smoke without fire usually but even when we feel justified, it is hugely difficult to respond fairly I find ..
” Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”
(Ephesians 4:31-32 the Message)
What a different society we’d have if more of us were willing to try the above!!
So Lord, I’m not there yet, but with Your help I’m trying and hopefully in the coming days will make some wise decisions and make sure I’m aware of whose voice it is I’m listening to!