Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. –Matthew 7:17-19
Well, apparently God has me on a three part series here, because this week I’m continuing on the topic of the words we speak. More specifically, what kind of words do we speak to ourselves? If our words can bring life or death, encouragement or discouragement to others, how do the words we think (or “self-talk” as we like to call it in my profession) affect us? We are supposed to be loving and kind to others but are we loving and kind in our own minds? I believe this is an important area in which we need to be aware of ourselves, because how we think directly impacts how we feel, which then influences how we behave. Like this:
Thoughts ————-> Feelings ————> Behaviors
In our minds, we typically hear three voices: ours, God’s and Satan’s. We have a choice about who we are going to listen to, and who we listen to will have a huge influence on our outlook. This is why it is so important to develop and strengthen our ability to discern which voice we are hearing. It’s also why we all need to deal with our “stuff”, by which I mean our issues. Not dealing with our issues, past hurts, brokenness and wounded places will always have a negative impact on how we see ourselves, God and others. We can end up carrying around very unhealthy negative beliefs that cause us to make unhealthy choices, or allow Satan to have a stronghold on us that keeps us from growing or being free to really enjoy life. The dialogue we have on a daily basis in our own head is worth monitoring and evaluating. We should ask ourselves, is this something I would say to other people? Is this really something God would say to me or believe about me? Is this something that is building my faith and hope or is it diminishing them? The scripture above gives us a good measuring tool for our thoughts. If the fruit of a particular belief or dialogue in our head is discouragement, despair, resentment, anger, bitterness, jealousy, or fear, we know those things do not come from God and we should take authority over that thought and cast it down. On the other hand if it brings about wisdom, faith, hope, joy, courage, peace, and creativity then those are “good fruit” that we can keep. And by the way, all this also influences how we speak to others, as we discussed the past two weeks, so this all ties together. We are the only ones in charge of our thoughts and what we allow ourselves to dwell on. While we all can have unhealthy beliefs that we don’t realize are there, once they are within our awareness it’s up to us to deal with them. Just like a few times a year I go through my closet and sort out clothes that don’t fit me anymore, so we need to do with our thought life. If it’s not helping you, get rid of it! Ask God to reveal to you the thoughts you need to throw out, and replace them with His truth. I promise you He will be faithful to do it, and you will notice a tangible difference in your life.