Contrary to common belief,
truly sane people talk to themselves.
Christians who fix their imagination (the seeing faculty of the mind) on Christ and his Word talk to themselves in a running conversation as a way to train the way they see life. It may seem strange to say it, but sane people stay sane by talking to themselves. If our reasoning, our beliefs, and our emotional responses to circumstances are shaped by how we see things, then we should make sure that we are seeing/imagining accurately. The accuracy of our imaginings depends upon their alignment with God’s Word.
We are often guilty of seeing ourselves, others, and life in general, incorrectly. The Scriptures help us see what’s really there, not simply what we think is there. So here are five imaginatively reorienting truths from Scripture that are worth telling yourself every day.
Five Things To Mumble All Day:
1. “Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs in front of his house” (Nehemiah 3:10). While God’s people were involved in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, each one did what God equipped him to do. This small verse tucked away in Nehemiah reminds me that I need not try to do more than I am able. I just need to take care of what’s right in front of me. Build God’s kingdom by attending to what’s right here, right now.
2. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord–how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me!” (Psalm :2-4). Indeed, I am weak and in need of the Lord’s healing. That fact alone is worth reminding myself to prevent any self-reliance. And when my soul is troubled, The Lord will deliver me.
3. “What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, and he himself has done it. I shall walk carefully all my years in the bitterness of my soul. O Lord, by these things men live; and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so you will restore me and make me live” (Isaiah 38:15-16). God has been–and is still–at work in my life, speaking the days of my life and the steps I take. My only comfort in times of grief is the sovereign Lord who will restore me and make me live.
4. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?” (Romans 8:31-34). To the nagging voice inside my head, the voice that drums up my failures, my shame, and my sinful leanings, I can say, “Sorry Bub, I’m changing the channel.” Then I say these verses to myself, out loud if necessary, as an aid to help me see myself justified before the judge. I can stand tall and rejoice and live gladly because the Judge sent his son, Jesus Christ the righteous, to pay the penalty for my sin. I’m free.
5. And finally, “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Being a part of God’s people, God’s church, liberates me to work hard and gladly because The Lord is already active in our midst and rejoicing over our meager efforts. He claps over his people–those whose heart, mind, soul, and strength belong to the King. That fact alone should help get us up in the morning.
To be totally honest, the entire Scriptures are imaginatively reorienting. Any other six passages would have served just as well. I chose these for me this week because I need them and that means I’m sharing them with you. May they buoy us this week and train us to see as God sees.
I leave you with a portion of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life” because the above verses drive us to imitate our great fathers and mothers in the faith and to live the beautiful life he describes:
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.”