Sometimes I catch myself saying stuff that shocks me. I hear words come out of my mouth and think “That was awful. Who are you? Where did that come from?” ‘What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket’, right? There has to be some pretty ugly stuff in there for me to say what I just said. What haven’t I dealt with? I thought I was a new creation . . . with a new, forgiven heart.
But then I’ll be in another situation and I’m amazed at how God seems to speak through me. Just the right question . . . the perfect comment . . . the prayer that connects hearts with the Father’s heart. How can this be?
It seems there are three ‘voices’ with which we speak.
- My voice – “I’d like a tall skinny latte’ please?” Not much spiritual or spooky about that one, although our attitude and our tone may be influenced by one of the other two voices.
- God’s voice – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ living in me is loving, kind, generous, understanding, merciful . . . He is love. When we choose to respond in Him, we speak His words. Knowing Scripture gives our brains the words to express what God would have us say.
- The “non-God” voice – The voice of evil. Yes, there really are ‘spirits of the air’ straight from the devil. We can’t stop them from speaking to us. Sadly, we often choose to listen and let them in. We ‘give them a foothold’ in our hearts and before we know it, they’re speaking for us and through us. Here are some of their names . . .
- Spirit of evil (Luke 7:21; Acts 19:12-13)
- Foul spirits (Mark 9:25)
- Lying spirit (II Chronicles 18:20-22)
- Perverse spirit (Isaiah 19:14; Romans 1:17-32)
- Seducing spirit (I Timothy 4:1)
- Spirit of antichrist (I John 4:3)
- Spirit of bondage (Romans 8:15)
- Spirit of divination (Acts 16:16)
- Spirit of error (I John 4:6)
- Spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)
- Spirit of haughtiness (Proverbs 16:18-19)
- Spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3)
- Spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11-13)
- Spirit of jealousy (Genesis 4:5-8; Numbers 5:14)
- Spirit of the world (I Corinthians 2:12)
- Unclean spirit (Mark 6:7; Luke 11:24-26)
Look at the names of these evil spirits and immediately you can hear the kinds of words they’re downloading into our brains. In a moment of anger or weakness or confusion, words come flowing . . . straight out of hell. Satan seems to be more effective in penetrating our emotions than our intellect and he does it through demons specialized in their area of expertise. This isn’t ‘make believe’ stuff. These are actual invisible spiritual beings whose whole purpose is to screw up your relationship with God, your wife, your kids, extended familya, neighbors, co-workers, the people in your church . . . even your pastor.
I’m not talking about a ‘demon possession’ kind of thing here. Sure, an evil spirit . . . say the spirit of anti-Christ, can get into our heads when we’ve had a loss and think God has let us down. That spirit can lead us to be angry at God, try to get us to turn on Him or doubt He even exists. It can be a long battle. At other times, a demon comes in (like a lying spirit), flashes the lie in your head, out come the words and the demon is gone as quick as he came.
So . . . what to do?
- Stay close to the Father. Pray without ceasing . . . thank Him for His love – for His presence. “and do not give the devil a foothold” says Ephesians 4:27. God’s presence in your life is your first defense against evil intruders. When an evil spirit sticks around and ‘takes up residence’, Jesus is the way to deal with it.
- Pause and rehearse in your head what you’re about to say out loud. Which voice is about to speak? If it’s voice #3, call on Jesus and zip it.
- Set this ‘litmus test’ for yourself. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). If it’s not wholesome or helpful, if it’s not building someone up or benefit them, it’s probably not from God.
Question: Do unkind, judgmental, accusatory, critical, harsh or insensitive words come out of your mouth at times? If you’ve learned practical ways to deal with this, please share them here.