Aug 9, 2022
Who wants to work for the devil? I recently discovered I was helping him more than I realized. Today’s podcast is about a song that came out of that discovery as well as some helpful tips for winning our battles.
“I’m so stupid!”, “What a dummy!”, “Here I go again!”, “I’m an idiot!” Any of this sound familiar? We give ourselves permission to berate ourselves with our horrible words. Somehow, we feel like that’s OK when we’re talking about ourselves, but we would never use that kind of language with our spouse or our children or our friends. Or at least we shouldn’t. So why do you think that is? Why do we give ourselves permission to beat ourselves up? Why is that OK?
My wife Cindy and I have an agreement. When we hear the other one beating themselves up with words, we intervene, and we will say things like “Don’t you talk to my wife like that” or “Don’t you talk to my husband like that”. It’s just a reminder to us to give ourselves some grace, just like we would and should with others.
A while back, Cindy and I sat on the back porch having coffee together and talking. We got on the topic of self-talk and how easy it is to beat ourselves up. The conversation later found its way into the studio into a song titled, “The Good Fight”.
Verse one of the song says,
What do I hear myself saying and why do I say it so much
So many times I catch myself believing that lie
How long has this been going on
Dare I disagree
It keeps coming back even if I try
But here’s what I will believe
Welcome to “the good fight”. That doesn’t sound very “good”, does it? Our enemy, the devil, likes to attack us using lies, accusations, and condemnation. These assaults can cripple us or even take us out of the fight. If we don’t recognize these tactics, we can fall into agreement with them and beat our own selves up. The devil must just sit back and laugh at us when we do. In essence we are doing HIS destructive work in our lives.
Do you know what I’m talking about? I sure understand because I have been so guilty of this, but I am changing. Cindy helps me catch myself and that’s been huge! The good news, though, is we can be very effective in winning these battles is we are equipped and aware. The fight is worthwhile and good, and victory is sweet!
The Bible says if we have received Jesus as our Savior that we are children of God! I wonder if we know how powerful that really is. You and I belong to Jesus. We are not trash or stupid or dumb, nor are we idiots.
Life is a daily battle. It’s a battle for our mind and our hearts and our beliefs. If you have kids living in your home, the battle is even greater today than it’s ever been. So what are we teaching each other, our children, our family, our friends by the language that we use on ourselves?
I think the first thing we must do is understand what God says about all this. The Bible helps us understand the history of the battle, who our enemy is and God’s overwhelming provision for us. It assures us that the war is not going to end well for Satan and his followers. Satan knows it as well. He’s not stupid by any means. So, he tries to drag us down to his level. He knows he can’t drag you and me to hell if we are children of God, but he can take us out of any fight if we give him a chance.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places with Christ”. Jesus has given us His authority and the keys of the Kingdom of God. The devil knows what we are capable of; he knows what God can do in us and through us. So that’s why he’s 100% committed to making sure that we never reach that potential.
Because I love Jesus, I look for ways to say the name “Jesus” in a conversation, especially with strangers. I’ll give you some examples. Most people who know me know that I love the game of golf. I usually play golf very early in the morning around 6 so I can have the whole day in front of me to get things done. Usually I get paired up with people I don’t know.
It’s pretty common for guys to start swearing when they hit a bad shot and getting mad at themselves. This might go on for eight or nine holes, but ultimately the conversation comes around to, “So what do you do for a living, Mark?” It used to be very awkward for me as a pastor because when I would say, “I’m a pastor” then suddenly the language would clean up perfectly. “Darn it!”. “Shoot!”. Now that’s the words coming out of their mouth because suddenly they are around a pastor. Eventually I started responding, “I’ll tell you what, you just be who you are and I will be who I am.”
Now I take a little a different approach. I’m looking for an opportunity to say “Jesus”. You never know what can happen when we say that name that we love so much. So I get to the point early and I ask the question. I’ll even do it on the first hole as we’re walking down the fairway off the T-Box, “So Bob, what do you do for a living?”. He’ll tell me and then he will ask me the same and this is my response, “I’m a Jesus-loving singer, songwriter and podcaster.” I get the awkward stuff out of the way to begin with. I love doing this and have opportunities every day. They are right in front of me. I look for them and I take advantage of them. I have a business card that I can hand out, of course, and have had some people go check out the music and email me a comment about it. Some even call me up asking to play golf with them again. That’s been pretty amazing actually. You just never know.
But here’s the thing. If I’m constantly beating myself up with negative language, how can I be effective on the golf course talking to people that may not be believers? That’s the fight I’m talking about. The enemy knows that this is not going to end well for him and so what he’s trying to do is take as many people with him as he can. When he can take me out of the fight, that’s just one more person perhaps that he gets to take with him. See how that works?
It’s rare that I meet a stranger. I enjoy talking with people as I’m filling up the gas tank or if I’m in line at the grocery store or at Ace Hardware or wherever. I like to strike up a conversation and then look for that opportunity to say “Jesus”.
Now I have a little advantage and I’m not necessarily saying everybody should do this, but I have the Mark Alewine Music logo tattooed on my right arm. It’s 2 eighth notes tied together with a cross in the middle. It’s a decent size that gets noticed and is a great conversation starter! That’s one of the main reasons I got it and it really works. But it also keeps me on my toes. Who do I want to reflect in my reactions to people in general? Do I look and sound like anybody else in the world or do I look and sound like and reflect the one who saved me?
“My name is Mark and I am a Jesus-loving singer, songwriter and podcaster.” You can think of a tagline like that too. “My name is Judy and I am a Jesus-loving computer software engineer.” “My name is Dwight and I am a Jesus-loving retired bus driver.” You don’t have to mention the place that you work or anything like that.
“Jesus loving!” That’s not hard to say. I can say it around three other guys on the golf course or one person in line at Aldi. But it is hard to do that when I have zero confidence in who I am as a follower of Christ. At that moment, if I’m believing I’m ineffective and that whatever I say is going to come out stupid, I just keep my mouth closed and go about my day. And the enemy just sits back and smiles because he has done his job on Mark Alewine.
One of the verses of “The Good Fight” says,
I’ll keep fighting the good fight
But in Your strength, no not mine
I know You’re always with me
Even when I’m blind
I’ll let my words reflect Your work
I’ll let Your word define my worth
The pathway’s clear, no longer blurred
Here’s what I believe…
The strength that we have is really supplied by the grace of God and He gives us all that we need to live the life to which He called us. It says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
You know, fighting this war against our enemy is way more than any resolve we can ever have. Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weapons. It’s our responsibility to put on this armor of God which is described in Ephesians 6:13-17. “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breast plate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God…”
I found a wonderful resource explaining the Armor of God and spiritual warfare and would like to share it with you. Go to GGSSPodcast.com and look for Episode 9 to find the link. You can listen to the song there also!
When we tell ourselves we’re stupid or dumb or idiots, we take off part of that armor and leave ourselves exposed and we’re no good in the fight.
I hope this chorus gets stuck in your head!
I’ll believe it before I feel it, I’ll receive it before I see it
I’ll read your word, I’ll speak your words
I’ll pray it, I’ll think it, your truth is my truth
I’ll keep fighting, and there will be no truce
Because I’m your warrior and that’s what I believe
I hope this song energizes you about the battle and especially your self-talk.