What’s Going On Inside Your Head?
Colossians 2:8, Romans 8:5-8, John 8:44, John 14:26, Proverbs 4:23
We all know we have a running conversation with ourselves. But it’s not just “self-talk.” We’re not the only voice in the conversation! Altogether, there are four “other” voices constantly exerting themselves to shape what we think, say, and do. Not all of them are healthy.
Knowing the simple premise of this series can transform how you feel about getting up, starting your workday, going to the gym, making the most of your relationships with your wife and children, meeting with friends or strangers, your value as a person, and so many other situations. You will leave with a simple life-changing tool to help you take back control of the narrative in your head. Join Patrick Morley as we begin this new series that will help you learn, or renew, how to think like a Christian.
Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…”
The Four Voices: How to Think Like a Christian
What’s Going On Inside Your Head?
Good morning, men. Please turn in your Bibles to Colossians 2:8. Four months ago, I was having a conversation with a really good friend and during the course of that discussion, he said to me, “I don’t feel like people care about me, only what I can do for them,” and I was flabbergasted. I mean, I know that I care very much about him. I know his wife very well and I know she loves him to death. I know his children, I know they idolize him and love him deeply.
He’s a small business owner. His employees, they really care about them tremendously. I’m a customer of his and I also know some of his other customers and I know that they not only appreciate what he is doing for them, but have great respect for him and love him as a person. So, how does that happen and what can we do about it? Because I think a lot of us would have those kinds of thoughts and other similar thoughts as well. We’re going to start a new series today called The Four Voices. Subtitle for the series, How to Think Like a Christian.
The first thing we’re going to do is overview these four voices. The title of today’s message is What’s Going on Inside Your Head. The first thing we want to talk about in this particular message is how that conversation in your head is a lot more than just self-talk. We know that we all have a conversation going on in our heads all the time, self-talk.
THAT CONVERSATION IN YOUR HEAD IS A LOT MORE THAN JUST SELF-TALK
However, that’s not the only thing that’s going on up there. There are other voices, four other voices in our heads as well that are also trying to influence what we think, say and do and some of them are trying to get us off-track. In this series, we want to take a look at that. We’ll begin by over-viewing those four voices.
The first voice is the world. Colossians 2:8, where you hopefully have your Bibles open to, says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human traditions and the elemental spiritual forces of this world, rather than on Christ.” How does this work?
The world will tell you that you’re too young to make a difference. I remember when I was first getting started, how I was told that maybe you did have a lot of promise, but you don’t have enough gray hair and people will never listen to you. They told me, the world, the voice of the world was saying, “You’re too young.”
Then as you get older, people tell you that, “Well, you’re not useful anymore. You have been expended and so now you’re expendable, so you can’t make a difference.” Here’s the way the world speaks. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re young or old, you really can’t make any difference. The world trying tell you that you can’t make a difference.
The Holy Spirit through the Bible is telling a very different story. Joseph, David, Jesus, they all started their careers when they were 30 years of age, when they were young men and had a tremendous impact. Moses, Joshua, Paul, they all did their best work, they all play their best music in the last one-third of their lives. They were late bloomers. I’ve got a book here called Late Bloomers, the stories of 75 people who made tremendous contributions in the later years of the life. People like Truman, all the way from the presidency, all the way to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders.
The voice of the world wants to tell you that you can’t make a difference and that’s an example of how human traditions and the elemental spiritual forces of this world try to influence the narrative that’s inside of your head. The second voice that we want to take a look at in this overview … We’ll do a deep dive on each of these four voices in the weeks ahead, but the second voice, the first one’s the world, the second one is the flesh or the sinful nature.
Romans 8:5, if you have a Bible, you might want to look at this. “Those who live according to the flesh, have their minds set on what the flesh desires. But those who live in accordance with the spirit, have their minds set on what the spirit desires. The mind governed or the narrative governed by the flesh is death. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Well, how does the voice of the flesh work? Well, it might be in a very personal relationship, like a marriage.
Recently I had an experience with my wife. I was feeling down, feeling like things weren’t going the way they were supposed to be going. Because I’m sinful, because of the fall, we all have this sinful nature. We all have this flesh. Because of the fall, my first reaction is it’s her fault. She’s not meeting my needs. I took a few days though and instead of acting on the voice in my head, the flesh that was telling me that it was her fault, I took a few days and sorted through that to get back to what is the voice of God in this?
I realized that what was happening to me was happening because of my childhood experience, some of the nurture that I had or the lack of nurture that I had and the way that I want to blame others for something that’s going on in my life. I realized and this is a great metaphor, I hope it maybe can help you in your marriage or some other relationships, the metaphor that popped into my mind is, is that I’ve stumbled here. I haven’t fallen to the ground, but I have stumbled. But my wife didn’t trip me, I tripped myself. It’s my own sinful nature. It’s my own flesh.
I was able to, instead of blaming my wife and telling her that it was her fault, which is what my sinful nature wants to do, the flesh, I was able to tell her, “Patsy, I have stumbled here and I need you. I need you to reach out your hand and grab my arm and steady me so that I don’t fall to the ground.” Huge difference.
The first voice is the world. The second voice is the flesh. The third voice is the devil. John 8:44, Jesus is speaking and he says, “The devil was a murderer from the beginning. Not holding to the truth for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The devil wants to destroy what God wants to build.
The malware of choice for the devil is doubt and once the devil is able to load this malware onto your brain, onto the hard drive of your brain, that is a virus that spreads very quickly. Some of the thoughts that you might end up having is that it’s no use. I’ll never be good enough. Truth is you never really will be good enough and the devil uses that to sow the doubt, take the shame and the guilt that you feel for the things that you’ve done and convince you that no matter how hard you work, you’ll never earn enough merit to be good enough.
One of my seminary professors, Dr. McKenzie, said, “It takes a lot of truth to float an error.” It really irks the devil no end when a man comes to the conclusion that it really is true, that he will never be good enough and that he needs to rely on the grace of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ to take on the burden of all the shame and the guilt and to forgive him of his sins.
That’s the third voice that’s speaking into our heads. The first is the world, the flesh, the devil, and then the fourth voice that’s in our head is the Holy Spirit. John 14:26, one of my all time favorites. Jesus is speaking and he says, “But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things. Teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” Wow, what an incredible promise.
There’s nothing new going on in the world, only the Holy Spirit can remind you of that. Ephesians 1:11 says that, “God is working out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,” everything. Only the voice of the spirit through the word of God can calm us. When we look at current events and just look at all the chaos that’s out in the world right now, especially in 2020, it’s amazing. But the voice of the Holy Spirit can calm us in all these things. These are the four voices that are in our heads. The conversation is affected by these four voices, the world, the flesh, the devil and the Holy Spirit.
Now I want to give you the Big Idea and the premise for the entire series. Here it is. The four voices in your head are the world, the flesh, the devil and the Holy Spirit. Your job is to figure out which one is speaking and make the adjustment. I want to leave that up on the screen for a minute so you can write that down and I’ll say it again. The four voices in your head are the world, the flesh, the devil and the Holy Spirit. Your job is to figure out which one is speaking and make the adjustment.
YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF THE NARRATIVE IN YOUR HEAD
Next, you can take control of the narrative in your head. Please turn with me now to Proverbs 4:23. Proverbs 4:23, which says, “Above all else, guard your heart.” When the Bible says something like, “Above all else,” that’s very significant. Above all else of all the things that could be said in the scripture.
Why does it say that? Well, we know that the Hebrew word for heart literally means the inner man. Technically the intellect, the mind, the will and then the emotions, all of the things that make up the inner man. Today, we probably would talk more about the mind than the heart, but the idea is that it’s everything that’s within us and the Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.”
These voices in our head are affecting the narrative that is in our brain and God has given us the ability to take control of that narrative. When he says, “Above all else, guard your heart,” he would not tell us to do that if he would not also equip us to be able to do it.
Why does he say that we should guard our hearts? Because of the fall, we are very vulnerable to being hacked. We are very vulnerable to being burglarized. What would an unguarded heart look like? An unguarded heart might look like an unguarded house. In my neighborhood, we’ve had a few burglaries over the years. My wife and I have taken steps to protect ourselves. If someone knocks on the door, we don’t automatically open it. We keep our windows locked. We have floodlights on a sensor. We have a burglar system. I spent about $100 and bought some video cameras, so we have video surveillance. I put a light on a timer in one of the front rooms so it goes off in the middle of the night and if there a burglar was out there casing the place, he would get a little bit of a sense that somebody was in the house.
I found a fake TV device that basically you plug it in, close the curtain and from the outside, it looks like there’s a TV flashing in the room, that somebody is inside. We have a yappy little dog who goes bezerk. I’d never want to burglarized my house with that yappy little dog and then we put everything that we have of value, which is really just papers into a safe deposit box. My wife doesn’t have any jewelry. We don’t have any art, but whatever we do have of any value, we put it in a safe deposit box.
We have taken the steps. We’ve been intentional about guarding our house and that’s exactly what God is telling us, “Above all else, guard your heart.” Just like we guard our house, guard your heart. Use that same intentionality to do that. He has given us through the spirit, the power to do that. The self-control to take charge of the narrative in our head has given us the power through his Holy Spirit to do that. Self-control is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The Big Idea of today; The four voices in your head are the world, the flesh, the devil and the Holy Spirit. Your job is to figure out which one is speaking and then make the adjustment. You can control the narrative that’s in your head.
HOW YOU CAN START MASTERING THE 4 VOICES
Finally, today, how can you start mastering the four voices? How can you start mastering those four voices right now? In the handout that you’ve been given today, the third question has a list of some different situations in which you might find yourself and there’s a simple exercise there. We’ll do some other exercises. This just is really to get you started and the idea is to figure out what is your normal state of mind in these different situations? Are you mad, glad, sad, bad? Do you feel like you’re underappreciated, appreciated, loved, unloved? Like my friend, do you feel like nobody really cares about you on a personal basis? How is it that you feel?
Then there is another column on this question for you to think through, maybe over the next few days, what voice is speaking that makes you feel that particular way? This is a very powerful exercise for you to get started to be thinking about how these four voices might be speaking into the narrative that’s inside your head.
Then the other thing that you can start doing today to help master these four voices is to be vulnerable in your neighborhood crime watch group, your small group, to feel free, to share more openly what’s really going on inside your head, like my friend. He said, “I don’t feel like people care about me, only what I can do for them.” Do you feel that way? If so, let your group know. Let them affirm you, encourage you, reassure you.
I did this myself. I have been mentoring a young man. We finished up one of our sessions about 10 minutes early. So I said, “Hey, can I just tell you a little bit about what’s been going on with me lately?” I was able to talk through some of the difficulties I’ve been facing with an auto immune disease that’s lasted for three years now and just some of the health problems in our family. My wife’s mother has gone on to hospice care. I’m the executive assistant to my wife who’s the executor of everything that belongs to her mother. When her father passed away and not long before that, he asked me if I would help her, so basically I make coffee and copies for.
I was making some copies one day and somebody had forgotten to push the Fit to Page button and so I made 20 pages of this document that my wife wanted photocopied. Grabbed it out of the hopper and ran downstairs to put it on her desk and about halfway down there, I noticed that because they had not pushed the Fit to Page button that the right two inches had been cut off and so the document that I had printed was useless and I just had a meltdown. I’m glad my wife wasn’t in the house, but I was enraged by that and I said, “Something’s really wrong.”
That’s why I wanted to talk to my friend and unburden myself and it was amazing. In 10 minutes time, the cloud had lifted, whatever, all these things that have been accumulating over the last three years, they just disappeared. You can do that too with a small group, a friend. They can help you understand what’s going on inside your head and make the adjustment.
The Big Idea; The four voices in your head are the world, the flesh, the devil and the Holy Spirit. Your job is to figure out which one is speaking and make the adjustment. I look forward to doing deep dives on these voices with you in the weeks ahead. Let’s go ahead and pray.
Our dearest father, Lord, I thank you for how you have revealed in scripture the different voices that are trying to influence the narrative in our head and that how you have given us your Holy Spirit and power to sort out the narrative and to walk in the fullness of your power. Lord, I pray that the men who are listening to this message or ever will listen to it, will understand that there are these four voices in their head, the world, the flesh, the devil and the Holy Spirit and that their job is to figure out which voice is speaking and make the adjustment. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.