Nowadays there are so many voices speaking out, fighting for their opinions to be heard. Whether those voices are echoing from a physical stage, over the air waves or some social media platform, many are vying for the attention of the masses. It is as if the world was one big classroom and every one were students all trying to speak at the same time. Dare I bring it closer to home and say that even on our jobs, amongst close friends and families there are varying levels of opinions on the topics of family, relationships, faith, finances, politics, environment and world issues that either affects our lives directly or indirectly. Most times you will find that if you are not careful you have taken a position on an issue because external opinions have now taken form in your subconscious mind thus creating perceptions.
According to columnist and member of Association for Psychological Science, Nalini Ambady in a survey on “The Mind in the World: Culture and the Brain”: “One of the most fundamental ways in which cultural beliefs, practices, and ideologies influence psychological processes is in the cognitive schema or self-construal style that people use to think about themselves and their relation to others.”
That being said, the question now remains- As a believer living in the world that we live in today where everyone is in pursuit of the fundamental keys to happiness, success and peace- with all of its ideologies and philosophies-what voice do I listen to? Who do I trust to give me clear instructions on how I should live my life? How do I know how to decipher between the motivations that are in my best interest or whether the opinions of those speaking into my hearing are self seeking or manipulative in nature?
This might sound somewhat super spiritual but you must pray for discernment when it comes to this area. I am of the view that everything that is manifested in the natural comes from the spiritual realm, that includes ones thoughts, which becomes ones beliefs, which become words and thus become actions. Therefore the word of God admonishes us to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6: 11
Who Is Speaking?
You must know the difference in the voices around you…whether they are of God or of the enemy. It is my experience that when God wants to speak he does one of three things; He directs you to it in His word through the leading of the Holy Spirit, He speaks to you through dreams or He sends a message through man to affirm what He has already told you.
Often times we become distracted by the everyday challenges that life brings which results in us becoming insensitive to God’s voice- hence He has to use the latter two methods in order to get his message across to us. However, it was never His intentions to use another human being to speak to his creation or speak to our subconscious through dreams. Just as He communed with Adam in the garden one on one, he wants to commune with us. (Genesis 3)
During my season of processing I found that opening my ear and eye gates to carnal communication created a whole lot of mind battles. I began to allow my own assumptions of people’s opinions to consume my life. Rather than focusing on thoughts that would take me to new levels, I focused my time and attention on defensive actions. For nearly a year I suffered from recurring night mares and even insomnia all because instead of feeding my spirit with the word of God and meditating on things of good report, I meditated on all of the wrong thoughts. I did not know then that by failing to digest the right kind of information I was leaving myself vulnerable to spiritual attack thus creating what I now know as spiritual warfare. Here are a few principles that I learnt during that time.
Protect Your Eyes and Ears:
Remember that the adversary is crafty, if he cannot control your mind through the use of the internet or other literature you might obtain by way of the internet or media; he will attempt to gain entrance to your thoughts through other methods. The enemy will use anyone who makes themselves available to be used by him; family, friends, coworkers and even those that are in authority. Remember that the job of the enemy is always to kill, steal and destroy. He comes to kill your dreams and Godly desires, steal your peace and joy, he comes to destroy your life. Ultimately his job is to destroy the seeds of the word of God that has been planted in your heart- seeds of faith that says that you are more than a conqueror through Christ, seeds of confidence that says that you can do all things through Christ that gives you strength, seeds of healing that says that by the stripes that Jesus bore that you are healed and that healing is the children’s bread.
Understand that the enemy knows that once he can control how you view yourself, once he can control your thought pattern, then he can control every decision you make regarding your life. How does he do this? Well just as God doesn’t physically step down from His thrown in Glory to bring you a word, the enemy doesn’t physically ascend from the pits of darkness to destroy you- he uses people. He uses people’s words and actions to breed seeds of doubt, despair and discouragement. Once he can gain an opening to your ears while your guards are down he knows that he has won half the battle. Soon enough, if you are not completely protected in your spirit, those seeds of discouragement will begin to take root and before you know it you are subconsciously meditating on the negative rather than on that of what your heavenly father has said about you.
Protect Your Mind:
If truth be told, half of the challenges that we face in our everyday lives are not as a result of external factors but it is our own thoughts that debilitate us and creates stagnating and self defeating behaviors leaving us opened to the “fiery darts” of the enemy. Just as God speaks to us through people and dreams, so does the adversary. If we do not make a conscious decision to consecrate our minds and hearts daily with the word and worship, we leave room for the enemy to plant seeds through our thoughts- seeds of doubt, fear, bitterness and inadequacy. It is imperative that you are very intentional about what you spend time meditating on during the hours that you are awake. What kind of literature are you reading? Are you reading material that uplift you and add to your personal, spiritual and financial progress; or are you merely soaking up information that add no value to your life. What are you watching? How much time do you spend on social media meditating on the opinions of others rather than finding information that will enhance your daily living? What kind of music are you listening too? Are the lyrics positive or God centered? Or are you listening to songs that denote and encourage violence, profanity and lute behavior? If you ever have to question whether what you are digesting is beneficial or God approved, simply search for the inner voice to direct you in your decision making.
During my season of soul searching I watched countless videos that were geared towards spiritual healing and self empowerment. I had to make a conscious decision to flush out the negative with positive words of encouragement and enlightenment if I was to ever move forward. I knew that if I could change my thought pattern then I could ultimately change the course of my life. I had to dispel every negative word that I had ever heard spoken over my life from childhood straight through to adulthood; words spoken into my hearing about my birth, existence, worth and abilities.
Maybe you are battling with the opinions of others today and it has held you captive to stagnation and even setbacks. I encourage you today to self evaluate your situation and make the steps in the right direction by discerning the voices around you. What and who you choose to listen to will determine your thought pattern which will eventually determine the course of action that you take for your life.