The Sword

Have you ever been caught talking out loud to yourself? The truth is that all of us talk to ourselves, even if it is not out loud. As a matter of fact, the person that we all talk to the most is ourselves! Have you ever thought about that before? Every day, from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed, we are having conversations with ourselves in our heads.

Especially if you’re an introvert like me. I can become so consumed with my daily internal processing, that I might forget to talk to other people ;-).

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the importance of scripture memory.

The Israelites in the Old Testament memorized and often recited scripture. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted scripture to defeat him. The apostle Peter instructs us, “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Scripture shapes our lives and our beliefs. It is our defense against Satan and gives us the defense for the hope within us.

But lately I’ve been thinking about how we need to know scripture even as a defense against ourselves!

I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to talk myself into things. It’s not too hard to be defensive either, always sticking up for myself in my head and convincing myself that I’m not wrong. It’s easy to get frustrated with others, and it’s easy to sway between self pity and pride.

Conversations with myself are not always the most edifying. As a matter of fact, I would advise myself to not listen to myself too often. It can lead to dangerous places.

So I need scripture to be a part of my self- talk. I need it as a voice to speak back to me.

Let me give a few examples of how this has been playing out for me recently:

1. When I fall into the mindset of needing to “fix” parts of my body that birthing a child changed, or I want to hold on to my slimmer post baby bod rather than giving away my body selflessly to have more children. When I am possessive over my “me-time” and my sleep and feel resistant to giving those things up in order to grow our family. When I am having an off-day with Riley and feel like I am about to lose my mind. Or even when I get so excited about the thought of having more children that I can barely contain the anticipation and I want to be encouraged in that, I can tell myself:
Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold children are a heritage from The Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

2. When I want to just give in to doing whatever the “bleep” I want. When I become possessive over the things I do for myself. When I want to bathe in thoughts of pride or thoughts of self-pity. When I am just consumed with vanity and obsess over what I look like or what I wear. When I want to give myself all of my attention. When I want to ignore the things I have learned about nutrition and eat whatever I want instead. When I think that life is found in self exploration and self actualization rather than service, I can tell myself:
1 Timothy 5:6 “But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.”

3. When I am tempted to feel like being a stay-at-home-mom/homemaker is not valuable. When I wonder if I’m making any difference at all. When I think about how God wants me to use this calling or when I think about and plan how to spend my days, I can tell myself:
1 Timothy 5:10 “and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.”

4. When I struggle with discontentment in my heart. When I start to covet what others have. When I get greedy and want to strive for the things of the world. When I think about how I want a big house, or an SUV, or nicer clothes, or more money, I can tell myself:
1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

5. When my thoughts are consumed with fashion. When I want what I wear to create a certain identity for me. When I think that is where I attain my worth and worry about what other people think. When I use clothing as a way to make myself or see myself as “better” than others. When I want people to think a certain thing about me because of how I dress (meaning, embarrassingly, when I want others to covet what I have). When I use clothing as some sort of means to an end and am not humble in how I present myself, I can tell myself:
1 Timothy 2:9-10 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is appropriate for a woman who professes godliness– with good works.”

6. When I face opposition because of my faith in Jesus. When I am attacked (directly or indirectly) by another person. When someone hurts me intentionally. When I am mocked, made fun of, or disrespected. When others don’t understand the things I do because of my faith in Jesus, or strongly disagree with the way I live my life. When I am tempted to despair because the people pleaser in me is threatened, I can tell myself:
1 John 3:13 “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”

7. When I feel discouraged and defeated by difficult life circumstances and grieved by trials. When I get caught up in thinking about my life here and am tempted to forget about eternity, I can tell myself:
1 Peter 1:4-6 “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed on the last day. In this you rejoice, though now for awhile, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.”

And that is why scripture is called “the sword.” (Ephesians 6:17). It slashes the lies that we believe and follow, and sets our feet on the steady ground of truth.

What are some passages of scripture that you cling to?