It is always there in my thoughts and it’s been there for as long as I can remember. It’s a voice that gives a running commentary on my behavior and my observations of others. It is very judgemental. It rarely has anything good to say like say “admirable” or “praiseworthy” or “lovely” per Philippians 4:8. It is generally cynical, critical and negative. Perhaps you have a similar voice in your thoughts—a voice that has been there so long that it just seems like a part of you—not at all alien; a voice so much a part of you that at times it might feel oddly comforting.
My voice even critiques sermons and the prayers of others. It is why I’m not overly fond of praying out loud or listening to others prayers. On far too many occasions I’ve thought things like, “She’s said ‘Father God’ fourteen times in two sentences. Can’t she just get on with it.” It is probably a blessing that I’m hard of hearing, as in a group setting other’s prayers are usually just an undiscernable low rumble.
I write about “The Voice” in my books The Unwelcome Blessing and Satan’s Top Ten Tricks. I believe that it might be the voice of demons. I can’t prove this of course. It is possible that it is just my own mind reacting habitually and reflexively. It is what someone termed “ANTs”—automatic negative thoughts.
I don’t worry about being possessed, as in being inhabited by demons. Those of us who have accepted Jesus and have the Holy Spirit living in us have the ultimate protection. But we are still subject to negativity and temptation and that is what “the voice” is all about. It just hovers out there in the aether infecting our thought-life. I believe it is the same voice that schizophrenics and the actively psychotic hear. In their case it is just greatly amplified and it is termed an auditory hallucination, and they are unable to see that “the voice” is just a voice in their thoughts and not reality. But, of course, even us “normals” don’t always do such a good job understanding the reality of the voice. Far too often we accept it as the truth.
It is the voice that says its okay to do unto others what was done unto us. It is the voice that calls you a dirty sinner, says you’re ugly, evil and that God could never possibly love you. It is the voice that encourages you to lie, and to hide, and to pose—never permitting your authentic self to shine thru because nobody could ever like the real you.
It is the voice that says it’s okay to lie, and to steal, and to cheat because you’ve been lied to, stolen from and cheated. It is the voice that justifies and rationalizes sin. It is the voice that says, “Just one little ole drink won’t hurt.” It is the voice that tempts us to sin and then justifies the sin—but then to make matters worse condemns us for that sin. It is the last voice that the suicide hears. It is the one that yells, “JUST DO IT, JUST DO IT!” It is the voice of the tempter, the accuser, the enemy. In Hebrew, Satan means “accuser” or “adversary.”
In the 40-days in the wilderness Jesus encountered the source of “THE Voice—the devil himself. He faced Satan’s sophistry and temptation up close and personal—Satan even cleverly misquoted scripture But Satan can only be in one place at a time and so it’s not likely that you or I will encounter him. What we get are his messages transmitted thru worker-demons, who are likely fallen angelic beings.
It has been my experience that the presence of the voice is directly proportional to my mood or my “spirits.” When I’m depressed it’s more prevalent; the more cheerful or joyous I am, the less I notice it. Also, I suspect that those who more and more display the “fruits of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22), less and less hear the voice. If you are one of those sunny characters who are perpetually in a good mood, you may have almost never heard the voice. You are very fortunate indeed—and you should thank God. But then your cross may be something as bad or worse like say having cancer, or an abusive, narcissistic spouse.
Jesus handled Satan’s voice by answering with Scripture—His Father’s holy word. That is always a good strategy. The story of the wilderness temptations and how Jesus thwarted Satan is found in Luke 4 and Matthew 4. In my book Jesus v. satan: The Message of the Wilderness Temptations I expand on the satanic temptations of materialism, power/control, and safety/trust. And, of course, I discuss how one can overcome them.
But first it is important to learn to recognize the negative commentary in one’s thoughts for what it is–essentially the voice of “the prince of the power of the air”(Eph. 2:2)—likely transmitted by demons. The voice is not you; it is what Paul calls in Romans 7:17 “sin dwelling in me.” And then after identifying it one must learn to dispute “the voice” and then ultimately overcome that voice. But what can you do if you don’t know much scripture? Well, you can always extravagantly praise Jesus. The devil and his minions definitely do not want to hear their Enemy praised. That will cause them to flee. And when they remind you of what a piece of garbage you are, you can remind them of their future—the lake of fire.
Learing to recognize and dispute “the voice” is good, but it is even better to be proactive in spiritual warfare—to be so filled with the Spirit and His gifts and His fruit that there is no space for the negative, accusatory, tempting voice to occupy. We need to fill our thoughts with the things which are true, honest, pure, just, lovely, admirable, virtuous and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8)—as St. Paul says we “should think on these things.”
You, Paul meant that for you. So think about that!