The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Dr. William F. Holland Jr., minister, chaplain, and author of the column series ‘Living on Purpose’. You can read more about the Christian life and see other works by Dr. Holland at billyhollandministries.com
Someone sent me a text the other day about all the trash talking during the Super Bowl and how it seemed to bother some of the players. As a sports fan, I’ve watched the power of words throughout the years and remember that Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan just to name a couple of athletes, also used this tactic to intimidate and frustrate the opposition. The idea is to lure someone you are battling against into listening to what you are saying in order to distract and confuse them. This attempt to rattle our competitor is associated with words such as; discredit, mock, slander, belittle, discount, diminish, taunt, and disrespect. As I thought about this, the Lord reminded me how the demonic world operates in our lives every moment as the devil is the ultimate trash talker. He is always looking to attack us with false accusations with the intention of making us miserable by damaging our self-esteem.
I’m sure that most of you have experienced times of discouragement and have willingly accepted an invitation to a pity party given in your honor. I have been there plenty of times myself and during these seasons it’s difficult to even fake a smile. Within my past struggles and failures, I am learning that my attitude and outlook about who I am has everything to do with what I believe about myself. For example, if my enemy is laughing and mocking me about my inadequacy, I’m going to struggle with guilt and it will take everything I can do to keep from drowning in a sea of depression. However, if I go to God and ask Him to reveal the reality of the situation, He can open my eyes for me to see that we all make mistakes and I can simply ask Him to forgive me. When we ask God to help us and forgive us, His truth then sets us free from the agony of judgment and criticism and we can more forward in confidence and joy. The light of God’s truth and love releases us from the bondage of deception.
An important factor in discovering why we feel discouraged is to recognize who is speaking to us and what is their intention. Christ did not come to berate us, but rather He gave His life to forgive and redeem us. He wants to bring restoration and encourages us to believe that all things are possible with Him. The dark side is completely the opposite as demonic forces are relentlessly tempting us to give up and curl up in a fetal position. This is the objective of a trash talker. In Revelation 12:10, we find that one of Satan’s titles is, “accuser of the brethren” which is associated with being a prosecutor. However, Satan has no literal authority to condemn, all he can do is incriminate and the best thing we can do is ignore him. In John chapter 8, Christ talks about how he was a murderer from the beginning and there is no truth in him. In verse 44 Jesus declares, “When the devil speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Words good and bad are like seeds and we are required to take extreme caution with not only what we say but what we listen to and allow to take root in our conscience. Let us remember the enemy of our soul has literally come to steal, kill, and destroy and is most effective when he whispers his poisonous allegations. Satan will not only target us physically, but is also focused on our conscience which is directly related to our spiritual well being. If we take the bait and allow his lies to become an infection within our thinking, we are spiritually ensnared and defeated. When we realize that we are in a spiritual war and the battle is being fought within our mind, we can clearly see the vision of who we are in Christ depends on us filtering out the evil oppression and accepting the responsibility to only listen to God’s infinite truth. We can study God’s word and ask Him for stronger spiritual discernment as we are called to put on our spiritual armor and become a wise soldier for His glory. It is said, the best offense is a good defense, and we are reminded in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”