Do you ever talk to yourself? I do. In fact, talking to yourself is a universal activity and even has a special name. It’s called “private speech” and some psychologists dedicate their entire lives to studying this phenomena. Before going further, I’m not talking about an individual walking down the street yelling at clouds, swatting at imaginary creatures or the demons of his own making because of alcohol and drugs. No, I’m talking about the “private speech” that encourages and challenges or at times, unfortunately, berates and discourages.
Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen reports that in a study on private speech in adults, participants learned 6 different computer tasks of varying degrees of difficulty. Every single one of the adults in the study talked to themselves at least once during the tasks and 80% of them talked to themselves during all 6 tasks. Concerning “private speech” Hendriksen adds, “You’re simply thinking out loud, which is not only normal, but beneficial.” Even God encourages “private speech.”
In the first chapter of Joshua we find God’s instructions to the successor of Moses. Joshua 1:8 states,
“This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”
I want to focus on the word “meditate.” The Hebrew word for meditate is “hagah” which means to “mutter, murmur, to utter, or speak.” Often times when hearing the word “meditate” we think of a person sitting Indian style with elbows resting on the knees, index fingers and thumbs touching, softly humming. In Joshua 1:8, God commands Joshua to meditate on His Law day and night. Can’t you imagine Israel’s leader speaking God’s Word aloud to himself as he readied to cross the Jordan into the Promise Land or before marching around the intimidating walls of Jericho? I can hear him “private speaking” this word of encouragement:
“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”
On many occasions I find myself quoting Scriptures aloud, especially when facing unpleasant circumstances or tasks, or when tackling a problem that requires supernatural intervention. One of my favorites is
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
According to God, we’re to meditate (mutter, utter, speak) His Word day and night. And what’s the benefit? We’re told in Romans that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.” Whenever we quote His word aloud to ourselves our faith grows stronger. “Private Speech” grows our faith muscles and a strong faith is necessary in this evil day and age. In fact, the next time someone notices your lips moving and believes you’re conversing with yourself, inform that individual,
“I’m not crazy. I’m working out.”
Keep talking. Grow those faith muscles!