Most people are very vulnerable to verbal attacks. They can be sudden and relentless, directed at us like a sword to pierce our hearts. They can be insidiously subtle, veiled in back-handed comment, delivered with a smile. They can contain truth; but when said without any hint of grace, they do damage. Often attacks begin in our own head. We can spend much time and energy trying to silence internal whispers that accuse! It’s an epidemic crippling many.
Consider this account I found recently of a non-Christian man who detailed his self-accusing voice.
“As a young boy, I remember distinctly the sensation of “feeling like I should be having a feeling.” I was seven when my father divorced my mother. He then went to work overseas. My father was the source of emotional warmth in our family. When he left, I spent years grieving his loss. Then, at some point, those emotions fell silent, creating a blank numb space. And below that? Something very bad was hiding. I call that place the basement.
Whatever emotions I was feeling, I was left to process in isolation. The end result was, I simply could not identify any of the emotions I was feeling; with the possible exception of a consistent baseline of self loathing.
I recall sitting in the pew at my grandmother’s funeral, witnessing myself attempting to cry. As if I was standing next to my own loss, detached, two steps removed. What should I feel? How should I feel it? Why can’t I feel anything? I stood there watching myself doing a vague performance of grief, feeling nothing. But there was something there. Just out of my line of sight. A place I had worked so hard not to see that I couldn’t look towards it now if I wanted to. A place of loss and loneliness that I simply walled off, reducing it to a dull ache. For decades I simply didn’t look. To this day, I still don’t want to look. The result? Ten years of binge drinking as a young adult; struggling to figure out how to present myself in relationships. Ten more years after that of lurching through emotional chaos, struggling day by day to make my way back up into some kind of emotional self awareness. Decades more of seeking a foothold and then beginning to sort out my past. To this day, its terrifying to “go down to the basement.” There’s a seven year old down there in the dark and he’s not happy. He’s full of rage and despair and he holds me responsible. “Why didn’t you do something?,” he screams at me. “Why didn’t you fight?” “Why didn’t you fight them back, hurt them back?”
I commend this man’s honesty. Though it’s a sad account because he admits he hasn’t found resolution. He admits decades lost, choosing self-destructive activities to drown out the accusations. (note: Pray for this man. If any man reading this post might feel led to reach out to him, please contact me. I have his email and could reach out; but prefer a Christian man to do so).
Now for the believer, the voice of the accuser is also active, yet the setting changes. In Zechariah 3, we see God is present and responsive when his servant is under attack. I love this account. There are deep revelations detailed.
Think about this, Zechariah is allowed to see how a fellow servant of God is being attacked while in God’s presence. Zechariah was head of a priestly family and Joshua was the high priest in the temple at the time. Zechariah is given spiritual vision to see Joshua standing in front of the Angel of the LORD, with Satan at his right hand accusing him.
Satan’s accusations are not detailed; but the LORD’s response is. The LORD rebukes Satan not once, but TWICE. The rest of the time, the LORD speaks only to Joshua and others present. Who are the others? They seem to be fellow associates of Joshua (Joshua 3:8).
I wonder if Zechariah wrestled with what God said in the vision. God did not use a vision that described an animal sacrifice to cleanse Joshua (which would have made sense to him under the sacrificial system of worship in place). Instead, God cleansed Joshua on the basis of His Word and authority only. It’s powerful. “Take off his filthy clothes.” God says. He directs this command to associates of Joshua. Then he turns to Joshua and says, “See, I have taken away your sin; and I will put fine garments on you.” God makes a new way… God in his mercy personally takes away sin and cleanses his servant, clothing him with righteousness. AWESOME!
Despite this truth, too frequently, when believers hear satan's influence whispering lies, we keep the accusatory voice to ourselves and struggle alone. I believe Zechariah 3 contains a great encouragement. We are to ask God to see what Zechariah saw. Do we see our fellow “Joshua’s” silenced by a voice of condemnation and shame?
To the "Joshua's" in our midst, OPEN UP. Ask God to bring you into safe fellowship with whom you can share. Those fellow believers are meant to surround you with prayer and proclaim over you that God has snatched you from eternal fire, washed you clean by the blood of Christ, clothing you with His righteousness. You cannot be snatched out of his hand. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Good Shepherd states it twice for emphasis, see John 10 verses 28 and 29. No one has power to snatch you out of His hand!
Note, there is no longer a human priest system for atonement. Joshua was high priest in Zechariah 3; but now Christ is THE High priest, inferring upon all believers spiritual kingship and priestly authority. We’ve now been raised with Him to the right hand of God. We now sit with Him in the Heavenly realms. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ, allowed to boldly approach his throne to entreat him for mercy, grace, and help in our times of need. As far as East is from West, so far He has removed your sin from his sight. He has disarmed satanic rule, triumphing over wicked rule by the cross! See Colossians 2:9-15, Revelation 1:5-6, Ephesians 1:19-23, Ephesians 1:3, Hebrews 4:14-16, Psalm 103:11-13.
Next time you hear an accusing voice, envision the Heavenly scene. Get it out of your head and take it into God’s presence. You are now Joshua in that scene. Ask God to open your spirit up to envision and hear Him rebuking satan on your behalf. Ask others to affirm in prayer that you have been snatched away by Christ’s loving mercy when the voice of the accuser is attacking. Confess to others. It brings a promise of healing (James 5:16-20). Ask for strength and obedience to follow the Good Shepherd and abide in his ways and life.
In the meditation session on February 19th, you will be seeing yourself as one of God’s sheep. He has many good reasons for paralleling our human nature to this animal. Certain situations need to be created by the Shepherd for his sheep to be able to rest, renew, thrive, and follow His voice. You will be guided through those situations. Expect the Holy Spirit to reveal areas you need his help and healing. Expect Him to transform places inside you that need his life and power. Come into His presence; it is the only true place of REST and RENEWED LIFE! Sign up on the Calendar page.
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Into the Waters Ministry is a 501(C)3 public charity. Our mission is to inspire you to linger longer with God, to draw near and know Christ. For those willing, it is a place of supernatural hope and healing. I know this first hand. My name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 20+ year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and receiving His life in greater measure! I've experienced radical healing in mind, body, and spirit and believe God for more! I long for others to position themselves for the same! Into the Waters' resources help you spend quality time with God to enter His rest and receive His divine provision. Let us help you experience more of God! Read the blogs, try the exercises, participate in online sessions! His promises for life and wholeness are offered to all! But you have to say "Yes!"