My brother had to get an MRI last week. The technician warned him the machine was very loud—similar to a large motorcycle.
“I like motorcycles!” John told her.
Nevertheless she gave him earplugs, to block the noise as much as possible, and a set of headphones, through which he could listen to the music of his choice.
Earplugs and headphones. That’s what I need to drown out the devil’s loud voice. Sometimes he can be incredibly persistent with his irritating chatter in my spiritual ears, saying things like:
- “You are past your prime. Why bother trying to accomplish anything?”
- “Look how blessed your neighbor is. You must have upset God in some way or you’d be blessed like that, too.”
- “Can you believe how insensitive Ms. __________ is? How can she be so hurtful and not even realize it?
Wouldn’t it be nice if God handed out earplugs and headphones for our spiritual ears?
Maybe God wants us to develop some worthy habits in the process of manufacturing our own auditory devices.
And how might we do that?
Earplugs could be fashioned out of gratitude. We can occupy our minds with continual rejoicing in the blessings of this moment. Then we won’t be able to hear the devil’s negative and critical comments.
Let’s see…I wonder if I could name a blessing for each of the five senses, for what I am experiencing right now?
- Thank you, Lord, for books and the gift of sight that allows me to read and enjoy them, as well as learn from them.
- Thank you for soft breezes that create a cheerful rustling of fall leaves.
- Thank you, Father, for the cozy warmth of my fleece jacket.
- Thank you for the nutty goodness of hazelnut coffee,
- And thank you, Lord, for the homey aroma of vanilla, coming from a nearby candle.
Oh! That was fun, and I didn’t have one negative thought during the exercise. No wonder Paul told us to rejoice always.
Alright–earplugs are in place. Now it’s time for the headphones—something worthwhile to pay attention to, that drowns out the noise of negativity and criticism.
And what could be more worthwhile than scripture, where God offers reassurance, encouragement, and strength? The psalms are a perfect place to begin:
- “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4).
- “I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 59:16).
- “Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:13-14).
And one of my favorites:
(“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength” (Psalm 89:15-17).)
Notice: We are blessed when we acclaim God. Disparaging ourselves or others, bemoaning our circumstances—even just in our thought life—is counter-productive. It is worship that transforms our minds and spirits.
So let’s insert those earplugs and pop on those headphones! The difference will be remarkable.
(Photo and art credits: www.cancerresearchuk.org; http://www.cozyhearthcandles.com; annemateer.com.)