“Self-Talk: Personally Defeating”


At Gateway Church in Austin, we kicked off our new series called “Self-Talk.”

Mental and emotional health can be fragile in these challenging days. Winning in life requires learning to overcome personally defeating thoughts. Carlos Ortiz interviews the most accurate kicker in NFL history and local U.T. legend – Justin Tucker. We can discover how to grab our thoughts and test them against what God says is true. 

Next Steps:

Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.

“Self-Talk: Personally Defeating” Next Steps

Message Video:

Message Notes from Carlos Ortiz:

Today we also begin a short series titled Self-Talk, and how we all go about processing the messages, lies, hurtful words from others, and how they impact our own life, our relationships and our spiritual growth.  So today we’re going to kick off the series by addressing self-talk and how it relates to self-sabotage.

The Bible is filled with passages that encourage, challenge and spur us on to understand how our thoughts and mind impact our decision making.  We’ll dive into this more in Week 3 of this series, but here are a few passages that come to mind.

Romans 12:1- 2 -Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Isaiah 26:3 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.

In scientific/psychological terms there may be a few reasons we allow ourselves to take on certain habits.  In the Scientific American, Dr. Ellen Hendriksen gives us 6 reasons why we self-sabotage, and why, instead of shooting for the stars, we aim straight for our foot.

  1. Worth
  2. Control
  3. Perceived Fraudulence
  4. Familiarity
  5. Handy Scapegoat
  6. Boredom

These are interesting thoughts by a pro, and scripture that addresses this issue as a real battle many of us will face.

Author Ian Morgan Cron is wrote a note of encouragement sharing a an outline for dealing with your inner critic which will be the outline for today.

  1. Recognize the script
  2. Give yourself compassion
  3. Make the choice to let it go

And I’m going to add a fourth point:

  • Count the cost of not letting it go

Romans 7: 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

When we read this passage, it’s as if Paul is following the outline we’re going to use today.

Recognize the script

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good, I start getting confused. – Romans 7:15-16

This actually reminds me of this classic comedy moment from Abbott & Costello:

It’s as if the words we tell ourself are so familiar and make sense to us, but are an actual tongue twister that we cannot actually grasp. Have you ever tried explaining to someone else what you’re thinking and it dawns on you that you might be a little crazy.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are the words you are currently telling yourself?
  • What are the lies that you are allowing yourself to put on repeat? 
  • Are we recognizing that the enemy of our soul is also at work trying to keep the script in play?

Extend Compassion to Yourself

19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. – Romans 7:19-21

Here we have Paul taking his recognition one step further.  He extends himself compassion instead of shame. He recognizes that his heart has a desire to do what is good, but that there is a battle he is facing against evil.

I know we don’t necessarily think of negative self-talk as being evil, but can I pose the thought that anything keeping us from our God intended purpose is actually a ploy from our soul’s enemy.  If we cannot truly learn to love who God has created us to be, we are unable to live out the second greatest command Jesus gave us.

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:28-31

You can’t love God who lives in you as a Christ-follower, and not love people–but there’s no closer neighbor than yourself…so if you allow self-talk to go on in your head that you know would not be a godly thing to say to another person–that’s a thought you need to reject as evil, not from God.

“God lives within, not above us. Sharing our gifts and talents with the world is the most powerful source of connection with God…Self-doubt undermines the process of finding our gifts and sharing them with the world. Moreover, if developing and sharing our gifts is how we honor spirit and connect with God, self-doubt is letting our fear undermine our faith.”


-Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Make The Choice to Let It Go

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:24-25

Paul is modeling for us the humility it takes to see our fault, extend compassion to ourselves and then bringing it to the feet of Jesus. If we recognize it, then love our self…that seems healthy, but you can get that advice from a counselor or therapist.  What makes a relationship with Jesus different is that we have a next step, handing it over to him. 

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Count the cost of NOT letting it go

I want you to imagine the words you tell yourself, and imagine those words now overflowing into your relationships, your children, grandchildren, employees, and now imagine the effect your thoughts will have on a new generation of people.

I think also–know God’s truth so we can let go of the self-talk that damages, and replace it with self talk that aligns with Truth. 

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Jesus in John 8:31

Your living small robs not only you, but those God has placed in your life to love and build up.

This is a powerful quote on its own, but when you discover the story of Howard Thurman, it becomes even more meaningful. Howard Thurman was the grandson of a woman who had been enslaved. His grandmother had a deep faith, and she instilled in young Howard that he did not have to be the victim of the racism and oppression of our world which can certainly adversely affect someone. He went on to graduate from one of the only 3 high schools in Florida at the time available for African Americans. He was the valedictorian of his college class at Morehouse and again at Rochester Seminary. He was a dean of students at Howard University before leaving his tenured position to help start the first interracial and interdenominational church in the U.S. in 1944. He then went on to become the first African American dean of students at Boston University where he became a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr.. Howard Thurman became the grandfather of the civil rights movement in our country.

Think of what our world would be like if Dr. King had not been mentored by Howard Thurman?

Now think of those God has entrusted to you. What could our world become if you mentor them in the ways of having a healthy view of themselves?

Overcoming negative self-talk and helping others do the same is what God is calling us to do.

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