This sermon was delivered to to congregation at Trinity United Methodist Church in Youngstown, Ohio on February 2, 1995. Dad also shared this message with the New Springfield Men’s Club, the Sugargrove Masonic Lodge and the Poland UMC Breakfast Club. It is based upon Old Testament scripture from Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 and New Testament scripture from James, 3: 4-6 and 8-10.

James 3/4 – “Behold the ships – though they are so great and are driven by strong winds…they are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

James 3/5 – “The tongue is but a small part of the body, yet it boasts of great things. The forest is set aflame by a small fire.

James 3/6 – “The tongue is a fire set among our members so that which defiles the entire body and sets on fire the course of our life.

QUESTION – Is there anyone here today who has never talked to themselves?

To understand what happens when we talk to ourselves we should have a small understanding of the workings of the conscious and the subconscious mind.

The dictionary defines CONSCIOUS as: “having an awareness. Able to feel and think. Awake, Aware of oneself as a thinking being. Intentional thought or action.”

And, according to that same dictionary, SUBCONSCIOUS is “occurring with little or no conscious perception on the part of the individual; Mental processes and reactions of which one is not aware.”

Here Dad evidently spoke extemporaneously for a few moments.
His manuscript contains only these notes:


  • Driving a car and a child runs out in front of you.
  • Large ship – ocean liner, battle ship, aircraft carrier.
  • Joe Neanderthal = beast
  • Modern Joe = No stress


In that same vane – All control of your physical body and well being begins with you taking control of your thoughts and directions which are held in your conscious mind.

There is a tremendous difference in function between the conscious and the subconscious minds. The role of the conscious mind is to observe and take in information, analyze it so as to decide what action, if any, should be taken. The conscious mind is constantly making instantaneous “yes” or “no” decisions.

The subconscious mind, on the other hand, accepts decisions and directions from the conscious mind and acts on them instantaneously. The key is to take full control of your conscious mind and keep it totally focused on what is positive.

In Proverbs 17/ 22 we read, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. But a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Again and again throughout the scriptures we are admonished to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. We are to keep focused on God and His Son Jesus. The role of the subconscious mind is to make sure that we always think, behave and act in a manner consistent with the information accepted from the conscious mind as good, positive and true.

We think in word symbols. For example, think about what these words mean…

  • HOT
  • FAST
  • BIG
  • DOWN
  • UP

These words alone dredge up conceptions, positive or negative in our minds depending upon our experience with them. This silent thought is equivalent to talking to yourself. Sometimes, when you’re alone you may speak the words aloud. You are literally talking to yourself. Your thoughts, aloud or silent, make you what you are. They form you as seen by others.

More important than what others say to you is what you say to yourself. Your life is shaped by the way you habitually “talk” to yourself. You can talk yourself up or down…into happiness or unhappiness…failure or success…into heaven or hell right here on earth.

Listen to this poem by Helen Steiner Rice entitled, “A Sure Way to Have a Good Day”

Happiness something you create in your mind,

It’s not something you search for and seldom find.

It is just waking up in the morning and beginning the day

by counting your blessings and kneeling to pray.

It’s giving up thoughts that breed discontent,

and accepting what comes as a gift heaven sent.

It’s giving up wishing for things that are not,

and making the best of whatever you’ve got.

It’s knowing that life is determined or you and for us,

and performing our tasks without fume or fuss.

For it’s by accomplishing what God gives us to do

that we find real contentment and happiness too.

When you talk to yourself in word symbols of self pity, defeat, cynicism, futility, resignation, fear, despair, hopelessness, you tear yourself apart and literally shatter your well-being.

But, you can transform your life by simply switching the emphasis of your inner conversation to word symbols that lift and inspire. St. Paul said it well, “Be you changed by the renewing of your mind.”  Jesus said it to the learned scholar priest in the sanhedrin when he told Nichosemus that he had to be born again to inherit the kingdom. He had  to change is thinking.

You have the power within you right now, this very minute to talk strength into your being so you can have the courage and confidence to stand up to life’s trials and tribulations.

You can talk yourself out discouragement and despair by taking an extended inventory of your many blessings and reciting them to yourself.

You can talk yourself into accepting life’s hardships and handicaps in a new light and see them as a chance to endure them with a gallant spirit. You can talk yourself into seeing your duties and responsibilities to God’s Kingdom and His church…this church in a new light with untold opportunities and rewards.

You can talk to yourself about your dreams, your hopes and your aspirations for yourself, for your children and for your grandchildren. You can positively convince yourself that there is a place for you in God’s plan and there is meaningful work for you to do. Whether you believe it or not, the way you talk to yourself has a dynamic effect and power for influencing your life and the lives of your family and friends. Cicero gave us all this thought, “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”

Talking to yourself provides a self-concept which is the combination of your sense of self esteem and self worth. Your strong, positive self concept should be based on your actual achievements, not on ego. If you think you have a low or negative self concept, start today to feed your subconscious mind strong, positive healthy messages.

The role you are playing here on earth is more important than you currently believe. Sometimes it takes only a slight shift in attitude to really appreciate yourself. Talking positively to yourself works wonders in this area.

Children are great self talkers. They have open imaginations that turn big cardboard boxes into forts, castles or ships that give them great joy as they constantly talk to themselves weaving a wondrous story about adventures into the world of imagination.

Your mind is bound only by your own private innermost preconceptions and opinions. Remember. All invention comes from the human mind. You can talk to yourself with big positive word symbols and thoughts and turn your little world around and upside down. You can rotate your life 90 degrees and look at everything from a totally new vantage point. The inner frontiers of your mind are boundless.

Your happiness depends on you. When you are unhappy, only you can change that. You can live and come to life, or exist and rust right where you are.

What’s your attitude toward what’s facing you today? Does every solution to your problems and frustrations seem wrong? If so, then you need to create a positive “self talking” attitude of faith that convinces you that with God all things are possible. Your positive attitude of faith can turn your problems, your hurts, your pains and the motivation in your life into wonderful opportunities for fulfillment and enrichment in your life.

So keep this thought in mind…You are a living being created by God, and that includes your mind. You are His child, and He wants the best for you. But, He has given you the power of decision. You can make the decision right here and now to talk to yourself about having a new, renewed faith in the love of God and His Son Jesus who died an agonizing death on a cruel cross for the complete redemption of all of your sins.

And, after you have this talk with yourself affirming that Jesus is your Savior and the guiding light in your life, you will come to see that the beauty, the glory and wonder of all of God’s creation glows with a new radiance.

Now, that’s advancing the art of talking to yourself to the positive, healthful ultimate. Let us pray about it…

A closing prayer…
Father, we use the minds you have given us in so many ways. Instill in us the positive persuasion to constantly talk to ourselves in positive word symbols. Help us to transform these thoughts into positive action as we work for Your Kingdom here in this church and wherever we go.