THE BIG PICTURE
Some years ago it was discovered that the new American
embassy in Moscow was so loaded with electronic listening
devices that every single conversation in the place
could be picked up and recorded by the Russians, giving
them instant access to private conversations. In fact, one
report said that the entire steel structure of the building was
like a giant antenna. Our governmental leaders were outraged,
and rightly so.
A breach in confidentiality in foreign relations can be dangerous
and costly. Private conversations are meant to be just
that . private! When privacy is invaded, something is
very wrong. When confidentiality is betrayed, sparks
begin to fly! No one wants their private conversations
We are all aware that private conversations go on between
people, but did you know there are private conversations
going on inside of you? We all talk to ourselves and carry
on private conversations in our minds. These secret conversations
we have with ourselves can be damaging or
strengthening. One thing is for sure, it's probably a good
thing there aren't electronic listening devices that can
record and play back the private conversations that run
through our mind each day.
A WIDE ANGLE VIEW
1 Describe how you felt when someone in your life took
a private conversation you had with them and made it
What impact did this have on your relationship?
A BIBLICAL PORTRAIT
Read John 8:31-32, 42-47
2 Describe the vivid and contrasting portraits of Jesus
and Satan in this passage.
3 How does Jesus challenge the belief system of the
religious leaders of His day?
How can these challenges speak to "religious" people today?
SHARPENING THE FOCUS
Read Snapshot "Secret Conversations About Your Self-Worth"
SECRET CONVERSATIONS ABOUT YOUR SELF-WORTH
Your secret conversations about your own worth or value are enormously important. If we could put
an electronic listening device on some people, we might hear something like, "Everybody looks so
normal and happy. What's the matter with me? Why don't I feel happy? Why can't I be more relaxed
and secure? It's because I'm not attractive, bright, and witty like everyone else. And I'm certainly not
as spiritual. Face it, I don't measure up. I really don't matter at all."
Many conversations like this happen in the minds of people throughout the day. In fact, some people
experience steady streams of self-talk that denigrate their self-worth day after day, week after week, month after
month, year after year. These conversations are not benign banterings; rather like a deadly cancer, they take a
Contrast the above conversation with the private conversation going on in someone else's mind: "I live my
day among countless people and yet the God of the Universe is thinking of me each moment. He knows my name. The
hairs of my head are numbered. He enjoys my fellowship, prayers, and worship. He delights in me as I walk with Him. I
can feel His smile as I seek to follow Him each day." Can you hear the difference? One conversation ends in defeat and
discouragement, the other in praise and celebration. When we think about it this way, it's easy to see how our secret
conversations about our self-worth have a powerful impact on our lives.
4 Most of us have secret conversations about our self-worth
that cover both sides of the above spectrum. If
your fellow small group members could hear your
secret conversations about your self-worth, what is
one thing they would learn about you?
5 When you have positive secret conversations about
your own self-worth, what are the sources of this
positive view of yourself?
Read Snapshot "Secret Conversations About Personal
SECRET CONVERSATIONS ABOUT PERSONAL COMPETENCY
We need to be very sensitive about our private conversations when it comes to the area of personal
competency. Imagine two people driving to their first day of a new job. One is in the car saying to
himself, "This is going to be a disaster. I'm in way over my head. I'm going to wind up blowing this
thing. I never do anything well. I make stupid mistakes. I wonder how long this job will last?
Probably as long as my last one."
A woman is a mile back on the same expressway holding her own private conversation. She's saying, "You
know, first days are always awkward. But that's life. The awkwardness will pass. It always does. I can probably learn
the ropes with a little time, and all I have to do is give it my best shot. I'll probably do just fine, especially with
help from above. I'm going to trust You today, Lord, and I know that You never fail."
Which of these two people has a better chance of succeeding? When it comes to personal competency
matters, self-talk is critical!
6 Choose one of the areas listed below and give an
example of what a negative secret conversation about
personal competency might sound like:
Going out on a first date
Starting a small business
Being asked to serve in a church ministry
Going back to school for additional education
What can you do to fight against the natural tendency to have
these kinds of debilitating negative secret conversations?
7 Using the same area you chose above, give an example
of what a positive secret conversation about personal
competency might sound like.
What can you do to develop a more positive internal dialogue
about your personal competency?
Read Snapshot "Secret Conversations About Spiritual Matters"
SECRET CONVERSATIONS ABOUT SPIRITUAL MATTERS
As in personal matters, self-talk can also flow freely, and often unconsciously, in the area of spiritual
matters. The importance of spiritual self-talk cannot be overemphasized. The quality of your life-and
perhaps your eternal destiny-hinges upon your private spiritual conversations and the subsequent
conclusions you come to in those internal dialogues.
Some people talk to themselves with real honesty. They say, "I know I have sinned against God and
have made a mess of my life. I also know I am lost without a Savior to make things right between me and
God." These people cry out, "Jesus, thank You for giving Your whole life for me. You have offered me a new beginning
and forgiveness for all my sins. Without You I am lost, and because of You I have been found." This is the most
important private conversation we can ever have.
Others fight the truth and continue to tell themselves lies. They say, "There is no God. There is no heaven or
hell. I won't ever be judged for the life I have lived and the decisions I have made." Sometimes they even try to
comfort themselves by saying, "If there is a God and a heaven, I'm sure things will work out in the end. I've been a
pretty good person." These private conversations can be more costly than most people ever dream. They are secret lies
which keep people from recognizing their need for a Savior.
8 If you have come to the point where you have told the
truth to God and acknowledged your need of His saving
power in your life, how has this spiritual truth-telling
transformed your life?
9 If you have not come to the point where you have
admitted to God that you need a Savior, what is standing
in the way?
PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE PICTURE
1. Take time to reflect on the thoughts that pass through
your mind in the course of a day. Try to become keenly
aware of any private conversations you are having.
2. Make sure everything you are saying to yourself is truthful,
no matter how much it hurts or how uncomfortable
or exposed you feel. Evaluate your private conversations
about self-worth, personal competency, and spiritual
3. Locate any lie that finds its way into your internal dialogues.
Then label it as a lie! A lie cannot be tolerated. It needs to
4. Once the lie is exposed and labeled for what it is, it needs
to be renounced and replaced with the truth of God. Study
the Bible to discover God's truth. If you need help in a
specific area, ask another follower of Christ to help you
discover God's truth in this area of your life.
The Truth Will Set You Free!
Take time in the coming week to memorize this passage from
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to
my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know
the truth, and the truth will set you free."