Mental Barriers to God's Voice, Part 1
by Charles R. Swindoll
When the world tries to squeeze us into its mold, God's message gets muffled. Our minds pick up on the strong secular signals so easily that we subconsciously tune Him out. It comes naturally.
In ancient days, a city, in order to prosper, needed a security system to protect it from enemy attack. Of primary importance was a wall which restrained enemy troops from invading and which also served as a major means of defense in battle. Guards needed to be on constant watch from their sentinel posts on the wall. There needed to be towers within the city high enough for those inside to see over the wall. And finally, at the time of attack, men of military savvy and battle knowledge were needed to give orders and to direct the troops in the heat of combat from within the protection of those towers.
Paul drew a series of analogies from that familiar scene of his day . . . but remember, he's not dealing with a city but rather with our minds. The passage in 2 Corinthians 10:1–7 sets forth a vivid description of the mental barriers that block out God's directives and His counsel. Look closely. Paul uses four terms that we need to understand. If you have a pencil handy, circle each in your Bible: fortresses . . . speculations . . . lofty thing . . . thought.
As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us (biblical information on servanthood, for example), He runs up against our "wall," our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. For some, it's prejudice. With others, it's limited thinking or a negative mentality. Whatever it is, it's a huge mental barrier that resists divine input just as firmly as a massive stone wall once resisted invading troops.
We all have our fortresses. And occasionally we get downright obnoxious as we operate under the control of our "walled fortress." Need a good example?
A vagrant was looking for a handout in a picturesque old English village. Hungry almost to the point of fainting, he stopped by a pub bearing the classic name,Inn of St. George and the Dragon.
"Please, ma'am, could you spare me a bite to eat?" he asked the lady who answered his knock at the kitchen door.
"A bite to eat?" she growled. "For a sorry, no-good bum—a foul-smelling beggar? No!" she snapped as she almost slammed the door on his hand.
Halfway down the lane the tramp stopped, turned around, and eyed the words,St. George and the Dragon. He went back and knocked again on the kitchen door.
"Now what do you want?" the woman gruffed.
"Well, ma'am, if St. George is in, may I speak with him this time?"
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.