At a seminar
The Lie
That I Can't Speak

This is the story about of one of the lies from the devil that God has revealed to me that I have believed.

    For many years, I had a reoccurring nightmare.  The scenes changed, but the theme was the same.  In my dreams, I would be in church or an large auditorium and I would be the speaker.  I would be excited that there was a good size group of people and excited about sharing the truth of the gospel.  However, when I began to speak, most everyone would either ignore what I was preaching or get up and leave.  I would awake from the dream thinking, "What is so wrong with me that no one wants to hear me speak?"  The enemy attacks us at the point of our identity.  About four years ago, after much prayer, I came to the realization that the nightmares were lies from the devil telling me that I couldn't speak.  I made a commitment to the Lord that I would speak as God gave me opportunity whether anyone listened to me or not.  I would speak and leave the results in God's hands.  The next time that I had that bad dream and awoke, I told the devil that he is a liar and that I was going to be obedient to God to speak and leave the results in God's hands.  Reader, I haven't had those nightmares since that time!

    Quite often the enemy looks for an open door to enter.  He will use any door that he can get his foot into. He will even use well meaning people who are really close to our lives, people like our parents and peers.  So where did this lie come into my life?   I began this year, 2011, to ask God about the door and God revealed the door that was opened.

    The enemy who is a liar and often establishes a lie in our lives when we are just children.  As I prayed, I remembered having difficulty as a small child saying several words.  In stead of saying "jello" I would say "yello".  In stead of saying "mother", I would say "moher" leaving out the "t" sound.  The way that my mother, Aunt, and grandmother dealt with that was to tease me about it.  I tried hard, but just couldn't seem to get it correct.  What lie did I hear from the the devil through this experience?  "You can't speak right!"  This was the door.  

    Furthermore, the enemy often uses other events to reinforce the lie that has been established.  Around the first or second grade of school, I was in a school play that the school put on for the local community.  My part was rather small, just a few word, but when I was go on the stage, I became very fearful and began to cry.   The teacher in desperation went to get principal. He came and threatened me with a spanking if I didn't go out on the stage.  In great fear, I managed to do my part. This experience probably introduced a deeper fear of speaking.  

    I don't remember just when, but as a child, I began to stutter quite a bit.  Of course, my parents were concern about my speaking, so they had me to take a speech classes in junior high and high school.  I remember having some major problems in the classes.  It was a bad experience.  This reinforced the lie, "I can't speak."

    In college, I again was encouraged by my parents to take a speech class and did so.  On one occasion, I was to do a ten minute speech.  I got up to speak before about thirty students, but went totally blank about half way through my speech.  The professor had me to stand there for some time until I could remember enough to finish my speech.  So now, "I have become a failure in speaking before a group of people."

    Later, while in college, God called me into pastoral ministry.   While I was in seminary, I had to preach before about thirty-five other ministerial students.   The students as well as the professor were to critique whoever spoke.  I had listened closely to what happened to other students so that I wouldn't make the same errors.   I thought I did fairly well, however, of course, I still got criticized. What is the expression?  "You can't win for losing."  Have you ever believed that lie?   I have.  That was another lie that had actually entered into my life during high school when a coach told me that when I lost a boxing match in Physical Education.

    As a minister, I forced myself to speak even though I was afraid to speak.  My fear of speaking may have been one of the factors why I became sick and had to resign my first pastorate.  I had heard the expression that it was "normal" to be fearful when speaking before a group.  So again, I came to believe that lie also.  Again, I shook hands with the enemy in agreement. Not many years ago, the topic of public speaking came up in a men's Bible study.  I made the statement that it was "normal" to be afraid to speak before people.  Much to my surprise, my pastor said, it was not normal for him to be afraid to speak.  Guess what?  I had come to believe the lie that it was normal for everyone, including me, to be fearful in speaking.  That gave validity to my fear of speaking.

    I used to do a home Bible studies alternating teaching with a friend.  He began going through a divorce and began to push away from our friendship.  Some years passed and he remarried. I tried to get reconnected back with him.  One day we met and had lunch together.  I was anxious to hear what God was doing in his life and to share with him what God was speaking to me.  I shared with him that I felt that God was wanting me to speak more.  When I shared this with him, he put on his prophetic cap and said, "God told him to tell me that I was not to speak, but only to write."  I politely told him that I thought that he had missed God on this one.  He responded that God had told him that I didn't receive what he told me, that he was to break fellowship with me.  I could hardly believe what he said and to this day, he doesn't fellowship with me.

    About eight years ago, I was praying about doing some brief counseling spots on the local Christian radio station.  I prayed and believed that God said that I was to do the radio spots; however, I decided to bounce the idea off my wife.  Her response was, "No one wants to hear you on the radio." She wasn't trying to be mean to me, but realized that I was not a real eloquent speaker.  I pressed through and having been doing the spots now for about seven plus years.  My wife also, has changed her mind.  God is not looking for the perfect person, but one who is available.  His grace makes up for the difference.
    I would not say that I am a real eloquent speaker today, but that doesn't matter.  Moses also declared that he had literally a "thick tongue".  "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue"  (Exodus 4:10).  Now look at God's response.  "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" (Exodus 4:11-12).  Paul put it this way, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty"  (I Corinthians 1:27).

    We are not only to recognize the lies that the enemy brings into our lives, but we are also to RENOUNCE them and REPLACE them with the truth of God's Word.  In counseling, I often pitch out the question, "What does God say about that in His Word."   The Bible doesn't say, "Basil can't speak!"  It says that I can do anything that God tells me to do.  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"  (Philippians 4:13).

    If you are wrestling with a fear of speaking, consider what Jesus said.    "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you"  (John 14:26).   "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:  For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say"  (Luke 12:11-12).  

Overcoming Lies