July 15, 2010

Martha Peace on Thoughts & Attitudes

If you struggle with a bad attitude more often than you would like (like me) then the following excerpt may put it in perspective. One of the most impacting things I've learned from this book is that our thoughts have a direct correlation to our attitudes. (That should be a no-brainer, right?!) If our thoughts are holy, good, pure, honorable, positive, etc, then our attitude will follow suit. If not, then the opposite happens. Taking our thought lives captive to the obedience of Christ is the first crucial step toward gaining victory over our attitudes. Remember, God is HOLY and for just one, single, solitary sin Adam and Eve were cast out of God's presence and we find ourselves in our current sinful, "dead in trespasses" state and pass it on to our progeny. It is a serious matter to honor and obey God in this way and if you haven't committed your thought life to the Lord Jesus Christ, I commend you to repent now.

The battle that God's soldiers fight is for their minds to think the way that God would have them think - taking their wrong thoughts captive out of respect and obedience to their Lord, Jesus Christ. Thoughts, ideas, speculations, reasonings, philosophies, and false religions are our battle. It is a battle that is daily and ongoing until we go to be with the Lord. It is a battle that is fought by means of God's power through prayer and study of the Scriptures. The results are a renewed mind that thinks rightly, thus taking "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

One of the ways that, by God's grace, we develop a renewed mind is by preparing ahead of time what we are going to think during a difficult situation.

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13, emphasis added

The apostle Peter wrote his letter (1 Peter) to Christians scattered throughout various Roman provinces. The persecution against Christians had heated up and would eventually become extreme. There is tremendous hope in Peter's letter that must have sent their emotions soaring as he wrote about the "precious blood, as of a Lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:19). There is also a very sobering call to prepare mentally for the coming persecution and in the meantime to live a holy life entrusting their souls to their "faithful Creator in doing what s right" (1 Peter 4:19). Peter was trying to prepare them ahead of time so that when the trials came they would think righty through them and give God great glory. It was as if Peter was telling them, "I have some really bad news and you need to prepare yourself for it - great persecution is coming and God will test your faith to see if it is genuine. He will give some of you a great privilege to suffer for His sake. You need to think about this now so that you will honor our Lord when the time actually comes."

Fearful people do not trust God. Instead of thinking through a possible future difficulty "fixing their hope completely on the grace to be brought to them," they let their thoughts wallow in the negative what-ifs (1 Peter 1:13). "What if this happens? What if that happens? I won't be able to bear it. I can't take it! I just know something horrible is going to happen!!" They worry and fret and panic about things that usually don't happen. Instead they should think that if a difficult or even extreme circumstance occurs, God is all powerful and faithful to keep His promises. Therefore, they can trust God completely knowing He would give them the grace they would need if such a difficulty arose. He is so good. He will not let His children be "tempted beyond what [they] are able to bear" (1 Corinthians 10:13, adaptation added). Therefore (as Peter said), prepare your mind through trusting God, and in the meanwhile live a godly, righteous life.

Excerpt from Attitudes of a Transformed Heart by Martha Peace pages 134-135. Copyright 2002 Focus Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1-885904-28-2. 134-135.

1 comment:

The Miersma Family said...

i am reading a book by her and dr. stuart scott (a biblical counseling prof at sbts) called "the faithful parent." i totally recommend it!