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The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 08-27-00

The doctrine of mental attitude sins.

We continue in our study of Philippians chapter 3 with verse 15.

PHI 3:15 "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;"

We know that there is not a perfect one among us, (experientially that is). However, a lot of believers actually begin to "think" that they are perfect in some areas. They think they're going forward but they're not. They think that they have made good positive decisions, but they haven't. It all begins because they have the wrong mental attitude and this is carrying them backwards not forwards. As long as this type of individual remains arrogant and refuses to admit their negative decisions they will live using the arrogant skills: Self-justification, Self-deception, and Self-absorption.

Paul warned us about this in the last days when he said in 2Ti 3:1-7 "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men [believers] will be lovers of self [the three arrogant skills], lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful [lack of capacity], unholy, unloving, implacable, malicious gossips, without self-control [no virtue in control of the soul], brutal, not lovers of intrinsic good, treacherous, thoughtless, pumped up with arrogance, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; who adhere to a superficial form of the spiritual life, but they have denied its power; consequently avoid such persons as these. For among them are those who creep into homes and seduce silly women overwhelmed by their sins, led on by multifarious lusts, always learning but never able to come to a epignosis knowledge of the truth."

PHI 3:15 is really going to focus in on the importance of our mental attitude.

Our mental attitude is where we develop proper motivation and it also where we do most of our sinning. These mental attitude sins include arrogance, pride, jealousy, implacability, bitterness, vindictiveness, inordinate ambition and inordinate competition, all motivational sins, and sinful thoughts such as fear, guilt, worry, anger, judging, hatred, even murder. These sins can destroy character, and our lives. Since character is the result of our mental attitude and how we spend our time, these sins are very important to understand.

Arrogance is the antithesis of grace, it is total blindness to the grace of God. Arrogance is synonymous with vanity, that empty pride in regard to one's person, attainments, or possessions coupled with an excessive desire to be noticed. A lust for attention, approval or praise from others. Arrogance deceives its victims, JER 49:16, and will bring dishonor in your life, PRO 11:2. Arrogance causes self-destruction, PRO 16:18, all of that takes place in the mental attitude.

Pride is defined by inordinate self-esteem, by conceit and a pre-occupation with self. Along with arrogance, it is what motivated Satan and the fallen angels to rebel. It is also what motivated the woman in the garden to sin. It is a rejection of authority.

Jealousy is older than the human race and existed in eternity past when Lucifer, the son of the morning or Satan, became jealous of God. The first case of jealousy in the human race surfaced when Cain became jealous and was motivated to kill his brother Abel. Scripture describes jealousy as cruel; SOS 8:6; filled with anger and revenge;PRO 6:34; and frustrating in PRO 27:4. Jealousy is a self-destructive mental attitude and a system of thinking from the "kosmos" or the world system. Jealousy always creates instability and disorder in the life of the believer. Jealousy is the worst of all the mental attitude sins because it is the strongest, PRO 27:3-4.

So great was the sin of jealousy in Israel that a special offering was made for it, NUM 5:11-31. It is very difficult to get over jealousy, but we allow people to make us jealous.

Implacability takes root in the mental attitude of the soul where the person has no appreciation for life. An implacable person is one who is impossible to please or satisfy. PRO 27:20 "Death are hell are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of an implacable person ever satisfied." The aim of life is appreciation, especially for all that God has done for you. There is no sense of not appreciating things and there is no sense in having more of them if you don't appreciate what you have right now. It is better to appreciate things that we cannot have than to have things that we are not able to appreciate. Many people are so caught up in their destination that they forget to appreciate their journey, especially the graciousness and the love of people that they meet along the way.

Bitterness manifests itself in severity of temper, biting sarcasm, a painful inward affliction, and a deep distress of mind. It defiles others as well as self. Every believer who does not have a personal relationship with God eventually will become a walking timebomb ready to explode. When we allow bitterness to cause us to explode, either inwardly or overtly, we hurt our own life. We call this self-induced misery. Harboring bitterness is a very serious spiritual problem. A problem which is not correctable apart from personal love for God and impersonal unconditional love for all mankind. HEB 12:15 "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;" Being rejected is a strong reason for bitterness in the lives of most believers especially in marriage according to COL 3:19 "Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them." Bitterness produces a complaining attitude, and no one likes to be around a complainer. People who habitually complain are bitter people and is simply an outward effect of an inward sin. Bitterness makes a person miserable.

Vindictiveness is where revenge sets in. Getting even, vindictive people are obsessed with seeking revenge. Vindictiveness is marked by or resulting from a desire to hurt and be spiteful. Vindictive people have a disposition to retaliate for wrongs, real or imagined. Their impulse is to try and inflict suffering or punishment as retribution for evil or an injury, real or imagined. They are ugly people to be around because even their countenance testifies against them. This sin is also accompanied by jealousy, PRO 6:34.

Inordinate ambition and inordinate competition are also mental attitude sins. There's nothing wrong with ambition or competition but when a person is obsessed with them, there's everything wrong. They're always competing and comparing with others. It is a lust that drives people crazy. 2CO 10:12 "For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding."

Fear is a whole system of sins which include worry, anxiety, insecurity, incapability of doctrinal application, and therefore inability to use the problem solving devices. Fear is an emotional sin and it torments the lives of others.1JO 4:18 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." When we have fear, we can be punished three ways, by ourself (self-induced misery), by our peers, and then by God. Mature believers are not afraid.

For the believer who lives in a state of fear, the fear increases like a disease. As the cancer of fear grows, that individual becomes intimidated by life.

Guilt can be a devastating thing if it's not handled properly. Satan accuses God's people to try to make them feel guilty in REV 12:10, so that they hide from God and separate themselves from Him, GEN 3:7-10. When we fail in some facet of our life, sooner or later we have to move on. We cannot be distracted by past failures, except to learn from them, but not to blame others for them. Our spiritual life instructs us to forget the past and move toward the high ground of spiritual maturity. Past failures must never become present handicaps.

As believers, we need to learn how to handle the past including how to handle that great villain called guilt. The essential element for living in freedom from guilt is understanding grace. If we do not realize that God's justice and righteousness are completely satisfied and that our relationship with Him is based upon the accomplishments of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, guilt will torment us until it drives us from the presence of the Lord.

Worry is a mental attitude sin in which there is soulish torment or anxiety regarding anything in life. It is a disquieting and painful state of mind involving undue concern over something in life. Worried people anticipate the worst, and so worry becomes apprehension or anticipation of danger, misfortune, trouble, or uncertainty. Worry is a state of restlessness and agitation, producing mental disturbance, uneasiness, foreboding, anxiety, and painful uncertainty. Worry is a destroyer of the soul and if unchecked, it results in mental illness. Worry in the mind causes shock to the body, PRO 12:25 "Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad." We are commanded to stop worrying, LUK 12:29 "And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying."

Anger is a mental attitude sin which expresses antagonism, hatred, exasperation, resentment, irrationality. It can be mental or emotional or both. Anger motivates jealousy and cruelty, PRO 27:4. A person can't be angry without being cruel and unfair. As with all mental attitude sins, anger results in self-induced misery, PRO 22:8.

Judging is a mental attitude sin as well. You don't have to verbalize judging for it be a sin. MAT 7:1-3 is the practical application to your life, "Judge not, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you again."

Even God doesn't plan to judge a man till the end of his days, why should we?

Hatred is also a mental attitude sin, 1Jo 4:20 "If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar;" Humble people haven't time to hate anyone, true humility avoids hatred. In fact, life is too short to hate anyone and if you hate anyone, this verse says you do not love God. Hatred is self-punishment.

Hatred paralyzes life while virtue-love releases it.

Hatred confuses life while virtue-love clarifies it.

Hatred darkens life while virtue-love illuminates it.

Hatred is a boomerang which is sure to hit you harder than the one at whom you throw it.

Murder can also be a mental attitude sin, 1JO 3:15 "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."

Our mental attitudes control our lives. Once we believe that all things work together for good for those who love God, then we accept each experience that we face as something that ultimately leads to our own good. This is a correct attitude to adopt and we must be able to see it in that light. Whenever we are in conflict with someone or facing a situation, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging our relationship or deepening it, our mental attitude.

Mental attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, either for good or for bad. One of the greatest discoveries of Bible doctrine is that we can alter our lives by altering our mental attitudes. Success or failure depends more upon mental attitude than upon anything else in life.

Our life is determined not so much by what life brings to us but by the mental attitude we bring to life. There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference, and that difference is mental attitude.

Mental attitude can keep us going or hinder our progress.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the mental attitude we will embrace for that day, we are in charge of our mental attitudes.

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