The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 09-10-00
The doctrine of mental attitude sins. Part 2. The goal is a personal relationship with God.
We have been noting that our mental attitude is one of the most dangerous areas of our life, especially toward ourselves. The danger is that some think more highly of themselves than what they ought to, ROM 12:3 "For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;"
Others think more lowly of themselves in the sense of not understanding passages like 1CO 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am,"
This is the old sin nature influencing thought so that sin, human good and evil are launched from your thinking. This battle is described for us in a phenomenal way by the apostle Paul in Rom 7:14-25, which should set us straight as far as our relationship with God is concerned and our attitude toward ourselves. Our mental attitude is where we develop proper motivation, it also where we do the most sinning.
We were born into the slave market of sin, born slaves to the Old Sin Nature and the only time that we will ever be free from this slavery is not at salvation but when we are consistently functioning under perception, metabolization and application of doctrine. We know this because of passages like 1JO 1:8-9 "If we say [assert] that we have no sin nature, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth or doctrine is not in us."
1JO 1:9 "If we acknowledge [name and cite] our sins, He is faithful and righteous, with the result that He forgives us our sins [known sins] and purifies us from all unrighteousness [unknown sins]."
JOH 8:32 applies only to life in the Pre-Designed Plan of God "You shall know the doctrine and the doctrine shall make you free."
ROM 7:14 "For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of [or belonging to the realm of] the flesh [sin nature], sold in bondage to sin [sin nature]."
ROM 7:15-16 "For that which I am doing, I do not understand, but I am doing the very things that I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish or desire to do, I agree with the Law or the doctrine that it is good."
This is the confusion caused when you have an old sin nature which tries to control you.
ROM 7:17 "So now no longer am I the one doing it, but the sin nature which is indwelling me."
This is the right mental attitude we should have toward ourselves. This is not self-justification or an excuse for carnality but this is the beginning of a tremendous truth that can set us free from bondage to the old sin nature or the old self. The new racial species has been replaced in the Church Age by the new spiritual species. If we have the wrong mental attitude toward ourselves, we will get involved in the defense mechanisms. Defense mechanisms are designed to hide or to relieve the conflicts and stresses in the soul that cause anxiety, hysteria, fear, worry, or other categories of the emotional complex of sins. These are designed to bury any reaction, any lack of self-esteem, any explanation for impulsive behavior or failure on our part. There are many other defense mechanisms that people use.
Denial is when a person fails to acknowledge some aspect of external reality that is obvious and apparent to others, it is a false perception of reality. This false perception of reality is necessary for some people because they must be good, they must be self-righteous, they can never be wrong......they must always be right, PRO 30:11-14. The Problem Solving Devices (PSD) were created by God to handle these problems or defense mechanisms.Denial can be dealt with by PSD #1, the Rebound technique, along with PSD #4, Grace orientation.
Dissociation or withdrawal is utilized when a person doesn't want to deal with a situation. They run away and withdraw from those in the situation. A change in the environment, friends, social life, schedule, anything but dealing with the problem. This can be handled by PSD #1, Rebound technique, PSD #4, Grace orientation, PSD #5, Doctrinal orientation, PSD #8, Impersonal love for all mankind.
Isolation is used if we have the wrong mental attitude toward ourselves in which a person is unable to experience what is really happening around them or in their life. Feeling isolated from their problems because they cannot deal inwardly with their problems, they must dump part of it into the garbage can of the subconscious to isolate it from the rest of their soul. Isaiah talked about this in ISA 44:20 when he said "He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" PSD #3, The faith-rest drill and PSD #7, Personal love for God the Father, would handle this problem.
Projection will be used if we have the wrong mental attitude toward ourselves by which we take our own flaws, sins and failures, and assign or project them to others. In doing so they rid themselves of our own guilt and failures and we elevate ourselves because of the wrong mental attitude. This creates a problem in the soul which keeps out metabolized doctrine on the one hand and destroys metabolized doctrine on the other. We saw Joseph's brothers doing this in GEN 50:15 "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph should bear a grudge against us and pay us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him" PSD #4, Grace orientation, PSD #8, Impersonal love for all mankind, would solve this problem.
Rationalization is defending an action we know is not biblical but we feel we have the right to do. In this defense mechanism, we become offended easily because we do not really love the Word of God more than we love ourselves, as Psa 119:165 says "Great peace have they which love Your doctrine: nothing shall offend them." PSD #1, Rebound technique, PSD #4, Grace orientation, PSD # 5, Doctrinal orientation, would solve this problem. A positive believer who sees that doctrine has provided him with standards that teach him how to be delivered from the bondage of the sin nature.
They realize ROM 7:23-25 "But I see a different law [principle] in the members of my body [the law of the sin nature], making war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner to the law of the sin nature which is in the members of my body. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body of this death [the old sin nature]? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then, on the one hand, with my mind I am myself serving the law of GOD; but on the other hand, with my flesh [old sin nature in control of the soul], I am serving the law of the sin nature."
And then remember, in the original language of scripture there is no chapter break, so ROM 8:1-2 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."
Repression is a defense mechanism in which the believer is unable to remember or to be aware of disturbing lusts, wishes, or feelings, or thoughts, or experiences related to sin. PSD #2, The filling of the Spirit, PSD #3, The faith-rest drill, PSD #4, Grace orientation, PSD #5, Doctrinal orientation, would solve this problem.
Suppression is a defense mechanism in which we intentionally avoid thinking about disturbing thoughts, problems, experiences, or feelings. PSD #7, Personal love for God the Father and PSD #10, Occupation with Christ as the priority solution to life would solve this problem for the believer.
Devaluation is where we attribute exaggerated negative qualities to ourselves and others, always putting everyone down. PSD #4, Grace orientation, PSD #8, Impersonal love for all mankind would solve this problem.
Displacement is a mechanism which attaches to a neutral object mental consents which were originally attached to someone or something else. This is when we start falling in love with our boat, car or animals because they were hurt by someone else! PSD #5, Doctrinal orientation, PSD #6, A personal sense of destiny, would solve this problem. Consequently, thinking is the battlefield of our soul. The greatest battles in history are not overt battlefields where men die, the greatest battlefield is what takes place in our soul. Our mental attitude also affects our physical body and appearance. The body affects the soul and the mentality, just as the soul affects the body (psychosomatics).
PRO 3:8 "It [chokmah or metabolized doctrine] will be healing to your [shor-navel] nervous system, and refreshment to your bones."
Notice that the way you think or your mental attitude influences your nervous system and your bones or your physical appearance and your inner being.
PRO 16:24 "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
The point is, if you don't like something change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain. This means loving to face new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown, and in the process, discovering our own unique potential with the power of the Spirit and the power of the Word of God. This is why the only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude, especially protecting yourself from arrogance and thinking evil. Spiritually adult believers can be in danger when they have a mental attitude test because it may knock them out of living the spiritual life if they are not humble enough to receive correction and recognize it. If we do not become alert when the mental attitude test comes, we can fall back into the cosmic system without even knowing about it.
When we are advancing toward any objective in life, especially in the Pre-Designed Plan of God and the ultimate objective, we must be alert. This alertness, comes from objective, not subjective thinking. However, if we are arrogant,
GAL 6:3 "For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself."
PRO 26:12 "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him."
1CO 8:1 "Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge [or gnosis] makes one arrogant, but virtue-love edifies [builds up, it doesn't destroy]."
Because virtue-love thinks no evil! The mental attitude of someone with virtue-love is patient, kind, and is not jealous, does not brag and is not arrogant, it does not act unbecomingly, does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, 1CO 13:4-7.
When it comes to the mental attitude, our life is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the mental attitude you bring to life. Our life is determined not so much by what happens to us as by the way our mental attitude responds or reacts to what has happened.
Divine viewpoint and the resulting mental attitude is part of the greatest delegation of divine power in human history. That is why what you think is more important than anything else in life. People evaluate others based upon how they look, what kind of impression they make, personality, superficial evaluations, whatever one's concept of success may be, admiration, approbation, and actually these things are not what are important. So many believers are struggling through life as mindless losers full of emotion. Whether it's the lusts of the have-nots or the dissatisfaction of those who have, there's a general unrest today which merely reflects one very important fact: that believers in The Lord Jesus Christ have failed in the dynamics of the divine viewpoint of life. Sadly enough it can be said of most believers today what
MIC 4:12 says "But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, and they do not understand His purpose;"
What counts is the power of divine viewpoint in the right lobe of the soul and the application of that divine viewpoint to life. Our life comes to be what we think, not what we feel. We should be exposed to Bible doctrine daily so that our thinking comes to divine viewpoint and then consistently enter into perception, metabolization and application of doctrine. Satan has so many distractions today designed to deaden the thinking of born again believers so that they will become mindless imbeciles, struggling through life looking for some emotional experience to pull them through. Yet God has delegated to every Church-age believer all of the power to handle any problems or difficulties in this life through "thinking."
This is why we have such challenges such as 1CO 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."
The average believer does not even know anything about God's superior power or how God has delegated it to us through thought. That's why we have a lot of mindless emotional activity rather than doctrinal thinking.
That is why we have a lot of religion, legalism and gimmicks found in the church today. There is very little doctrine being thought today. The delegation of superior power comes in the form of thinking metabolized doctrine circulating in the right lobe of the heart called the "kardia" in the Greek. This system of thought called Bible doctrine produces mental attitude divine viewpoint and is from the content of the infallible word of God.
What you really are as a person is what you really think, not what you appear to be on the surface, not the way you are dressed or groomed. We are not always what we appear to be on the surface. Some people can hide their thoughts and some cannot. People can hide their thoughts and become masterful at the practice of duplicity and hypocrisy.
PSA 55:21 "His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords."
PRO 23:7 "For as a person thinks within himself [himself is nephesh which means soul], so he is."
We think by means of Concentration. Concentration is matter of your priorities in life. Concentration is the ability to think about absolutely nothing while you are being taught the word of God. Nothing can add more power to your life than concentration. However, concentration is not the ends, it is the means of something far greater. We will be able to seek God by means of faith as never before, not through intellectual reasoning or difficult effort, but by His love that draws us to Him. Because we concentrate upon His word on a consistent basis, then He is able to use that information to communicate with us in language of accommodation. JOH 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."
The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance not your concentration or memorization of scripture.
is not the goal. The goal is not knowledge of the Bible, but to have a personal relationship with God that goes beyond our capacity to understand.
PHI 4:7 "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
EPH 3:18-20 "that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."
EPH 3:20 "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,"
The average believer knows nothing about God's "superior power" and how God has delegated it to us through thought. This delegation of divine power depends on your very own perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine.
PSA 119:78 "May the arrogant be ashamed, for they undermine me with a lie; but I shall concentrate on Your doctrines."
PRO 10:17 "He is on the path of life who concentrates on instruction, but he who forsakes reproof goes astray."
Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory. It is something that God wants us to develop in our lives to take us far beyond what we could ever imagine concerning our spiritual walk with Him. It is something that even foes beyond our ability to comprehend at times. God does not draw us to Himself through intellect. He reveals Himself through our intellect partially but He reveals Himself in a spiritual way that we normally don't recognize until after we've been through it through passages such as ROM 2:4 "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"
JOH 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."
Notice, the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance not your concentration or memorization of scripture. Not your ability through human I.Q. and impressive intellect or aptitude but through the ministry of the power of the Holy Spirit. So that even a person with a low I.Q. who has the humility to concentrate and learn the word of God can have those things brought to remembrance when needed by God the Holy Spirit.
What do we really know about the inward life, the deeper life, the spiritual life?
Remember the Lord said in MAT 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God."
And yet LUK 17:21 says "For behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
This kingdom is found in your spirit and your relationship with God that is being developed through your concentration upon His word and the appropriate mental attitude viewpoint. EPH 3:19 "that you may be able to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God." Our human mind or heart cannot be filled up to all the fulness of God, however, our human spirit can. The human spirit is the immaterial part of man designed by God to convert, to store, and to utilize spiritual phenomena. There are things taking place in your human spirit that your soul and mentality has no idea of.
This is why HEB 4:12 says "The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder between the soul and the spirit."
As you truly seek the kingdom of God within you, this kingdom is expanded in you a little at a time. Your prayer life becomes easier, and God's presence becomes more of a reality and noticed and welcomed as never before.
MAR 4:26-27 "And He was saying, The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows-- how, he himself does not know."
We cannot see all of what is really going on nor understand the changes that are taking place, but we know that there is change.
PHI 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun in you an absolute good work will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus."
PHI 2:13 "for it is God [the Holy Spirit] who is at work in you, both to will [give you motivation] and to work above and beyond His good pleasure."
We have to conclude that these changes are not just taking place in our mental attitude but in the depths of our spirit in ways that incomprehensible and unexplainable to the human mind and therefore the mentality of the soul.