Chapter of of my 2nd Book First Thing First; Tithing, Giving and Stewardship in the Local Church

Chapter 2
The Word and the Mind

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”
Psalm 119:111

“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds that ye may prove what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God is.”
Romans 12:2

Attitude is defined by Merriam Webster as “a mental position or feeling in regard to a fact or a state.” As we have seen, our attitude plays a major role in how we view our responsibilities towards stewardship. I have discovered that any type of attitude is infectious regardless to whether it is positive, negative, or indifferent. This is why it is critical that every leader (whether in official or unofficial capacity is irrelevant) in every church have the best attitudes possible concerning the work of Christ and His local church. Negative attitudes without fail create division and schisms within the church. Left unchecked and undisciplined they spread like a cancerous tumor, destroying every live cell in its path. Eventually the church becomes a spiritually empty shell of its true biblical self and ends up having the testimony of the church of Sardis in the book of Revelation “thou has a name that thou livest, and art dead.” (Revelation 3:1)

Indifferent attitudes cause the work of God to languish unfinished. Negative attitudes will turn your best workers into critics, complainers, and criticizers. Our attitudes are formed in our minds, often conditioned and cultivated by our environment and circumstances but rest and rule in our hearts. One preacher said it best that the problem of the church today is “stinking thinking.” Whatever our mindset, eventually seeps its way into our heart. How rightly the Proverb writer declares:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
Proverbs 23:7 AMP

Negative and indifferent attitudes always form strongholds in those who possess them. Being able to admit you have a negative or indifferent attitude towards the work of God, the word of God, and your stewardship responsibilities is more than half of the battle! Once that is done if we will only submit ourselves totally to the Word of God, we will be delivered and on our way to being in right standing with God. Joyce Meyer in her book Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in your Mind comes right out of the starting block with this powerful statement concerning the power of the mind and one’s attitude…

“You can not have a positive life and a negative mind.” (pg 27)

Once a negative or indifferent attitude is entrenched as a stronghold in your life the devil will not give up that prime real estate too easily. Remember the servant we discussed in the last chapter in St. Matthew 25 had already made up his mind about the character of his master (thou art a hard man) and his negative attitude about his master led him down the path to a place called fear (therefore I was afraid). Strongholds in the lives of believer’s can only be broken by the power of Jesus Christ as we learn to submit ourselves to His Holy Word. Therefore it is of primary importance to preach and teach the Word of the Lord not only concerning our proper stewardship but our mindset as well.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:4-5

It is in the Word of the Lord that we discover that satan attacks our mind. That is his primary and favorite place to battle the saints of God. This is why Paul tells us not only that we are not to be ignorant of satan’s devices, (2 Corinthians 2:11) but we are to have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Our minds are to be renewed day by day through the transforming power and process of God’s word. As we meditate on the Word of God (Joshua 1:8) our minds are to be shaped by what God says. However our adversary has other plans. The devil attacks our thinking, twisting and distorting the scriptures and our view of them and challenges believers in their knowledge of the Word of God directly.

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted through the simplicity that is in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3

The devil tends to make us focus on the failings of people instead of having faith in God’s word. He reduces us to debating the power of the Word of God on whether we should follow a person(s) teachings because we “don’t like” them. Like is an attitudinal emotion as well. We are commanded to be people of the spirit and dealing with spiritual things and solving problems through the power of the spirit. But the devil convinces us to leave that lofty level and fight it out on the carnal level. So there we go fighting and debating way beneath the level where we are supposed to operate. We have reduced the power of Christ to rule and reign in the church, based on the strength of our personality conflicts with each other. That is where the problem lies.

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”
Romans 8:6

As saints of the most High God, we must rest absolutely on the authority of the scriptures. For too long we have mitigated the Word to make friends and not to offend our friends in the church. It is from the Word of God that we get our direction, not from our personal opinions. Opinions of the saints while valuable mean positively nothing when it comes to what “thus sayeth the Lord” for the people of God. The Apostle Paul already answered this argument for us when he declared:

“Let God be true, but every man a liar”
Romans 3:4

If we have problems reconciling the absolute authority of the scriptures in churches that are supposed to honor and serve Christ, then we need to get that straight, or stop calling ourselves His church. It is time for the church of God to stop being a social club and become the church that Christ wants to use to bless this world and glorify His name here on earth. That will never happen until we return to the Bible as the authority in our churches, and throw out any and every policy, document, rulebook, guideline, constitution, or agreement that in any way contradicts, constrains, or corrupts God’s Word.

I believe in the power of His Word to change lives, and set wrongs right. I believe His word is still “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105) However if we who preach it, teach it, and attempt to lead God’s people in it do not believe in it’s power then we need to find a new line of work immediately.

So it all comes full circle. Positive attitude must start with the pastors and ministers before you can even rightly expect that the leadership and the rest of the church will catch that positive attitude. No matter how bad it has been, wipe that slate clean. Check your attitude and begin to stand on the Word of God. Get your mind renewed. Believe again. Dream again. Write the Vision and make it plain. Be positive.

Who does not remember the children’s story from our youth, The Little Engine that Could? The continual positive attitude of the Engine…I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…eventually turned into…I know I can…I know I can…I know I can! Not only did this display of a positive attitude bless the engine and encourage him throughout his struggle, but every car that he pulled behind him. They were the immediate benefactors of his positive attitude. If you become a positive agent for change, you will infect some one else with your enthusiasm. Let your entire congregation be filled with a positive attitude about God and His Holy Word.

“….and these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently….”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7a

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