Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heart Attitudes Matter by Don Atkin

Love is the Only Appropriate Context for Speaking Truth


Don Atkin

Our attitudes often speak louder than our words, and are more likely to reveal our hearts than our actions.  Attitudes can also violate our own convictions and lead others to conclusions that are based upon false foundations.  We should be extremely concerned about our attitudes and what they communicate. 

This should be of particular concern to those who are attempting to advance the kingdom of God through their service to God and His people.  Attitudes can out-shout the very thing we are trying to get across to others.  We are blessed to be the benefactors of Pentecost.  We have the Holy Spirit within us to give us the right words at the right time and in the right spirit, so that we might radiate His love and power.

The best that we can come up with, apart from the Holy Spirit, is not good enough.  Out human efforts at self-control may carry us along some distance.  But, sooner or later, we will fail and fall into a ditch on one side of the road or another.

The self-control we all need is a fruit of the Spirit.[1]  Humanistic self-control may guard our actions to a point.  The self-control that is developed in the Spirit allows God’s government to rule even our spirits.[2]  Many of us think that we are ready to “take (rule) cities” when we still cannot rule our spirits. 

We may be tempted to get angry when a brother or sister can’t see and understand what we are seeing.  We are blind to the possibility that he or she may see what we cannot yet see.  Nevertheless, we do not have the right to hold ugly attitudes.  Hostile, adversarial attitudes toward our brothers and sisters—no matter where they are in their walk in Jesus—have no place in hearts of love, compassion and caring. 

Paul, in calling the Galatians back to their foundation in the Spirit, expressed the depths of his love for them in a most picturesque way.  He likened his feelings to those of a mother in labor just before birthing a baby.[3]

Jesus warns that, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”[4]  Some of the hostile, adversarial, combative and competitive attitudes being observed among fellow believers would cause us to question, “Just who are ‘the little ones’?”

We see that Paul, Peter, John and others were forthright, did not hold back from confrontation, but wrote with fatherly tones of love and patience, always acknowledging the authenticity of their new creation status.

We—Greg Austin, Steve Crosby, others, and I— are confronting religious giants.  Our warfare is not with people.[5]  We may challenge what others believe to be true in the process of sharing what we believe to be true.  We want the church, including all of her servant-leaders, to know that we love you.  We are for you and not against you. 

Looking from where our transformation processes began many years ago, we would hardly recognize ourselves today.  We are so thankful for God’s grace, pleasure and patience with us, through all of our seasons of developing.  And, we still have a way to go.  If we point a finger, three are pointing back.

We believe that the issues presented herein are worthy of our prayerful consideration.  It is our desire to build bridges, not walls.

Are our hearts set upon God having that which is wholly of Himself? That means 'I' crucified! No longer I, but Christ! And that means that Christ in us is the basis of our conformity to His image, until we partake with Him of His own nature - pure gold. It is something to face seriously before Him. It brings to us a challenge, but surely it also brings to us a glorious possibility! What Christ is can be made good in us![6]

[6] T. Austin Sparks

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