"Four Attitudes That Cause Defeat
Now let us consider four attitudes that cause defeat. These are attitudes toward our circumstances and our environment. We think that victory will consist in changing the circumstances and the environment, whereas true victory is usually the exact opposite. it is having the right attitude toward the circumstances and a proper adjustment to that environment. Then we can have victory in and over the circumstances. In this way we can always be above and never beneath our circumstances.
What are the attitudes that cause defeat? First, there is rebellion. "God is not good, He is not fair, He is not treating me right." Have you ever heard anybody say, "I just can't stand it any longer"? Have you ever said it? That is an attitude of rebellion. We often resist God and what He is trying to accomplish through the circumstance, resent Him for allowing it or in resignation say, "Well, I'll grin and bear it." But there is no smile. There is no joy. It is an attitude of sheer resignation. We go through with it because we have to. Is there anything like that in our circumstances? Do we know what that attitude of rebellion can do?
In a conference in Canada one summer I spoke on the subject of grieving the Holy spirit. I cited the case of a woman in China who grieved the Holy Spirit through rebellion in her heart. After the meeting, a 79 year old woman came to the platform. With tears streaming down her face, she sobbed out her confession of having had such rebellion in her heart for 20 long years. Her daughter had talked with me the day before and had told me about it. What tremendous sorrow it had caused in their home! Twenty years before, this mother had lost two sons in the first World War. She so rebelled against God and so mourned for those sons that she repeatedly said before her remaining children, a son and a daughter, that God had taken the very flowers of her family. She felt there was nothing left to live for.
The son had not stepped inside a church for 15 years because of his mother's attitude. The father and daughter had prayer together each evening, but the mother would not join them. For 20 years that mother nurtured an attitude of rebellion. She was 79 when God was at last able to reveal to her the sinfulness of her rebellion and to deliver her from it. But think of the long trail of sorrow in that home because of the mother's rebellion against those circumstances in her life!
Second, there is the attitude of murmuring. It is mentioned many times as one of the outstanding sins of the children of Israel. God had made full provision for their every need through His matchless grace and love, and yet they continually murmured and complained. It spread like a contagious disease from one person to another.
Murmuring acts in the spiritual life like a poison running through the bloodstream, weakening the whole body. It is really the sin of ingratitude, of an ungrateful and selfish heart toward a tender and loving God. Should there be a trace of it in our lives, we ought to confess it as a major sin.
I once read in a missionary paper that in Mexico there are hot and cold springs side by side. There the native women can boil their clothes in the hot springs and rinse them in the cold springs, surely a very easy manner of washing clothes! A tourist watching the women said to his guide, "I suppose the people think old Mother Nature is very generous to them, do they not?" The guide said, "No, senor, quite the opposite. There is much grumbling because she does not supply soap!"
That can be the attitude of Christians in lands of plenty. When I was in Europe some years ago, I was in one home in Paris where a dear woman was not well. She needed milk as a part of her diet, but she, at least, could not find one drop of milk in all of Paris. I wonder what God will do to us in North America if we keep on murmuring over everything!
(continued with # 7 - "Worry")