The DEFs of PMA

by Impact Church

“What are five things our human body must have to thrive?” the chiropractor asked a handful of patients. The top 3 – nourishment, exercise and rest — were no surprise. And No. 5 should have been expected considering who was asking the question. “Adjustments.” You know, those manual manipulations of the spine to correct the horrors of subluxations (slight misalignments of the vertebrae, for the uninitiated).

Odd how back-cracking made the list,…but oxygen did not. But we digress.

It was Necessity No. 4 that stirred us to pondering for days to come. When Dr. Matt wrote “PMA” on his whiteboard, everyone in the room gave a nodding sigh. Positive mental attitude. Solomon, the wisest human who ever had a BC birthday, said it this way: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Consider Paul’s instruction to the church at Ephesus. Smack in the middle of his encouragement to “put off” the old self and “put on” the new self is this fascinating fulcrum: “And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude),…” (Ephesians 4:22-24, Amplified Bible).

The human mind is capable of extraordinary things. When surrendered to the mind and attitude of Christ, the miraculous is possible. How we look at our circumstances – not the circumstances themselves – will determine the path of our lives. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl summed up his experience like this: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Let’s look at seven mental filters that we can exercise to not only survive but thrive in this journey called life. The ABCs certainly have been overused,…so let’s call these “The DEFs of PMA”:

  1. Discipline: We’re talking the positive side of discipline here. Don’t dwell on after-the fact correction so much as advance training of the mind or intentional self-control. Yes, our gracious God will lovingly teach us lessons through the pitfalls of life, but He’d rather we apply our hearts unto wisdom and learn how to walk around the holes in the first place! Check out these fresh perspectives from the Scriptures:
    1. “He (the wicked) will die because he does not control himself. He will be held captive by his own foolishness.” (Proverbs 5:23, International Children’s Bible)
    2. “Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies.” (1 Corinthians 9:25, Common English Bible)
    3. “Solid food (deep spiritual truths) is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, Revised Standard Version)
  2. Enthusiasm: “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23, Holman Christian Standard Bible). Passionate enthusiasm is a decision of the will, pure and simple.
  3. Faith: Facing imminent shipwreck, the Apostle Paul chose to believe God’s promise that neither he nor any soul aboard his ship would be lost (Acts 27). Let us train ourselves not to believe only what we see, but to have faith in the Unseen! Jesus encouraged Peter so succinctly as he stared in disbelief at the withered fig tree: “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)
  4. Gratitude: The Word of God is replete with reminders for us to have a grateful heart. “In every thing, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, King James Version)
  5. Hope: Linked closely by Paul with faith and love, Biblical hope is anything but a maybe-it-will-or-maybe-it-won’t chance or the proverbial flip of a coin. “Though He (God) slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15, English Standard Version). May the Lord help us to have such a positive attitude toward whatever we face, being assured that He loves us and will orchestrate events in our lives for our good and His glory.
  6. Intercession: Did you ever think of prayerfulness – especially praying for others — as an act of the mind and will? We can decide to pray FOR someone instead of talking ABOUT them! And we’ll find that it’s impossible to gossip about a brother or sister when we’re compassionately interceding for them.
  7. Finally, let’s conclude with simply JESUS! … Building our lives around Christ and pursuing His mind and heart involves more than wearing a colorful “WWJD” bracelet or sporting a fish logo on our car. Let’s draw so close to Him that His ways become our ways and His thoughts become our thoughts! Our Savior is the embodiment of those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy which Paul exhorts us to think about in Philippians 4:8.

“Let it be Jesus, the first name that I call,… Let it be Jesus, my song inside the storm,… I’ll never need another. For me to live is Christ, for me to live is Christ, God I breathe Your name above everything, Let it be, let it be Jesus. Let it be Jesus, from the rising of the sun,… Let it be Jesus, when all is said and done,… I’ll never need another, Jesus, there’s no other. Should I ever be abandoned, should I ever be acclaimed, should I ever be surrounded by the fire and the flame, There’s a name I will remember, there’s a name I will proclaim,… Let it be, let it be Jesus!” (© 2014, Thankyou Music)

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