Being a Christian is more than knowing truth and doing good – it involves having the right attitudes and desires within. The heart matters. Graham Beynon’s purpose in this book is to allow the gospel to perform ‘open-heart surgery’ i.e. to create and nurture right attitudes within us.
Nine heart attitudes are considered – love, fear (of God), joy, peace, humility, confidence, thankfulness, contentment, and hope. In each chapter, the particular attitude is defined with reference to the Bible, illustrations are used, specific contemporary application is made, and suggestions are given as to how to grow in that heart attitude. Fear, for example, is positively defined as a confident, awesome reverence for God that should prompt worship and service, trust, faithfulness, holiness, submission to the will of God, a desire to listen and obey God’s Word, and freedom from the fear of people or situations.
The hard reality of life in a world of sin and sorrow is not minimized, but we see how these heart attitudes assist us to persevere faithfully in faith by maintaining our focus on the gospel. The challenge for us as Christians is to allow the gospel to change our hearts so that our lives are different and distinctive from the world around us. In the chapter on thankfulness, we are reminded that we live in a society characterised by cynicism, consumerism and complaining. In that context, how striking is the witness of people for whom thankfulness is ‘the background music to all of life’.
This is a readable book useful for all Christians – how easy it is for the world to squeeze us into its mould. It is a helpful resource for discipleship purposes, encouraging Christians to reflect on the impact of the gospel on the way they think and feel and see the world around them.