HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
The dictionary defines attitude in the following way:
A complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways
One can have good attitude or bad attitude, the choice is up to us. As Christian we should approach each day with good attitude because this is exactly we are taught to do:
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.† 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.† 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
The bad attitudes people have come from the world, not from God. Satan loves it when people become pessimistic and always look for the bad in every person and situation, but as Christians we must determine that we will not allow Satan to influence us in this negative way and rob us from the joy that is found in serving our God just as He designed us to do:
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Also consider what the writer of:
Proverbs 11:27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
When we wake up each day we need to consider that we are representatives of Christ and the things we do and the way we interact with people is an opportunity to show them the love of Christ. When we do this it should help motivate us to have a good attitude or we could say a Christ-like attitude every day.
I can promise you one thing, if you approach each day with a good attitude, you will feel much better about yourself. As:
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
If you want to have a good attitude it begins with the condition of your heart:
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Another area that can cause a bad attitude and strife is when we constantly feel like we have to argue with people over trivial matters. As Paul said:
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,
We should challenge ourselves to go 24hrs without arguing or complaining about trivial matters and see how it makes us feel at the end of the day and to observe how much less strife has happened.
There are many things that can cause us to have a bad attitude, but when we can learn to rely on God to help us conquer those things, our lives will be less stressful. Paul sums it up this way:
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.† 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.† 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.† 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.† 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.† 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.† 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."† 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
When we can learn to have the right attitude each day by living for Christ, it will lower our stress level and give us a peaceful existence.
Letís take a look at some examples from the O.T. at different attitudes people had and what a difference it made on their outlook of life and to God.
Our first example comes from Cain and Able:
Genesis 4:3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.† 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering,† 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.† 6 So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?† 7 "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
There are many details that we are not given in Scripture. For example we are not told what God had asked them to offer him it is certainly possible that Cain was not offering up what God asked for, but is also possible that his heart was wrong, that is had the wrong attitude about making an offering before the Lord. The writer of Hebrew tells us:
Hebrews 11:4 †By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous,
This implies the Cain did not offer his sacrifice by faith. I can tell you that it would not mattered if Cain offered the same sacrifice as Able because if he did not to with by faith then his sacrifice was empty. It does not matter if you look at Patriarchal period, the law of Moses or the law of Christ, throughout the Bible God wants your heart. If you do not have your heart in the right place, then no matter what you do or how perfect you carry it out the Word of God it will not be acceptable by God.
Notice what Isaiah says about this:
Isaiah 1:11 "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.† 12 "When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?† 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.† 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.† 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.† 16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,† 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.† 18 " Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.† 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;† 20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Also consider what Amos said:
Amos 6:3 Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, Who cause the seat of violence to come near;† 4 Who lie on beds of ivory, Stretch out on your couches, Eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall;† 5 Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David;† 6 Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.† 7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, And those who recline at banquets shall be removed.
Also what Micah says:
Micah 6:6 With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old?† 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?† 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Finally, notice what Moses says:
Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.† 6 " And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
What all these verses teach us is that does not matter what you offer God or what you do in His name, if it does not come from the heart motivated by love for God, then cannot and will not be by faith. Sometimes people like Cain thinks it ok to just go through the motions as long as they are doing it, but Cain found out that was not acceptable to God. As we read in the Book of Isaiah and in Amos we saw the children of Israel were doing exactly God commanded when it came to worshiping Him with MI, having feast and sacrificing but God was not pleased with and He would having nothing to do with it because they were full of sin and their hearts were not right. Though we are talking about O.T. examples this same principles applies to us today because God still wants our heart and He wants us to be motivated by love when we follow His commands.
Perhaps one the greatest commentaries on this idea come from the love chapter of 1 Cor. 13.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.† 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.† 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.†
If we are going to have the right attitude about life and about others we must be willing to change our heart. We need pray what David prayed in:
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
I want you to understand that if you just come and assembly with the saints and you give, pray, partake of the L.S. and all those things we do as part of our worship to God, if you do this just because you think you need to, or you do it just to fit in, or even if you do it because you are fearful of the Lord, then your heart is not in the right place and you are just going through the motions.
Now I want to explain a little bit more about this idea of being fearful. The Bible does tell us fear God, but the way that word is being used is it means to show reverence or respect to God for who His and what He can do. No doubt is fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God, but God does not want us to follow after Him out of fear. John says:
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.† 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.† 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.† 19 We love Him because He first loved us.
There are many today that have no problem motivating others with fear. Our media many times uses fear to promote a new way of doing things or to cause new laws to be formed, but God does not want us to serve Him or do His commands our fear of going to hell. He wants us to be motivated by love and respect for what He has done for us.
Back to Cain. What happened because of Cainís bad attitude?
Genesis 4:5 †And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.† 6 So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?† 7 "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."† 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
Since God did not approve of his offering, it made Him angry. Notice, God did not say sorry you Cain you had your chance now I will have nothing to do with you. No, He comforted Cain by letting Him know that He does not be angry because he can change things and make it right the next time, but He also add if he does not make changes then sin is waiting for him.
Someone with the right attitude would be sad that they had not pleased God, but they would be happy to hear that all they had to do was make the right changes and that God would be pleased with them the next time. But ole Cain, decided to approach Godís words with a negative attitude and led to him killing his brother.
The principle we learn from this as Christians is that if we do not approach God and His Word with the right attitude, we too are going to find ourselves getting angry when someone points out what we are doing is wrong, or when we read His Word and realize what we are doing is wrong. Many times, when we approach what Godís is telling us to do in negative way then we will lash out at others and even turn our back on God. Our pride gets the best of us and it will cause us to fall.
Our lives will be so much better if we have the right attitude instead. If someone shows us from the Word of God that we are doing something wrong, we need to listen to them and if we see that changes need to be made then we need to see it a wonderful opportunity for us to become more pure for our God. Same thing, if we reading our Bibles one night in bed or wherever, and we see something we had not seen before that we need to change be thankful that you found it and humbly submit to the will of God.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.† 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.† 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
When have the right attitude toward God and His Word then we are going to be the kind of Christian that will continue to grow closer to God each day. We should be very thankful to God that He allows us to do this. He could of easily said, mess up one time and it is over for you, but thankfully He is not like that. He is a very patient and merciful God, but we must never forget that He is a God of justice, but when we approach God and His Word with the right attitude, we do not have fear His justice, we can embrace it and understand that we have an advocate on our side Jesus the Christ.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.† 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.† 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.† 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.† 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.† 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
There are many examples we could look at in the O.T. and new N.T. that show difference between having the right attitude and the wrong attitude, but for our time I want to look at one last O.T. example.
Most of should be familiar with what happened to Job as God allow Satan to test his faithfulness. After Job suffered the loss of His children and much of his livestock, and his body was being inflicted by pain it would be a test for anyone to have a positive attitude but Job did:
Job 1:13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house;† 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,† 15 "when the Sabeans raided them and took them away -- indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"† 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"† 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"† 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,† 19 "and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"† 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.† 21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."† 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
Job 2:3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause."† 4 So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.† 5 "But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"† 6 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life."† 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.† 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.† 9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"† 10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
This would certainly test us all. If we struggle to have the right attitude about life in general and trusting in God then we would not stand a chance if something like this happened to us. But, Job was able to approach at that had happened to him with the right attitude. However, his wife had not because she wanted Job to curse God and die. As time went Job did struggle to maintain the right attitude, but in the end when God began to speak to him, he brought himself back 100% to having the right attitude. Because of that he was blessed more in the end then when all this turmoil began.
Let us always do our best to have the right attitude toward God and His Word, and we will be blessed in this life and in eternity.
Psalm 40:4 Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.† 5 Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.† 6 Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.† 7 Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.† 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart."