There’s a myriad of literature out there about the importance of a positive attitude and its correlation to your success.
This is not one of them.
Oh, there’s definitely a correlation between the two—a positive attitude is crucial to success in all areas of our life. But I’m concerned about something more significant. More substantial. More important.
I’m concerned about the eternal.
First, let’s establish a foundational truth: your attitude is a choice—your choice. Period.
Only you have control over whether it’s positive or negative.
Yes, other people, circumstances, adversity, hardships, victory, and success can influence your attitude—but only you can choose how it’s affected and what it will be. Only you can choose to battle through grueling situations or quit. Only you can fight the good fight.
And, apart from God, you’re the only one with complete control of your attitude.
I’ve read many excellent articles on attitude over the years. They’ve challenged me, called me out, hit me over the head with a 2×4, encouraged me, edified me, and lifted me up.
For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; for those of us who follow Him, there is something more significant in the balance of our choice of attitude.
Any idea what it is?
That’s right, His glory.
But that’s not all that hangs in the balance. Our testimony and story of how Jesus has changed us and made us new are also greatly affected by our attitude. I mean, let’s be real, a Negative Nellie/Ned wouldn’t be convincing when trying to share the joy to be found in Christ. Those listening would wonder if he/she truly believed with he/she was saying.
Beloved, I’m aware many things beyond our control crash into our lives. Situations we couldn’t predict and don’t have time for. Circumstances that can turn our lives up-side-down and destroy our status quo. Adversity we could never have planned for. Welcome to life.
The second foundational truth: We all encounter challenges—
Some are catastrophic:
- Terminal illness
- Loss of a loved one
- Loss of your home
While others just suck:
- A lousy day
- Losing the game
- A bad test score
- Poor work review
- Passed up for a promotion
- A septic back-up
- Running out of gummy bears and spice drops ON THE SAME DAY! (My current gripe)
And at the end of it all, we are still the only ones who can choose our attitude.
Ever wonder where our crappy, sour, negative attitudes come from?
Our old nature. Our sinful nature.
You know, our former way of life when we chased our selfish desires and lusts. When we were deceived to believe immorality, drunkenness, and wild parties were the way to joy and happiness (1 Peter 4:1-4). When we thought our wants and comforts trumped everyone else’s. When we were on the throne of our lives instead of Christ—or maybe it was a significant other, career, money, possessions, a sport, intelligence, pride, etc.
When our old nature rears its ugly head, we tend to become snarky, salty, selfish, jealous, and judgemental. And once those things flood our hearts and minds, they eclipse our contentment, joy, peace, and love. They sour any Fruit we bear by tainting its qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
If we don’t choose to stop the incoming flood, our attitude will erode quickly; and negativity will manifest itself in our actions, reactions, words, and tone. And the flood will then spread its toxicity to everyone around us and beyond.
In short, a negative attitude destroys our witness for Christ. It turns people off and makes them want to ignore anything we have to say.
When we choose selfishness and a negative attitude, we forget who we are and WHOSE we are. We bring sorrow to the Spirit, who identifies us as His own (Ephesians 4:30).
Wait! How do we stop it?
Check out Ephesians 4:17-24 and see if you can find the answer (hint: I alluded to it earlier)
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Did you see it?
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (4:31-32)
Beloved, if you’re confident you belong to Christ, remind yourself of it! Pray through Ephesians 1:19-23. Ask God to help you believe and receive these truths.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
- Tell Him you need an attitude adjustment.
- Repent of and surrender your selfishness and pride.
- Ask Him to renew your attitude and the thoughts that helped you get there.
- Ask Him to help you choose to be positive regardless of what your current situation, season, or circumstances are.
Then choose to take your eyes off yourself and put them on Him. Take time to praise Jesus for how He has changed you, remade you. For being our Creator and Redeemer. For His love and your Salvation. For the times He has protected you and sustained you.
And choose to trust Him to do it again.
If, like me these past few weeks, you need to do this through tears (a few times)—that’s ok. It’s worth it.
You might still feel tired. You might still be weary. But your attitude will change. And with a changed attitude, you’ll find strength you didn’t know you had to keep fighting. You’ll discover how much energy you wasted on negativity.
And a genuinely positive attitude in the face of adversity inspires others. And when the bearer of that attitude gives praise and thanks to God for helping him/her through the battlefield, He is glorified.
Never underestimate its importance.