As I’m writing this, I’m getting up about every twelve words to tend to a child. I thought it was nap time. I was wrong.
I feel like I can never get a break for any real duration of time during the day, and it’s easy to start to feel bitter about it and dwell on how much I want and deserve a break. I want to do what I’ve thought I was going to do, and right now that included writing about Jesus and sharing biblical encouragement with you all. But I’m annoyed that my children are making it hard (ok, almost impossible) to do so. (Yes, I see the irony, I mean, hypocrisy). Now both kids are sitting on my bed with me. One is wrapped in her swaddle but still managing to grab my camera strap. The other is piling her toys on the bed. They’re both being sweet, at least.
I fail to be content with where the Lord has me. When I get annoyed taking care of my kids, I make it about me and what I want. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” Philippians 2:3-4. This is hard, guys. Impossible, actually. This is why Jesus came for us. I can’t even write a blog post telling others about Jesus without getting annoyed. What is the point of sharing encouragement and biblical truth with you all if I don’t joyfully do what God has given me to do first? If I’m not placing the interests of my kids over my own, and doing so with a good attitude, it is hypocritical of me to put them off to encourage you guys in your faith.
What does it mean to have a god honoring attitude?
Attitudes can come out as thoughts, actions, or words. We can hurt both other people with our negative attitudes, and ourselves. But what does it look like to have a God honoring attitude? It turns out the Bible has a ton to say about how we express ourselves. It says we are to be thankful, give praise, have a joyful heart, do our work without grumbling or questioning, be full of faith, kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” (Phil 2:14),”Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.” (Psalm 150:1), “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32). Proverbs 29:11 says “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” We are fools when we don’t hold back our complaints and grievances, and wise when we can hold them back.
As Christians, our joy and our attitude aren’t supposed to be dependent on our circumstances. Instead, when the holy spirit is living in us, we bear “fruit” which include “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22-23. The Bible is also clear that apart from Christ, we are powerless to change our negative attitudes, because without Christ we are stuck in our sin.
I consider the opposite of a bad attitude to be showing honor. And that is exactly what God wants from us. What does it mean to show honor? To be highly respectful of something; in awe, wonder and amazement of it; to verbally praise and esteem it. To have a bad attitude is exactly the opposite of all of these things.
Why Is It Important?
A bad attitude only tears down, when God says we are supposed to build each other up. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.” (1 Thes 5:11-13) And Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” What more is a bad attitude than a crushed spirit? “A crushed spirit dries up the bones.” We dry up other people and ourselves when we have a bad attitude.
Our mission as followers of Christ is to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:16-20), or to tell others about Jesus and help them grow towards maturity in their faith. We are also supposed to walk in joy, and be ready to give an answer when others ask where we get the hope that we carry (1 Peter 3:15), which implies that we are supposed to carry around hope and joy in our attitudes at all times! When we have bad attitudes, people don’t really want to be around us. And if someone sees you with a bad attitude, are they really going to be wondering where you get your joy from? No! How can we point others to the Joy that we have if we don’t have joy? How can we tell others about our Hope when we don’t carry around the hope of Christ one day restoring our (crappy) circumstances?
How Can I Grow In My Attitude?
Here are some practical, day to day things we can do to help change a negative attitude:
1. Read the Bible to see how Jesus, the Apostles, and prophets handled their attitudes. Jesus of course had a perfect attitude, and the apostles did not always have the best attitudes. It is very eye opening to see how Jesus responded to their bad attitudes, where we can learn a lot about how to change ours.
2. Confess our negative attitudes and ask God to grow us in that area. We often doubt the power of prayer, but that is a huge way the Holy Spirit works in us.
3. Ask a spouse, family member, or friend to encourage us in our attitude. When someone confronts us with our sins or struggles, it’s way easier to see them ourselves. Encouragement also goes such a long way.
4. Have it at the forefront of your mind. Continuously think about how you are expressing yourself throughout the day, instead of just going along with your feelings. “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Proverbs 29:11)
5. Know that change takes time. Having a perfect attitude will never happen until heaven. We shouldn’t strive for perfection, but for hearts that are willing to let God continuously grow throughout our lives in this area.
This isn’t a subject that I have mastered that I am educating you guys on. This is probably the thing I struggle the most with, so I am writing to myself as much as anyone else. But I know God desires that we would have hearts that honor him and that He is powerful enough to change our negative attitudes.