John Maxwell has taught that “attitude determines our altitude.” The Bible isn’t so much a self-help book or all about positive thinking as it is about Christ-centered thinking, but it does clearly guide us to work toward a great attitude.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
We then, as followers of Jesus, are to fix our thoughts on worthy, true and lovely things. Here are few different types of attitudes that I believe God wants us to have.
1. Can-Do Attitude
Paul tells us to have the mindset of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Whatever we walk through, we can face it because of the One who walks with us. We can walk through our days with confidence and purpose, because God is with us.
2. Look-on-the-Bright-Side Attitude
As Philippians 4:8 expresses, we should do our best every day and in every season of life to search for those things we can be grateful for. Sometimes this may be very difficult, and a long process, but God has given all of us many good things to be grateful for.
There are people today with less than us, and who have faced more tragedy than us, who have found a way to joy. We can too. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, writes in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “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.” He had found a way in the midst of the absolute worst of humanity to choose how he was going to respond to life. Amazing.
3. Start-With-Your-Own-Heart Attitude
Dr. Alvin Reid of SEBTS shares, “I know I am experiencing a fresh touch of God when I stop confessing everyone else’s sins and start with my own.”
Instead of picking on everyone around us, we should constantly be questioning our own motives and hearts. God has called us to be people who bless others, not curse (see Romans 12:14.) We need to work to make this the culture of our hearts.
Melissa Moore says, “Nothing strikes me as more contrary to a life of grace than a preoccupation with discovering the worst about other people.” So many Christians are preoccupied with tearing everything and everyone down—politicians, media, celebrities and even other Christians. This needs to stop! We need to rediscover what the Bible trumpets about graciousness, honoring others, kindness and gentleness. We need to focus less on the flaws of others and realize the plank in our own eye—only then can we see clearly to bring change in others.
Phil Dooley of Hillsong Capetown says, “Celebrating the success of others is a sure sign you have a healthy heart.” Let’s get more excited for others and less excited about ourselves. While we may never be perfect at this, it is important to be growing in selflessness and increasing in how much we honor others.
4. Gospel-Centered Attitude
The gospel is the ultimate empowerment for positive attitude, no matter the circumstance. The Bible says of the early Christians: “If some enemies broke in and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn’t touch your real treasure. Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back” (Hebrews 10:33).
What a heritage of faith we have! And oh how they treasured Christ! Is Christ your fire insurance, or your treasure?
Think about this: Paul was beaten, mocked, imprisoned and eventually killed for not denying Christ. He endured years of countless pain, even though he was giving all for Christ. But some Christians want to abandon faith because God didn’t answer one of their prayers.
It’s important that we don’t love Jesus depending on what he does for us. We should love Jesus with our whole lives because of what He’s already done for us on the cross. Truly, God doesn’t give us everything we want, but he gives us everything he knows we need, and he has already given us more than we could ever dream when we accepted the gospel.
We need to rediscover what Jesus’ first followers knew—the deep glory of the gospel that far outweighs earthly circumstances. This hope is an anchor for our soul. Because of what we have in the gospel, there’s always a good reason for joy and peace.
We should remind ourselves of these gospel truths every single day and build our life on them.