How would you generally describe your attitude? Are you generally positive or negative? Would you say that you’re optimistic or pessimistic? Do you typically look for reasons to say yes or do you hunt for excuses to say no? These questions will help you gauge your attitude. In fact, this may be a good time to look into the perfect law of liberty, the Word of God, and reevaluate our attitude and ask God for His direction and help. Let me offer a couple of passages of scripture that provide the encouragement and direction we need.
RO 12:9 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
PHP 2:1 “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus . . .”
Why is attitude so critical? The famous preacher from Chicago, Dwight L. Moddy, may have framed its significance best when he wrote, “Attitudes determine our actions, for good or bad.” In Luke 9, the attitude of Jesus’ disciples reflected pessimism and doubt. You might even say they were being practical under the circumstances. Their solution to the need was telling the large crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children to take care of themselves. After all, it was a desolate place. In contrast, Jesus had compassion on the people and He took what was available, 5 loaves and 2 fish, and multiplied it to meet the need. Does your attitude mimic Jesus or His disciples in this particular story?
There is a famous quote from the Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi that hung on the wall inside the locker room at my high school that has continued to have a profound impact on me. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this quote has been a voice in my ear over the years. You might say this quote is encouragement wrapped in a rebuke. The quote is this . . . “A can’t is a could that never would.” This quote has helped me to look for ways that “I can” instead of all the reasons I can’t. It has worked like a strainer to filter out all of my lame and selfish excuses.
During a time of crisis, like we are currently facing around the world, there are precautions that need to be taken. That’s a given. For that matter. we certainly don’t want to expose anyone who is vulnerable to a virus that can potentially kill them. Even more, in certain regions, there are also drastic measures that government and medical officials need to take to quell the spread of the virus for at least a short while. However, regardless of the circumstances, we need to maintain a “can do” attitude. That is . . . I, you, us “can do” what we “can do.”
So, what can we do? In other words. what does a “can do” attitude look like in action? Let me give you four words. Pray, share, care and give. First, it is always a good time to pray (1 Thes 5:18, Php 4:6-7). Second, we can share what we don’t absolutely need to help those in need (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35). Third, we can care or have the compassion of Jesus to reach out and meet the needs of others (Matthew 14:13-21). Fourth, we can continue to give of our wealth to support our church ministry and the missionaries we routinely support (2 Cor 9:6-7).
I hope we’d all agree that our attitude generally reflects who we are and determines our actions. With that said, we are compelled by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2 to have the “same attitude as Christ.” What is the same attitude as Christ? Paul writes, Php 2:5 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Now that’s a “can do” attitude wouldn’t you say?
So, let’s end where we started. Under the circumstances, this is likely a good time to reevaluate our attitude and ask God for His direction and help. The answers to the following questions will help uncover the truth about your attitude.
- Do you typically look for reasons to say yes or do you hunt for excuses to say no?
- Would you say that you’re optimistic or pessimistic?
- Are you generally positive or negative?
So, now let’s get serious. How would others describe your attitude? More importantly, how would Jesus describe your attitude?
A Work in Progress,