Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsSaturday 10 Oct 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
Have you had people say to you, It’s about time you change your attitude? It can be said in anger or as criticism, and it’s not easy to accept sometimes. But it’s a topic we should think about.
What does my attitude tell me about myself and how I view life? A poster once said, Attitudes are contagious—is yours worth catching? I like that—because we can have either a positive or negative attitude.
American preacher and author Chuck Swindoll once said:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.
Take Charge of Your Attitude
I heard about the head of a well-known medical university who was talking to a group of clergy. He was rather direct in what he said, “If you ministers can’t produce conversion, we will have to. Our offices are filled with people passing on the sicknesses of their minds and souls to their bodies, and they will never be well until they change their attitudes.” An interesting comment, wasn’t it?
Your attitude is how you approach everything in life. Some people walk around with negative attitudes. They see what’s wrong with everything and everybody. Others have learned to have a positive attitude. They find the good in things and people.
John Maxwell wrote a book about attitude and said people always project on the outside what they feel on the inside. Like the little four-year-old boy who was getting on his mother’s nerves. He was being very naughty and cheeky. So she told him to sit on a chair until she said otherwise, as punishment to which he replied, OK, mummy—I’m sitting on the outside but I’m standing up on the inside.
Remember Your Choice: Bitter or Better
You may know the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni was a very active young woman. She was an athlete and loved swimming. On a family outing, she dived into some shallow water. She thought it was deeper, but it wasn’t. Tragically, she broke her neck and became paralyzed from the neck down. It seemed her young carefree life was over. At the age of 22, she was a total paraplegic. She became bitter. She would cry for hours, and cry out to God, Why did this happen to me? It’s not fair! For months she was angry at God. Even though she was a Christian, her circumstances were such that she had difficulty believing that a loving God could allow a tragic accident like this to happen. But over the long months of treatment, the Holy Spirit began to whisper, Bitter, or Better? She had a choice to make.
“Always give thanks to God for everything” – Ephesians 5:20
She could remain bitter about her circumstances, or she could make the best of them. It was her choice. She had the power to change her attitude. Why? Because she took to heart the words from Ephesians 5:20, “Always give thanks to God for everything.”
After several more long months of therapy, she found she could move her head a bit. So she put a paintbrush in her mouth and began painting. She learned how to be grateful for even this small blessing. She created a line of special greeting cards which sold well everywhere. Then she began a ministry to handicapped people. The ministry grew to be a world-wide ministry. Joni could have remained bitter.
Cultivate a Thankful Heart
A lot of people in similar circumstances have simply shut down; they would wallow in self-pity. They blame themselves, others, and even God. They have not made the critical choice to cultivate a thankful heart. But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Joni Eareckson developed the attitude of gratitude. She changed her attitude. She learned how to be thankful in her own very difficult circumstances. She cultivated the attitude of gratitude and has lived a very fulfilling life. What a tremendous example of changing one’s attitude.
Some words from Psalm 37:3-6 (NKJV) can help us too;
Trust in the LORD and do good..,
Delight yourself in the Lord ,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him
And He shall bring it to pass.
Our God is bigger than any circumstances in our life that may affect the way we think, especially our attitude. Take charge of your attitude and don’t let anyone else choose it for you. The best guide is this verse from the Bible, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5),