Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I started talking about maintaining a positive attitude. It’s something we talk a lot about, think about.
First, be glad. Did you know that God demands gladness?
- “Tell the heavens and the earth to be glad and celebrate!” (Psalm 96:11 – CEV)
- “This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today.” (Psalm 118:24 – CEV)
Secondly, gladness is contagious. Want to get glad? Hang out with happy people, many of whom attend church. Not the sad church or the fighting church. Keep clear of them—go to a happy church! Find happy believers and get with them. Happy believers hang out in happy places. The psalmist said:
- “It made me glad to hear them say, Let’s go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1 – CEV). God grants happiness to his followers.
- “If you obey and do right, a light will show you the way and fill you with happiness. (Psalm 97:11 – CEV). Gladness is so vital to healthy Christianity .
Third, be gentle. It is one of the fruits of the spirit. You will be much more effective in your life for God if you choose to walk the road of gentleness. Leo Buscaglia said, “Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” Prove your spiritual strength through gentleness with others. God considers gentle folks to be beautiful and special people. The Apostle Peter wrote: “Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special.” (1 Peter 3:4 – CEV)
Stop worrying—pray and be thankful
Now, don’t worry about anything! Mark Twain wrote, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles—by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” I agree. we have only so many days on this planet.
Jesus had something to say about worry:
“I tell you not to worry about your life! Don’t worry about having something to eat or wear. Life is more than food or clothing. Look at the birds ! They don’t plant or harvest, and they don’t have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. Can worry make you live longer? If you don’t have power over small things, why worry about everything else? Look how the wild flowers grow! They don’t work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn’t as well clothed as one of these flowers. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won’t he do even more for you? You have such little faith! Don’t keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. But put God’s work first, and these things will be yours as well.” (Luke 12:22-31 – CEV)
When you choose not to worry, even when circumstances seem to promote worry, you have enabled a more powerful attitude in your life. If you want to be an effective Christian, make a habit of not worrying!
Remember also to pray about everything. This should help those who are struggling with worry. Martin Luther said, “Pray, and let God worry.” Prayer is a vital aspect of every believer’s life. Yet, we spend so little time in prayer. I am convinced that the more I commit to prayer the less I need to commit to worry. Abraham Lincoln understood the central importance of prayer. He said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go”.
I think it’s also helpful to have a thankful heart. Grace has come into our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. Thankful hearts are happy hearts and happy hearts are effective in stirring desire within others to know Christ: “Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do”. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Do you thank God for the difficulties? Now, that’s a big ask. Are you appreciative of the uncomfortable circumstances of life? God is in control! Thank Him! The benefits? Peace beyond understanding! The Apostle Paul wrote: “Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. (Philippians 4:7 – CEV)
Own these habits
The secret to activating these great habits in your life? “Keep your mind focused on things that are true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Think about things that are worthwhile and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 – CEV)
I think it’s also important to take responsibility for your own life. Many times complaining is just an attempt to blame other people for the problem. If I have brought the problem on myself, I need to take responsibility for it. I don’t need to complain or blame others for the problems—that helps no-one.
More often than not, the situation is mine because I got myself into it—I’m the cause of it—I need to take responsibility for it. This practice goes back a long way. Do you remember the fall of Adam and Eve? After Adam ate the fruit, do you remember what he did? He blamed Eve for giving him the fruit. Then he blamed God for creating the woman.
It is easy to blame others for our own mistakes. In the book of Proverbs from The Message we read: “People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?” (Proverbs 19:3 – MSG) Adam blamed God for the mistake he made; we blame God for our mistakes sometimes too. All of our actions have consequences. If I drop the ball do I need to complain when it bounces back? You know the Bible says: “…Whatever a man sows he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7b – HCSB)
When I bring problems into my life, I have no legitimate right to complain about it. You are free to do whatever you want in your life. Sometimes we make wise choices, sometimes we make stupid choices—but whatever the choices we make, we need to take responsibility for them. The consequences will follow.
(To be continued in Trying to Maintain a Positive Attitude – Part 3)