The Attitude Behind this Post
Seeking to Grow. That’s the attitude my Hearts desire is to challenge myself and others to a right relationship with God. So Many times I have watched both my attitude and the attitudes of others stand in the way of effective ministry. I watch as kids witness poor attitudes of the “righteous” and they walk away. Somewhere along the line have lost focus of what our purpose is is and taken our eyes off the one who gave us HOPE beyond all hope and turned our eyes to ourselves.
Today I had a discussion with 6 kids in Junior Church about having an attitude of Gratitude. The catalyst BIBLE MAN- a kids program that really focuses on the Armor of God and this particular episode talked about when we keep Jesus in view our faith doesn’t falter. We keep things in check right where they should be. THEN after the faith they talked about gratitude. Those two episodes back to back got me thinking. When we actively practice our faith (not just going through the motions and putting on a front of false righteousness) we then find ourselves choosing to be grateful and our attitudes are radically different……
So here has been my thought process in working through this study of sorts over the last month or so:
A Little History
Attitudes- if you listen to parents at all MOST of them will admit that at some point in their child’s life they struggle with having an attitude. Toddlers have attitudes. School aged kids have attitudes, middle schoolers have attitudes, High schoolers have attitudes….AND HERES’s A NEWSFLASH FOR YOU: ADULTS HAVE ATTITUDES.
When I was in middles school my school was divided into two sections and it was divided by the cafeteria, a couple of classrooms and the Library. On one side was the 5th and 6th graders and on the other side was the 7th and 8th graders and on the rare occasion paths would cross for the two aged groups and it was not uncommon to hear the older group say to the unsuspecting younger kid “Duck, Your epidermis is showing”. Now in that setting the poor unsuspecting 5th grader does not know what an epidermis is (It’s the outer layer of shin- visible on your face arms and hands. ). But the poor little kiddo thinks something much worse and immediately covers their pants thinking their zipper is down! It’s mean es yes I know But in the same respect looking back it was kinda hilarious. I didn’t do it to the kids at school BUT you can sure bet I took it home and tested it on my little brothers. (Pssst….IT WORKED)
An Epidermis and an Attitude are similar
Outside of being a mummy- everyone can see some portion of your epidermis. It IS showing. When we left middle school and went to high school no one cared about playing that trick anymore. it was childish.. Attitude on the other hand we think is hidden we put on a good front. We whitewash our exterior and put on a phony mask. we act cheerful and say hi and maybe even get into people’s faces and MAKE them say hi and then when we THINK everyone one is gone we let loose our complaints.
-OR- There are those who don’t care and are downright obnoxious about their bad attitude because they are entitled to their bad attitude. They Might say “Oh I was just joking or kidding around” but the truth of the matter is :
Matthew 15:18-20 New International Version (NIV)
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were upset because they were al worried about outward appearances and what is being done and how things are being done. They would spout off and didn’t’t really care about the purpose or reason behind something. They were revealing what was really in their hearts.
But if the Pharisees had remembered and taken to heart their teaching they would have remembered “
Proverbs 15:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
But I can hear it now you are saying “but Mary me and my buds aren’t asking for something evil.” My response would be:
Colossians 3:8 NIV
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
So then what should our response be? Well In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV: we are COMMANDED to :
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Did you catch that?????? If you are NOT thankful in all things YOU ARE OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD! WHOA! This is an AHA! moment for me!. But we are also COMMANDED to have the Fruit of the Spirit which is found in :
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
And the Bible ALSO says :
Matthew 7:16-20 New International Version (NIV)
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
So are you full of wrath, anger, malice, bitterness? OR are you full of gentleness, kindness and patience? Earlier this evening as I was looking over some verses a thought popped into my head and I decided to share it to Facebook. I have been in more than one situation where someone walks into a room with the explicit purpose to set people strait or to raise a stink, or cause problems. The problem is it rarely if ever does anything positive when that approach is taken . Here’s what I wrote:
Studying out passages for my blog post I’m writing and here is my question…..As believers we teach our kids and believe That God is everywhere so where do we get off walking into a room proclaiming we are going to create problems? Do we really think the King of Kings is impressed with our attitudes and behavior? (That is downright hypocrisy- to teach one ay and live another) So not only did we just lose our testimony before those in the room but we also disappointed the Savior of our souls. Our words and attitudes hold far greater weight than getting across our own opinions-rights-desires- False joy/ happiness is spotted a million mile away when there are words of disunity to follow.
Let’s be honest when we are in these moments of “making people see I’m right and choosing to stir up trouble” we believe we have righteous intentions but here is what Proverbs 1528 NIV has to say about the righteous person and their words:
8 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,
but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
Yep I already shared that verse above but it really does need to be repeated and committed to memory!
I know I know but you say “Mary but I…..” We as believers REALLY need to give up our personal pronouns. We…..I…….You……Us……and we REALLY need to stat our arguments with “BUT GOD…….” and if you cannot finish that statement with a biblical principle or truth from God’s word – and not some phone baloney garbage that fits what you want it to say- than we need to recognize that I and we as it is. Selfish ambition. Luke 14:33 NIV says it best
In the same way, those of you who do NOT give up EVERYTHING you have CANNOT be my disciples.
OUCH! We cannot let our “stuff” get in the way of being disciples of Christ. This means attachments in physical, relational, emotional and mental. This means our selfish ambitions. YOUR RIGHTS. OUR STINKY ATTITUDES. This is hard to swallow but this is the principle of dying to self.
When we hold onto the anger, the wrath, and the malice we are letting evil into our lives. It changes our focus we lose sight of the purpose God has called us to and it distracts us from being useful in His work.
And yet we think ourselves righteous and religious and we think it’s our duty to spout off for whatever reason.
James 1:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Now over the last few months I have been camped in the end of the New Testament and the idea of being deceived is a recurrent one. We can be deceived by smooth talkers. Ones who “make a good point” and we allow ourselves to lose sight of the greater purpose. To Love God and serve others. We get wrapped up in a feeling of feeling bitter. it’s kinda like the flu. one person get’s it and it spreads like wildfire if people aren’t awake and paying attention to what’s REALLY going on around them
I think one of the most frustrating events happened when I was 17 wish. It was in a church business meeting and our church had just completed a church building project. And a family in our church were foster parents and they had a daughter who was wheel chair ridden. Each week I watched her foster dad and other men from our church carry that girl up and down the stairs to where her Sunday school class was. It was dangerous to say the least. our church began investigating safer options that would accommodate this family. As a teen with a disability( though this did not directly apply to me ) Was proud that my church wanted to meet this need and couldn’t wait to vote to help this family. It came time for the meeting ad all of the findings were shared and the church had decided to go with an external elevator to be added to the outside of the new addition and it was almost time for the vote when someone from the back piped up in a very angry voice. This person saw no need for an elevator and it was a waste of money……the kicker in all of this was that this person too was in a wheelchair Her husband had carried her up the front steps of the church for years until a ramp was built which they happily used. She was the only one who voted no for the elevator. To this day this account breaks my heart. It left a lasting impression on my heart for what bitterness and anger will do to a person.
It was THAT dissension and disunity that affected me as a teen freshly given what I thought was a life sentence. I COULD have caught her bitterness……
As I have processed all of this “attitude” thoughts this week I have bounced from one thing to the next. I have had to re-evaluate my own hurt feelings God’s word is convicting. It’s supposed to be. Here are just dome of my thoughts I shared on social media as I hashed this out in my head….
Thoughts on Attitudes
We can stand and stomp our foot , yelling and demanding our own way like a two year old seeking our own preferences. We will be held accountable! but only when standing before our God will we be found shameful because we have wasted valuable time and energy for not seeking God’s will instead of our own. When He asks you why did you make that an issue how do you think he will react to “because I wanted it! “. There are people hurting who need a Savior. There are people dying. There are defenseless being harmed and we lose sight of those that Jesus died for because “I wanted it my way”
As I re-read this tonight I got to thinking about something, when we are fighting for God’s way instead of our own we will never have a bad attitude. We won’t lose our testimony. People may talk smack about us behind our backs (By the way that’s gossip and yeah that’s evil in the sight of God too). but in the end their testimony is ruined and we are still in the fight for God’s way. God’s way= right motives. Our way= selfish ambition.
Even if a million people decided to go against a principle in God’s word- it’s still sin. I don’t care what it is. We live in a country and a culture where our desires are more important than God’s principles. On the day he was crucified Jesus stood alone. Because people chose their comfort over the one who was about to die for them. AND YET HE STILL DID! He took his comfort and nailed it to a cross. He died to self in the most literal way! We as believers forget that we WILL have to answer to God too. Are we prepared to defend our choices and attitudes against Jesus’ sacrifice. Because that SHOULD be our driving force!
There is a lot that goes behind this statement. Most of which is my experience as a an extended short term missionary in a place that hates Christians. I have little to no tolerance for crazy church behavior and neither would you if you met people who went against their government to worship God We waste our time on foolish things.
- I would rather know my life was spent: fighting for unborn babies, teaching moms to care for their children so they don’t lose them to CPS, care for teenagers who don’t know what real love is ,
- I want to listen too the mom who is losing a loved one.
- I want to hug the one who realizes her child is in danger and she can’t do a blessed thing about it,
- I want to encourage those who are seeking to follow God with everything they’ve got and yet their world sees to be falling apart,
- I want to care for kids who are not understood and are cast aside.
- I want to bring joy and peace and growth into peoples lives.
- I want to minister to the homeless man in the park after 9/11 and gets saved,
- I want to hold someones hand who fears that their faith will lead to their imprisonment.
- I want to hug that little red-headed boy who just saved his baby sister from dying as his drunk father sleeps in the chair next to him.
- I want to see people come to Jesus and wipe away tears of pain as I share what HOPE really looks like.
- I WANT to be doing God’s work NOT Satans destructive plans.
I don’t want to be a apart of silly useless arguments about elevators, carpet colors or whatever other stupid useless arguments churches find themselves in. What’s happening is SATAN is using those things to distract us from what’s most important PEOPLE. People who are hurt, broken and alone. (This isn’t about being a pastor’s wife- a lot of these things happened before I ever thought I would be a pastors wife and if tomorrow I was no longer a pastors wife I would still want to do these things).
I know we have spent a bunch of time talking about the negative Side of attitude. BUT there is hope and it is in YOU! You have the power to change a situation. We all have a choice to have a bad attitude, an attitude of indifference, an attitude that fosters a bad attitude or an attitude that points people back to TRUTH (in love of course because if it isn’t than it’s just a bad attitude wrapped in Scripture).
So I told those 6 kiddos in Junior church that they had the power to choose a Good attitude. and they were dumfounded. You wanna know why? I believe it is because it hasn’t’t been modeled for them. AND this is NOT necessarily a parenting issue. Remember back to all of my POWER of YOUR INFLUENCE blog posts. If you live and breathe you are an influence The choice is whether it’s a positive or negative one. And let’s be honest the very first influence you are with any person but especially kids is your speech and how you talk to them. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to answer “why doesn’t so and so like me?” and it was based all around what was said and how it was said.
We need to start making our choice to have a positive attitude. We have that power to change. and if we all actively choose to have attitudes based in the Fruit of the Spirit -We will change. And when we change our families will change. And when our families change, Our churches will change. And when your churches change our communities will change. And when communities change our country starts to look different. And THAT my friends is how one person can change the world!
We can have all the Bible Studies and prayer meetings and church services in the world but if gossip and bitterness pride and discord are allowed to enter, then they will always be fruitless.
I want to leave you with perspective from Matthew 12:33-37.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We take our words and our attitudes lightly. I challenge all of us to move past what we want in our attitudes and change them to a godly perspective.
So won’t you join me this week as I seek to let my attitude be changed !