The Attitude of Thanks-Living
My attitude can make or break me, heal or hurt, make friends or enemies, make me happy or miserable, or make me a success or a failure. My attitude holds great power. Next to knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, nothing is as important as having a good, positive attitude.
Have you ever met someone who thinks the whole world stinks? I heard a story once that makes this point well. Once a cranky grandpa laid down to take a nap. To have a little fun, his grandson put some limburger cheese on his mustache, right under his nose. Grandpa awoke with a snort, staggered out of the bedroom and shouted, "This room stinks!" On through the house he went, shouting louder, "This whole house stinks!" He charged out on the porch and shouted as loud as he could, "The whole world stinks!"
The truth is, it was grandpa who stunk. The problem was right under his own nose.
I have found that when I begin to think that life stinks, the problem is not the world or others, but ME! The problem is that my attitude has become negative. I have lost my thankfulness. For it is our attitude and not our aptitude that determines our altitude in life.
There are at least three things we should know about our attitude. The first thing we should know is that it reveals who we really are…the real me.
How important is our attitude? Our attitude is more important than: facts - circumstances - what others say
- our past - our education or - our money. Attitude is much deeper than just a few thoughts we think. Our attitude comes out of the core of our very being. Our attitude is our disposition, our outlook, our very character. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) "For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is..."
If you take a jar of water and put the lid on it loosely, then shake the jar greatly until the water comes out, then ask the question, “Why was the water spilled out?” It could be because of a loose lid, or I shook the jar, or gravity. But I think the real reason the water came out is because the jar was filled with water.
WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE IS WHAT COMES OUT
Jesus said, in Matthew 15:17-18 “Do ye not yet understand, that whatsoever enters in at the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Our attitudes become our actions.
Personally, I find the fact that my attitude reveals the real me to be quite sobering. When I do or say something that obviously wasn’t the right thing, I like to say..."I didn’t mean it." "Where did THAT come from?" But in reality, it came from inside. Please understand, we don’t have an attitude just because we had a bad day. All that a bad day can ever do
is shake our jar so that what is inside us spews forth. The reason we have a bad attitude is because we have a bad attitude.
Secondly, my attitude determines the success or the failure
my relationships. What a difference our attitude makes! It not only affects our relationship in life, but sometimes relationships
will never get started in the first place because our attitude
has built up walls, making it difficult for people to be around us.
Let’s face it, bad attitudes effect our marriage, our relationship with our kids, our work, our church, and our friends
The thing that makes a bad attitude so destructive is that like the jar of water with the loose lid on it, a bad attitude is eventually going to spill out into some negative actions,
destructive words and deeds. Oftentimes the things that we criticize and get all stirred up about are not the problem at all.
The problem is our own sour, sick, bad attitude.
Thirdly, my attitude is always my choice. Much like the man who said this about his days in college. "No, I never actually was in the top half of my class, but I can say that
I was in the group that made the top half possible..."
Two men are in prison. While one man looks out through the bars and sees only mud, the other looks out through the same bars and sees the moon & stars. They are both in the same place. What’s the difference? It’s the attitude of choice.
Without a doubt, the human mind is the most awesome creation of God. With it, God has given us the ability to think,
to reason and to choose whether we focus on the positive or the negative. We cannot choose what will happen to us today because it’s beyond my control, but we can choose our own attitude. We each have the power to decide how we will respond to what happens to us.
Another great example of how powerful our choices are is the story of Robert. Robert had cerebral palsy - yet he said...
"I have everything I need for joy!"
His hands are twisted, his feet are useless, He can't bathe himself, he can't feed himself, he can't brush his teeth or comb his hair, or even put on his underwear. His shirts are held together by Velcro. He drags like a worn-out tape. Robert has cerebral palsy. The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk, but it did NOT keep him from
graduating from high school, or attending Abilene Christian University, where he graduated with a degree in Latin.
Having cerebral palsy didn't keep him from teaching at St Louis Jr. College or from venturing overseas on five mission trips. And Robert's disease didn't prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal. He moved to Lisbon alone where he rented a hotel room and began studying the Portuguese language. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after the rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in Portuguese. Then he stationed himself daily in the park, where he distributed brochures about Jesus. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.
When Robert speaks men carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. He lays his Bible in his lap and with his stiff fingers he clumsily turns the pages while in the audience people wipe away their tears. Robert could have asked for sympathy or pity, but he does just the opposite. He holds his bent arm into the air and boasts--- "I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED FOR JOY."
Maybe right now you are feeling very broken. Your life has taken way too many turns for the worse, and a lot of things have gone wrong. It seems like everything has fallen right down on top of you. You’re weary, overwhelmed and your hopes & dreams seem to have faded over the distant horizon.
It is not easy when the stuff of life hits you on the head, knocks you down and then kicks you in the stomach. In these times remember that there is something our situation can never take away from us - something that cancer, cerebral palsy, paralyses or even what you’re facing today can take away - Nothing can take our power to choose our own attitude.
I find it both interesting and tragic that the one thing that no person or circumstance can ever take away from us, is usually the first thing we give away. - the power to choose our own attitude. To blame our bad attitudes on another person or on a difficult circumstance is such a cop-out. We must not allow events and people to cause us to be negative. We must choose a positive attitude. We must choose thankfulness. When we have a heart full of thankfulness, and our life shakes us up, then gratitude will spew forth, because our attitude fuels it.
Philippians 4:8 KJV says: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Psalm 100:4-5 KJV says: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. for the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.”
Make a choice to spend the remainder of this year and throughout the Holiday Season in the spirit Thanks-Living!
~LaQuetta D. Brand