November 20, 2023
Yet our praise should not be limited to just one day out of the year. Throughout the Psalms, David and others speak of praising God on a daily basis.
Psalm 145:2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
Psalms 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Last week, God plowed pretty deeply into the sinful, dirty clods of my own heart. With the precision of a skilled farmer with his trusty shovel, God sent the blade of His conviction into my heart and showed me the gravity of my wrong attitudes and just how devastating bad attitudes are in my life. It’s often painful when God convicts and shows me my sin, yet there’s a sweetness, like freshly turned spring dirt, when I respond humbly to God.
I remember hearing a sermon as a teenager titled, “An Attitude of Gratitude.” My attitude towards that sermon was flippant, thinking I didn’t need to work on any gratitude in my heart. As it turns out, I wish I had taken that sermon to heart and really learned to praise God.
I am learning, so very slowly, that not only do I need to say a few praises to God in my morning Bible time, but the whole posture of my heart and life should be one of gratitude towards God. Gratitude essentially says, “God, I trust You and what You have done for me. You are enough for me, and I will praise You and be thankful for what You have provided for me.”
Our attitudes are directly linked to our gratitude. If my heart is full of praise to God, then my attitude will be right. If my heart grumbles and murmurs, my attitude will not be right.
Having a wrong attitude is simply that…it’s wrong. A wrong attitude is displeasing to God. A wrong attitude essentially says, “God, I don’t like what You are doing, and You better do something to fix it!” It also says, “God, I don’t trust You to really take care of me. If You really cared about me, You would not let this happen to me.”
Oh, I cannot count how many times I let a bad attitude steal my joy! For you see, bad attitudes are joy killers. A bad attitude comes in a sneaky disguise, promising to give us what we want, but then like a greedy fox, it snatches our joy in its viscous teeth and heads for the cover of the dark woods.
Thinking I can have a little bad attitude to appease my flesh and then have mostly a good attitude doesn’t work. It’s like letting the greedy fox have one leg of the chicken. Before you know it, that fox will have yanked and pulled and succeeded in dragging the whole chicken off into the woods. A little bit of a bad attitude will spoil any amount of right attitude that was left in our hearts.
(In case you are wondering, we recently had a fox sneak through the woods and grab one of our chicken girls. Rest in peace, Pistachio.)
So how do I have a right attitude? It’s really quite simple. Are you ready for the answer? It might shock you. I must simply choose to have a right attitude at the moment of decision when I am being tempted to have a bad attitude. I must choose not to let go of my joy, and I must choose, in that moment, to have a right attitude. In the moment of decision, I must yield my will to the will of God. In the moment of temptation, I must choose to trust God and praise Him for what He is doing in my life.
Oh, it’s hard, so very hard sometimes. I understand, and I am just learning to exercise my right attitude muscles. But you know, the more I practice having a right attitude, the easier it gets. I am learning to surrender my will quicker to God, and the quicker I surrender to God, the quicker He extends me the grace to have a right attitude and move forward with right decisions.
The godliest people I have even known have not always been the ones front and center. No, often they aren’t the ones who have written spiritual books and they are not “on staff” at a church. They are not presidents of Christian colleges or teachers at a Christian school.
The godliest people I have known are often the quiet, unassuming ones, tucked away in little-known churches. These people are humble; and that humility is what makes them godly. (Beware of a proud “godly” person who thinks he is sent straight from heaven). These godly ones have walked the walk, and their relationship with God is real.
One such godly lady goes to my church, and she probably doesn’t realize just how much I have watched her and learned from her. I have watched this dear, older lady lose not just one but two daughters this year. You know what has made her testimony shine like a clear morning sun? Her attitude.
At a time when she could have stayed home and felt sorry for herself she came to church. Not only did she come to church, but she raised her hand, and in her usual eloquent way, gave testimony to God’s goodness and working. This dear lady was praising God, when from a human standpoint, she did not have to do so. This godly lady chose to have a right attitude when probably every fiber of her being did not feel like having a right attitude. May this lady’s godly attitude ever stay etched in my spiritual memory.
That’s the kind of stability that I want in my life: the kind of stability that can praise God in the midst of the deepest river of trial. Yet that kind of stability does not flow out of a bad attitude. Stability flows from a right attitude and a heart that choses, no matter what, to trust God and believe Him. God doesn’t give grace to bad attitudes. God gives grace to humble hearts, and even when our hearts are sad or weary, He extends grace when our hearts turn to Him in obedience.
I realize that this post may not have been the most fun to read, but if you read to the end, I hope that you received a blessing. Can I be honest with you? I have spent so much of my life having a bad attitude, and I wish that more people had lovingly confronted me about my attitude many years ago. I am not trying to be anyone’s mother, but like an older sister, I hope to encourage others.
Don’t walk the hard road that I chose. Choose a right attitude, and you will find joy in the Lord!
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