Is it time for an attitude check?
Ever been told to “check your attitude” or that it was time for an attitude check?
In youth group, attitude checks were a regular reminder to reflect on our state of mind. Were we thinking positively or negatively? I was often in trouble for having a “bad” attitude. And as a teenage girl, I thought attitudes could only be good or bad, positive or negative.
But what if the best way to check our attitudes isn’t to ask whether they are good or bad, but whether we are thinking like Christ or like ourselves? God tells us to have the same attitude as Jesus:
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5, NLT).
Jesus approached life with a humble attitude, putting obedience to God first and serving others a close second. And as we look at what Jesus’ friends and earliest followers wrote about His life on Earth, we start to see what it looks like to take His attitude in our everyday lives.
Jesus lived in relationship with His Father.
Jesus lived every day in relationship with the Father (John 14:10, John 8:28-29, Luke 5:16). They walked step-by-step together. Jesus allowed His thoughts to be filtered through conversations with God. When Jesus was broken over the death of His cousin, He told God.
Jesus had more than a positive attitude; He had a relationship with God.
The amazing thing is, we can do the same thing. We have access to a relationship with God through our faith in Jesus. When we are feeling forgotten, envious, or just plain mad, we can tell God.
The beautiful thing is, God wants us to tell Him everything! It’s amazing what a simple conversation with God can do to our attitude. His perspective trumps our perspective, and pretty soon, our attitudes start to look more like Jesus’.
Jesus lived like He knew He was loved.
Jesus knew God loved Him (Matthew 3:17, Ephesians 5:1). Even more, Jesus knew God was pleased with Him. God didn’t love Jesus because of the good work He would do on Earth. God loved Jesus because Jesus was His son.
Jesus’ thoughts and actions toward others were motivated out of this overflowing love. Because Jesus knew His Father loved Him, He was able to take the selfless journey to the cross. Knowing God’s love for Him allowed Him to see the cross as a circumstance, not as a punishment, and to understand that this trial would eventually benefit the entire world.
As God’s children, we also get to experience God’s love. He loves us before we think, do, or say anything. And that changes everything. When we feel comparison killing our joy or gloom weighing us down, we can rest in knowing God’s love for us doesn’t change. His love doesn’t shift depending on our circumstances. He loves us because we’re His.
Jesus lived to please God.
Jesus lived for one purpose: to please His Father (John 5:30). Jesus didn’t live to please other people or even Himself. Jesus could live at peace with Himself and others because His one goal was to please His Father.
Too often, our attitude drifts when we try to please the wrong person. We start to think we could make ourselves or other people happy if our circumstances were different. But when we live our lives aiming to please God, we experience freedom from the need to constantly be who we think others want us to be.
Jesus had more than a positive attitude; He had a relationship with God. And because the same spirit that lived in Jesus lives in us, we can take His attitude and perspective in our lives every day.
Not sure where your attitude is? Consider these three questions:
- Do you have a relationship with God? If so, are you taking your thoughts to God in prayer and allowing Him to filter them through His perspective?
- Are you allowing God’s love to affect the way you think about your circumstances?
- Who are you trying to please today? Yourself, someone else, or God?