Friday, June 9, 2017
What's up with the attitude?
Yesterday I was reading in the book of Job and it reminded me of how self-destructive my bad attitude can be. Every time I see someone with a bad attitude on reality TV, on the news or in a restaurant I don't like what I see. A bad attitude is ugly, rude and ungrateful. When I work with kids I don't respond well to a bad attitude, so why do I think God is okay with my bad attitude? It's easy to make up excuses and pretend like it's okay to have an attitude because I have a bad day, because I'm stressed or because someone offended me. Still, I'm aware that my own attitude is my own responsibility. When kids are rude to their parents everyone suffers. The parents get tired and irritated and the kids will loose some privileges for that day as a result of their actions. I'm thinking that it's a bit the same with us and God. I know God loves me and wants to bless my life but he can't respond with blessing when my attitude is negative, ungrateful and discontent. I am in control of my own thoughts and the words I choose to let out of my mouth. My words can either be words of complaint or words that praise God.
Job is a man in the Bible who had all the reasons to complain about his life. Job was suffering and facing tremendous pain and darkness in his life, but instead of crying out to God for help in humility he chose to complain and accuse God. Job's friends tried to give him some advice but none of them spoke wisdom into Job's life. In the end a man much younger than Job was courageous enough to speak up and he spoke wisdom and truth into Job's life. The young man's name was Elihu. Elihu wasn't afraid to point out that instead of praising God and choosing to revere him Job was complaining, being self-righteous, focusing on his own glory and what other people thought of him. Job was also showing that he didn't trust God and even took it as far as to accuse God of being wrong and unjust. My conclusion from reading through chapters 29-42 in the book of Job is that God takes a bad attitude very seriously. Here's a few of the words that the young man Elihu spoke to Job:
"Far be it from God to do evil,
from the Almighty to do wrong.
He repays everyone for what they have done;
he brings on them what their conduct deserves."
"Is he not the One who says to kings, 'You are worthless,'
and to nobles, 'You are wicked,' who shows no partiality
to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor,
for they are all the work of his hands?"
"God is mighty, but despises no one;
he is mighty, and firm in his purpose."
"But if people are bound in chains,
held fast by cords of affliction,
he tells them what they have done-
that they have sinned arrogantly.
He makes them listen to correction
and commands them to repent of
If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days
and their years in contentment."
"The Almighty is beyond our reach and
exalted in power;
in his justice and great righteousness,
he does not oppress.
Therefore, people revere him,
for does he not have regard for all the
wise in heart?"
The book of Job ends with God speaking to Job out of the storm. Job listens and repents from his sins, he realizes that he has been self-righteous, complaining and falsely accusing God. After Job prays for his friends God restores his fortunes and gives him twice as much as he had before. God then blesses the later part of Job's life even more than he blessed the earlier part of his life. Reading the book of Job reminds me to be intentional about checking my own attitude every week. It's so easy for me to slip into a bad attitude when I'm tired, stressed or having a bad day. It helps when I remember that God is always present, he sees everything I do and my life can either be honoring to God or dishonoring to God. Adjusting my attitude is my responsibility. I don't respond well when other people are ungrateful, complain and accuse me, neither will God respond well to me treating him that way. Every new day I have the power to choose to express gratitude, joy and praise to God, instead of spewing out complaints and negativity.
It's astonishing what a huge difference a change of attitude can make in my life. I had a moment two weeks ago when I received some bad news, instead of complaining about it I decided to thank God for how great he is. I prayed for God to intervene in my circumstances and decided to restrain myself from spiraling down the path of negativity and worry. A few days later I received some great news and was happy to see that my new approach had made a difference. God watches every move I make, who am I to complain when everything good in my life comes from him? He is my provider of all good things and I will choose to praise him always!