Attitude Is Everything

Attitude Is Everything

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
–2 Corinthians 5:17

It was November 1989, and my brother, my sister, and I were in the hospital waiting room awaiting the surgeon’s report on my father. The surgeon came in and said, “Your father has pancreatic cancer. It has spread everywhere. There is nothing we can do.” So we asked the inevitable question: “How long does he have left?” The doctor said, “It’s impossible to know. It could be weeks or months. It might even be a year. But attitude is everything.” That struck me. With all the medical technologies available, the doctor said the greatest way to predict my father’s longevity was his attitude. Harvard psychologist William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” In other words, if you can change your attitude, you can change your life.

A changed life is the bottom line of Christianity, isn’t it? In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Theologians tell us there are three kinds of change that Christians experience. First, there is a positional change. The moment we trust in Christ for salvation, our position with God changes. We are no longer enemies of God; we become children of God. The theological term for this change is justification. It is done in an instant, the moment we place our faith in Christ.

Second, there is a permanent change that awaits us. The Bible says, “To be absent from the body [is] to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). The moment you die, your spirit goes to be with Jesus Christ. But that’s not the end of it. The old body you leave behind will one day be changed, and you will receive a new body from God that is free from pain and suffering. The theological term for this change is glorification, and it will happen at the rapture. The Bible says in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed and receive the new body God prepared for us.

There is a third kind of change that happens to a Christian, and that is a progressive change. The theological term for this change is sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we become more like Jesus Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” When you become a Christian, God doesn’t zap you and make you like Jesus automatically. He conforms you. It is a process.

Our positional change, when we become children of God, is God’s work alone. We receive it as a gift. Our permanent change, which awaits us one day when we receive a brand-new body, is something only God can do. But our progressive change, becoming more like Christ, is a joint process between God and us. We can either cooperate with God and allow our circumstances to make us like Christ, or we can rebel against God and allow our circumstances to destroy us.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Attitude Is Everything” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.