What the Bible Says about the Importance of Attitude

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
–Philippians 4:11

Throughout the Bible there is an emphasis on our attitude. For example, Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Philippians 2:5 says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” And Philippians 3:15 says, “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you.” You will never change your life until you change your attitude. Let’s look at some key biblical insights about attitude.

First, our attitudes are chosen. We don’t always get to pick our circumstances. But how we view those circumstances is our choice. Think about the apostle Paul–he experienced his share of negative circumstances. At one point in his life he was under arrest facing his possible execution. And in the middle of that arrest, he wrote a letter to the Philippians. Nineteen times in that little letter he talked about rejoicing in the Lord. In Philippians 4:11, he said, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” This feeling of contentment isn’t something that comes naturally to any of us. His attitude was a choice, just like yours is as well. Now, some depression is chemical and needs to be treated by a doctor, but some of it is a choice. Whenever we are living outside of God’s will for our lives, there will be depression. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how to respond to those circumstances. Attitudes are a choice.

Second, our attitudes are influenced by input. I hear people say, “I’m just so angry all the time.” Yet you talk to them, and you know what they spend their time doing? Listening to talk radio or cable news. Let me let you in on a secret: those are designed to make you angry. Other people say, “I have so much trouble with impure thoughts.” Then you look at what they are reading or the websites they visit. No wonder they feel that way! That is why Paul said in Philippians 4:8 that we need to guide the input that comes into our mind. He said, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Our attitudes are not only influenced by what we listen to, what we see, and what we read, but our attitudes are also affected by the people we hang out with. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon warned over and over again about the type of people you ought to avoid. Solomon’s father, David, also warned against hanging around ungodly people. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord.” Solomon and David understood that attitudes are contagious. That is why you cannot afford to hang around ungodly people if you want to develop an attitude of the righteous.

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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.

 

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