I have been studying James 1 with teaching from Chip Ingram and the book of 1 Peter with a group from church. Both are packed with insight and teaching. However, one theme from both books that has stood out to me has been my attitude. What does my attitude say about what’s in my heart? Often, I cry out to God asking Him to change circumstances in my life or the lives of the people I love dearly. I ask things like “Why God? What is the purpose of this hardship? Why do we have to experience this?” And whether I feel like I get any glimpses of the “why” or not, the one thing that I have control over is my attitude.
I can choose to see God’s goodness and provision in the hard or I can feel sorry for myself as I journey through life.
In James 1, God commands us to have an attitude of joy when life's circumstances bring us to our knees. He also commands us to allow perseverance to mature and grow us. So, I can consider it a joy or gift to experience hardship so that I may grow in the likeness of Christ. It’s not easy to call hardship a joy, however…
I can have an attitude of trust that God is good. Psalm 84:11 says, “For the LORD God is our sun and shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.”
I can have an attitude of hope because God is sovereign even though life is hard. John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
In 1 Peter 4, God commands us to have an attitude of love. Our love turns into hospitality, using our spiritual gifts, and affects how we speak and serve each other. While we wait for God to transform broken things into something beautiful; He tells us to sacrificially love people as we anticipate Christ’s return.
1 Peter 1 challenges us to have an attitude of praise in a time of suffering. This allows God to be glorified and my attention to be off myself. I can anticipate God is doing a new thing!
With an attitude of humility, I can admit that I can’t do any of this on my own. Pride will keep me stuck and give me the inability to grow and mature. I can humbly ask God to give me wisdom to make good choices and joy to give God glory.
I can choose to have an attitude of willingness. To be willing to do whatever God is asking of me even if it means disappointing someone, or makes me fearful or anxious.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
James 1:2-5 ESV
My attitude can be transformed knowing that God will use the worst that I’m going through today and turn it for my best, if I trust Him to make me the person He wants me to be tomorrow (insight from Chip Ingram). I can’t always see who God is transforming me into, but I can trust that He will walk with me the whole journey and make me into something more beautiful in His timing. This truth can certainly give an attitude of peace, if you allow it.
What would others say about your attitude?
Do others sense the love you have for them?
Do you trust that God knows what He’s doing?
What kind of work is God currently doing in your heart?
What circumstances is God calling you to have joy about because He is drawing you closer to Him through it?