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Monday, November 20, 2006

All About Attitude

I intended to write a continuation of last week’s article addressing World War III. But this being the start of our holiday season an article on Thanksgiving seemed more appropriate. What follows are thoughts and excerpts taken from my sermon on Sunday. So, here goes.

Thanksgiving is more than recognizing God’s providential blessing on you, your family, or the United States. It is more than a federally authorized day off. It’s even more than a long weekend. In particular for the Christian, or any person who desires to know God more fully, thanksgiving is a way of life.

When you get right down to it, it is your attitude that makes the difference. Some Christians I know want a closer walk with the Lord, yet their attitudes are hardly godly. I would submit that your attitude is more a reflection of your heart than anything else. Are you smiling on Sunday, but the rest of the week you’re walking around with a chip on your shoulder? Are people avoiding you because you’re angry about something? Do you claim to have a great marriage but in reality resent your wife/husband? The best face you can put on this would be to say you are naïve. At worst, you are hypocritical. So, what do you do?

An attitude is something you develop by the choices you make. For instance, you choose to listen to the positive and negative attitudes in your life. You embrace them, or your reject them. It’s your call. There’s no blaming others. No pointing the finger at parents. No passing it off on your heritage. This is why you have heard the phrase, “You are known by the company you keep.”

God has the most positive attitude of anyone. After all, he’s the one who sees us at our worst – and he still does not give up on us. If you and I had treated our parents the way we have treated God, we could hardly blame our folks for washing their hands of us. Not so with God. He loves you and me so much that he is willing to endure our bad behavior because he knows what he can accomplish in us given the chance. This is one of the primary reasons why I rejoice in my relationship with the Lord. He never gives up on me.

I find it interesting that Jesus always gave thanks. When he was holding the loaves of bread and the fish he gave thanks. Four thousand and more people were fed from those few loaves and fish. So momentous an occasion was this that the hillside where this miracle occurred became known throughout the region as, “the place where people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.” (John 6:23)

When Jesus was enjoying a final meal with the disciples, “he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it.” He also “took the cup, gave thanks, and offered it to them.” He was able to give thanks at a meal where he knew he would experience the ultimate betrayal. In a matter of hours he would be hanging on a cross.

Since the Bible says we are to be conformed into the image of Jesus, God’s son, it makes sense that we might ask the question, “What should my attitude be then?” Answer: It should be the same as that of Jesus.

One final thought about attitude. How do you want people to remember you? Ask yourself this question: “If I were to die today, how would people remember me?” If you’re not sure, or you don’t like the obvious answer, you may want to ask God to help you with this. He’s an expert at changing our attitude. It begins with a new heart.

This Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, begin the rest of your life with an attitude of thanksgiving. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel, not to mention the difference family and friends will see. Being thankful is not a feeling – it’s an attitude. Others will see it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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