So, of all the topics I have talked about this year pertaining to spiritual growth, I have yet to talk about one of great importance; that is, our attitude. One person writes, “We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” Like so many areas of our lives, attitudes are cultivated and nurtured through our thought life. Our ability let alone willingness, to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2nd Corinthians 10:5) is inextricably linked to the conditioning of the mind.
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless
and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and
perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…
What is interesting to me about the verses above, is that they follow the exhortation given by Paul to the Philippian church to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Matthew Henry writes, “Those who complain most are most to be complained of.” Ouch! If there is a battlefield in my mind at times, it is this fight against complaining. God wants me to “do all things without it”! In the Greek Old Testament, this word is used to describe Israel’s attitude as they journeyed toward the promised land (Numbers 11:1). Paul, using the events of Israel of old as “our examples” (1st Corinthians 10:6), encourages the Corinthian church to avoid complaining because it doesn’t end well (1st Corinthians 10:10). Whether intentional or not, the word that follows seems only reasonable; that is, disputing. People who are not content, who are caught in this vicious cycle called complaining, tend to be contentious. I know this to be true personally.
…holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ
that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Our attitude towards our daily walk as Christians is not always easy…right? We live in a “crooked and perverse” world that is constantly knocking on the door of compromise. But we choose to hold “fast the word of life,” enabling us to “shine as lights in the world,” all for the glory of Christ our Lord and Savior. So today, maybe it’s time for an attitude check: I know it is for me. As one person put it, “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” I hate to admit it, but sometimes I simply need to grow up.