Have you ever been accused of having a bad attitude? I believe that it is safe to say that whether we have or not, we all have had days when we felt like the whole world was against us. Just think of your own personal experiences from day to day, and it soon becomes clear that our attitude towards all kinds of things is not always what it should be, some days you just feel like there is a chip on your shoulder, and you just dare anyone to come along and knock it off.

Life comes at us from a lot of different directions every day. Sometimes we will feel like we own the world; and at other times we will feel like just giving up. Sometimes we will experience failure, and sometimes we will experience success. Let’s face it, that’s just a part of life; we will all experience a certain amount of success and failure, ups and downs in our lives.

This is why it is so important to achieve and maintain a “good attitude” when life comes at us from so many different directions. This is one of the most difficult, yet I believe one of the most crucial tasks that we will ever face.

We cannot allow our attitude to become negative when we experience times of trouble. For if we do, we will suffer for it in all kinds of different ways. It seems to me that the more I consider this whole idea of our attitude that the more it becomes clear to me that one of the worst things a person can have is a bad attitude. It determines the way you feel, the way you think, the way you respond to almost everything. You simply cannot separate yourself from your attitude any more than you can separate yourself from your shadow. Attitude is always there at the very center of things, shaping all of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

The attitude we have toward our work will affect how we do it; the attitude we have toward our school work will determine what kind of grades we get. The attitude we have towards our catechism classes will affect how we will learn our questions and answers. If our attitude toward our classmates is one of love, we will feel like doing all we can to help when help is needed; however, if our attitude towards our classmates is one of hostility and hatred, we will not feel like doing him any favors. Our attitude gives our inner outlook on things.

In a sense, we are all what our attitudes are. One doesn’t have to be around someone very long before he can figure out what kind of attitude he has. A person’s attitude literally shapes his whole personality – how he thinks, how he feels, how he studies, how he works, how he plays, how he worships – everything.

No doubt it is easy to maintain a good positive attitude when things seem to be going our way. It’s when school work becomes boring or difficult, or when parents seem to ask too many questions, or when the car breaks down, that’s when we feel it is hard to hold on to that good attitude.

But this is exactly what the apostle Paul tells us to do; he says, and therefore the Word of God says, keep a right attitude at all times. “Let this mind (or attitude) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God. . .made himself of no reputation, but took upon himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man.” Phil. 2:5-7. Paul here tells us that we should have the same kind of attitude Christ would have if He were in our place. What this tells us then is that there is no place in our lives for any sort of bad attitude, be it self-pity, resentment, pride, or a hundred other things.

Despite all of our shortcomings with our attitudes, there is one thing about them which we can be both thankful and grateful to God for; they can be changed. Our attitudes are not something that we can never hope to improve on; but first the change has to come from the heart. If that change is not there, then we are living a lie and not a Christian confession. We can say that we love our neighbor but our attitude may not prove that out.

You may have to live with the fact that you will never win any beauty contest, but your attitude doesn’t have to be bad because of it. When people take advantage of you, you don’t have to respond with a feeling of self-pity, resentment, or rage. We can and should return blessing for cursing, kindness for injury, love for hate. It is all a matter of living our confession. If you belong to Jesus Christ and testify that He is your Lord and Saviour, then you will respond as one who has Christ in his heart. You will find that you cannot tolerate any sort of bad attitude in yourself, it’s your own worst enemy. It will just spread unhappiness all the way around.

We can be thankful that Christ didn’t only come to take away our sin; He also came to break its power over our lives, to transform us into His own children. Therefore, we know that without a doubt we will have the victory over sin in this life. For Christ’s work is complete; and by grace we will be able, if only in a small way, to respond to that work of Salvation in our own lives.