Excelling in Attitude

Roger L. Waggener

Vaughn Hill church of Christ

What is Attitude?

The Definition

a mental position with regard to a fact or state- a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state
a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways
A state of readiness to respond in a characteristic way to a stimulus (as an object, concept, or situation)
A relatively stable and enduring predisposition to behave or react in a characteristic way.
The orientation of a spacecraft relative to its direction of motion.

Your attitude is how you react to the world around you. It is composed of ideas, rules, and affinities that exist in your mind. What you think something is affects how your treat it. How well you like someone, or what you predict they will do influences how you interact with them. How you interact with others affects how they interact with you which affects how you respond- in a continuous feedback loop. The fact that your attitude sets the tone for initial interactions, coupled with the feedback effect of all interactions indicates that a proper attitude is crucial to living a christian life.

Each of the definitions above can be applied to your life as a christian in a specific way. You must formulate a mental position about the world around you that is in accord with God's will. You must believe your position is true and allow it to influence how you act. You must be ready to let your attitude not only influence your actions, but spur you to new actions and you must be consistent in your behavior.

Just like an astronaut must constantly maintain control of his spacecraft, you must constantly control your attitude.

Some Examples of Attitude

Bad Examples

There are many more bad examples of attitudes in the Bible, but these point out three of the primary factors of bad attitudes.

Cain was rebellious in that he wished to sacrifice according to his own will instead of God's. Job was prideful in that he thought he was righteous enough to be justified before God by his own behavior. Jonah was jealous when God offered the Ninevites an opportunity to be forgiven.

All three of these men formulated their attitudes based on their own desires. They wanted things to be how they thought things should be. When how these men wanted things to be were not how God wanted things to be, their bad attitudes brought them into danger of God's wrath.

Some Examples of Attitude

Good Examples

These examples show men who had good attitudes— attitudes based on God's will, not their own.

Abraham, at God's command, packed up everything he had and moved to a new country. Caleb knew that nothing could prevent the Israelites from conquering God's enemies. When Nehemiah heard that the remnant from the Babylonian captivity were oppressed and afflicted and that the wall of Jerusalem had fallen, he not only wept at the fate of his countrymen, but admitted the guilt of the nation before God and prayed not only for forgiveness, but also that king Artaxerxes would let him go rebuild the wall.

The attitudes of these men were created in the assurance of God's truth. They knew that whatever God asked of them could only lead to their own long term benefit and that though God is perfectly just, He is pleased by humility and repentance.

The Greatest Example

Jesus Christ

Jesus, of course, had a perfect attitude in every situation.

He loved people enough to depart from the immediate presence of God, his father, to dwell among them on earth and once among the wretched and sinful population of the earth, He truly cared about them not just to the point of offering them the truth of His teaching, but to the point of tirelessly healing the sick and feeding great crowds when he would have rather been resting alone. Yet even all this was not enough. Jesus obeyed the will of God against his own desire when He offered the ultimate sacrifice of his perfect life on the cross.

We are human and are incapable of escaping the power of sin by any other means than Christ's blood. The least we can do is study the pattern he set for us and emulate his attitudes to the best of our abilities. We must all strive to treat others the way Christ would have. The only way we can do this is by working to make our attitudes match His.

Creating a Godly Attitude


Too many christians today have a pre-defeated attitude. They have forgotten that "the good guys win in the end". They face the world with a downtrodden, underdog, guilt-ridden attitude that handicaps not only their christianity, but their whole lives. They are dismayed at the wickedness in the world because they have let it into their minds and allowed it to block their view of the good.

We must to remind ourselves that we are children of God and co-heirs with Christ. God is our father and just as an earthly father loves and cares for his children, so does our heavenly father love and care for us.

As children of God we need to realize that guilt is not an issue. Christ died that our sins could be forgiven and as we continue to pattern our attitudes after his and live our lives according to God's will, this forgiveness continually absolves us of guilt. Not only are christians justified in God's sight, but nothing can separate us from God. If you relentlessly create and attitude of attachment to God, you will attain a pre-victorious spirit.

Christians who approach God fearfully and doubtfully not only show a bad attitude, but display a lack of faith that leads to a pre-defeated spirit. God loves us as his children. Just as His son Jesus said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:16), so does God call us to Himself.

Creating a Godly Attitude


Attitudes affect our behavior because they are ingrained into the way our personalities work. In order to create Godly attitudes we must ingrain Godly ideas, feelings, and inclinations into our hearts. We must endeavor to make our minds like His.

How can we make our minds like God's if we don't know how God thinks? No one can fully know the mind of God "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9), but we can know God through His Word "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1). We can come to know God through the study of His Word. In fact, to be acceptable to him and to do the work he has for us we must.

Not everyone can stand up in front of a crowd and preach even a short lesson at a moment's notice. Not everyone can do it with plenty of time to prepare, but we can all encourage. We can all let our actions speak louder than our words. While we don't all need to go through every day with a sermon outline in our pockets, every christian needs to be looking for any opportunity to demonstrate their gratitude to God by showing his love to others.

Christians must love each other— period. If we can't love each other how can we love God? "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8)

Creating a Godly Attitude


It has been said that without the dark there is no light. Christians need to develop and attitude of faith in God that will assure them that as long as they look to Him for guidance and support— their eventual reward is assured.

If Jesus, God's perfect and only begotten son was not blessed with a life free of pain, trouble, and trials why should we, poor weak humans expect to be rewarded with ease and pleasure? Indeed, it is only through surviving the tribulations that life forces on us that we can truly appreciate the loving providence God has for us.

We must remember, though, that it is God that gives us the strength to pass through the tumultuous events of life that test us and that when we are empowered by God nothing can prevail against us. But it takes work and practice to live the life that God desires of us. Just as athletes must exercise and train their bodies, we must exercise and train our spirits each day.

Excelling in Attitude


In order to please God we must excel in Godly attitudes.

Excelling in attitude consists of:

  • Identifying and removing bad attitudes traits such as those shown by Cain, Job, and Jonah
  • Identifying and nurturing good attitude traits such as those shown by Abram, Caleb, and Nehemiah
  • Patterning our lives after the perfect example— Jesus
  • Creating Godly attitudes within ourselves

Excelling in attitude is an ongoing process. We may speak of someone having an excellent attitude, but exceling is never finished.

Do your best to excel in attitude every day.