I had this problem yesterday. My daughter’s birthday was that evening, with all the grandparents coming over. I was busy in town until after noon and had a lot of cleaning and prep to take care of in just a few hours. Knowing this, I had asked my husband the day before if he would help me since he wasn’t working. When I arrived at the babysitters to pick the kids up, he was there but obviously had no intention of coming home with me thinking that sweeping that morning was enough. I wish I could say that I calmly asked him to help me with other chores, or just went home without getting upset…but I didn’t.
I went home upset and was pretty grumpy for the next two days…The point here is not to justify either of us, but to show that my attitude, regardless of the situation, made everything worse. If I had stayed calm, maybe I would have explained what else I needed help with, and then maybe he would have been more willing to help me and that would have ended the conflict.
Our attitudes are kind of like sails on a ship. They can be used to steer a ship a certain direction, but they don’t have to. Instead, you can take down the sails and use the rudder (the Word of God) to take you where you should go rather than being tossed and driven without guidance.
Ephesians 4:22-24 New International Version (NIV)
Before we were saved, we were a slave to our bodies and sin. We were self focused and self serving, and the injuries we experienced we defended. But we are not supposed to be that way now. We are supposed to love others more than ourselves. We are supposed to give up our rights and BE like Christ.
Romans 15:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
We are to do everything for God’s glory, forsaking ourselves for the sake of Him. When we serve ourselves, and defend our rights, we are glorifying ourselves and dishonoring God. We are making ourselves the lord we are defending. The love and service of Christ is sacrifice and humility.
Philippians 2:5-8 NIV
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Christ had every right to vindicate Himself, to defend His rights, to demand that others serve Him. But He did the opposite. He willingly gave up everything in order to serve us out of love. And we are to imitate Him.
Sometimes you may think that no one would know one way or the other. What is inside you doesn’t show. But that is not true.
Hebrews 4:12-13 New International Version (NIV)
Nothing we do is secret to God. He is the One who will judge us in the end. And He is the One we are supposed to be serving. He knows.
It does also become obvious to others in time. Matthew 15 says that what is in our hearts is what determines our actions, and it is what defiles us. Our attitudes can alter the course of our lives. They can make you react sharply when you should be kind or even silent. But if we stay focused on God, if we stay positive and humble, our attitudes will mirror that, and so will our actions.
Part of guiding our attitudes is keeping our thoughts positive, not allowing them to follow that negative rabbit trail down a dark hole. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to make every thought captive and subject to Christ. We are to make our thoughts honor God. Notice it says “make”, it takes effort and self control. We need to make ourselves think of good things, like Philippians 4:8 (which I talk about more here).
Another part of guiding our attitudes is by reading the Bible and praying regularly. If we do that then we will be more aligned with God’s Word. And when we do stray it will be more obvious to us, before it is obvious to others, and we can correct our wrong thoughts and attitudes before it gets out of hand. We also need to ask God’s help to mold us into His image because we can’t do it alone.
Our emotions are meant to be signs, signaling that something may be wrong, not road maps. We shouldn’t ignore them completely but we also shouldn’t follow them or obey their impulses. Everything we do should be in subject to God’s direction, for He is not a God of chaos.
So examine your heart. Do some spring cleaning in your mind. Get rid of any ungodly thoughts and attitudes. Start making them subject to God’s direction. And get into the Word. Ask for God’s help. Stay positive! Remember the love and grace God has for you and let that be your joy that keeps you from getting upset or dragged down. Let God be in control of your life rather than your emotions.