TEXT: Proverbs 23:7; Philippians 4:8
Next to knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, nothing is more important than having a good positive attitude. Your attitude can:
- MAKE OR BREAK YOU
- HEAL OR HURT YOU
- MAKE YOU FRIENDS OR MAKE YOU ENEMIES
- MAKE YOU HAPPY OR MAKE YOU MISERABLE
- MAKE YOU A SUCCESS OR MAKE YOU A FAILURE
Some people think that the whole world stinks.
Once a cranky grandpa laid down to take a nap. To have a little fun, his grandson put some limburger cheese on his mustache, right under his nose. Grandpa awoke with a snort, staggered out of the bedroom and shouted, “This room stinks!” On through the house he went, shouting louder, “This whole house stinks!” He charged out on the porch and shouted as loud as he could, “The whole world stinks!” The truth is, it was grandpa who stunk. The problem was right under his own nose.
95 times out of 100, when we begin to feel that things in life stink; THE PROBLEM IS NOT WITH THE WORLD OR WITH OTHERS, BUT OURSELVES. The problem is that our attitude has become negative. Change your negative attitudes to positive ones, and you can change your world.
John Maxwell is right when he said, “ATTITUDE not APTITUDE determines your ALTITUDE.”
So today we are going to talk about our attitudes. And this topic applies to everyone here, because we all have attitudes; sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not so good, and other times they’re just plain nasty.
We are going to learn 3 facts about our attitude.
1. YOUR ATTITUDE – REVEALS WHO YOU ARE (THE REAL YOU)
How important is your attitude? Your attitude is more important than: facts – circumstances – what others say – it’s more important than your past – your education and your money. Your attitude is more important than anything else.
And understand that your attitude is much deeper than just a few thoughts you might think or not think. YOUR ATTITUDE COMES OUT OF THE CORE OF YOUR BEING. Your attitude represents your disposition, your outlook, your very character.
The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7; “For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is…” (NKJV)
Illustration: > JAR OF WATER — PUT A LID ON IT LOOSELY — SHAKE THE JAR VIGOROUSLY UNTIL WATER FALLS OUT.
> ASK PEOPLE WHY THE WATER SPILLED?
- LID LOOSE
- JAR SHOOK
NO, THE REASON THE WATER CAME OUT WAS BECAUSE THE JAR WAS FILLED WITH WATER. WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE IS WHAT COMES OUT. Jesus said, in MATTHEW 15:17-20 (Read it…)
YOUR ATTITUDE ALWAYS BECOMES ACTIONS OR REACTIONS. (How you react or act in a situation would show your attitude – the real you.)
Let’s visualize it this way… The attitudes inside you are like a jack-in-the box. Have you ever played with one of them? You turn the little handle (all around the mulberry..) and the when you least expect it – he pops out. Now that’s a vivid picture of our attitude, when we least expect it, they will pop out and cause other people to like or dis-like us. You see, much louder than the words you speak, your attitude keeps telling people what you are really like.
Personally I find this truth that my attitude reveals the real me – to be quite sobering. I like to say, like many others do, when I do or say something that obviously wasn’t the right thing, “I didn’t mean it, where did that come from,” – it came from inside. When I have a negative, nasty, critical attitude that’s the real me and when you have one that’s the real you.
Understand we don’t have an attitude just because we had a bad day (all that a bad day can ever do is shake our jar). The reason you and I have a bad attitude is because we have it inside of us/inside of our jar. Remember, YOUR ATTITUDE REVEALS THE REAL YOU.
2. YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES THE SUCCESS AND FAILURE OF EVERY RELATIONSHIP IN YOUR LIFE.
What a difference our attitude makes! Our attitude affects every relationship in our life. (Be it love, family, friends, office, church, etc.). And sometimes relationships will never get started in the first place — because many times your attitude has built up walls… making it difficult for people to be around you. And sometimes things should have been good if not because of our not so good/bad attitude…Yeah, I know there are faults, there are mistakes in a relationship, even if it’s the most ideal or what we say perfect relationship, it will certainly go through testing, misunderstanding and fights…and if our attitude is not right, we will have gaps instead of reconciliation, we will have heartaches instead of love and understanding. (When I was lifting weights at the gym, a lady smiled at me, shook my hands and said, “Pastor, taga-WOH-Main po ako…dito po pala kayo nagwo-workout…di ko po kayo nakakamayan sa church eh…” Then out of nowhere, she said, “Pastor, I’ll pray to God that He will give me an ideal guy like you…” I smiled at her and said, “Having the ideal guy/gal is the not bottom line in any relationship, you got to believe me…your attitude will help you through it. Kahit gaano ka-ideal yung guy or girl, kung di naman maganda ugali mo sa mga pagdadaanan ninyo, walang magandang mangyayari…both of you must have a very positive attitude in your relationship. Kaya tantanan mo yang kaka-ideal mo.”) Bad attitudes affect your marriage relationships/your relationship with your kids/at work/at church/friends.
And the thing that makes a bad attitude so destructive is that like the jar of water with the loose lid on it, a bad attitude is eventually going to spill out into some negative actions – destructive words and deeds. (Masakit ka magsalita, you have no regards to what the person is feeling hearing you say those words…having said that you love him/her, you exchange “I love you” every day, saying, “I miss you…” “Miss you friend,” etc., etc., then all of a sudden just with a situation you’ll say hurtful words to that same person whom you say that you’re loving, what an irony). (Worst, mananakit ka…). What’s the problem? ATTITUDE!
In Numbers 12:1-11, we read about 2 brothers and a sister. One brother Moses, had a good attitude. The Bible says that “Moses was a humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth..” In other words, Moses was teachable and cooperative. He treated people as he wanted to be treated and he lived a life that was properly lined up with his heavenly father.
But Moses’ brother Aaron and His sister Miriam on the other hand, chose a bad attitude – and they eventually spilled out. Miriam seems to have had the worst attitude and she infected her brother, Aaron. In verse one of Numbers 12 we read, “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife…”
Get the picture? Here they are, family members whom Moses thought he could count on and trust, going around behind his back, criticizing him, stirring up trouble among God’s people against their leader, their own brother Moses.
YOU CAN NEVER TRUST PEOPLE WITH A BAD ATTITUDE BECAUSE THEY WILL DO THINGS THAT YOU NEVER THOUGHT THEY’D DO.
You see, most people who stir up trouble do so not out of right reasons but out of bad attitudes. The fact that Moses had married a Cushite wife was not the real problem – it just shook Miriam’s jar. This was just a symptom, an excuse. The real problem was that Miriam had a longstanding bad attitude. This bad attitude stemmed from her jealousy of her brother’s position and leadership. And out of her own poor self-esteem she allowed herself to become critical and choose to cause trouble.
Often times the things that we criticize and get all stirred up about are not the problem at all. The problem is our own sour, bad attitude.
I’ve seen and you have seen; bad attitudes; destroy; marriages/families/work environments/board meeting/ladies meeting/church services…etc. You see whenever you have an individual or a group of people filled with a bad attitude and wearing a loose lid, trouble is bound to happen, things will rapidly get negative.
3. YOUR ATTITUDE IS ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE
Two men are in prison. One looks out through the bars and sees only mud. The other looks out through the same bars and sees the moon & stars. They are both in the same place.
What’s the difference? IT’S THE ATTITUDE OF CHOICE.
Without a doubt, the human mind is the most awesome creation of God. With it, God has given us the ability to think, to reason and to choose whether we will focus on positive thoughts or negative thoughts. In every one of our lives there is the positive and the negative. The choice as to which one we will focus on, feed on, and nurture is up to us.
Understand you can’t choose what will happen to you today (it’s beyond your control) – BUT YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR OWN ATTITUDE. We have the power to decide how we will respond to what happens to us.
Dr. Victor Frankl stood under the glaring lights of the Gestapo court in a Nazi concentration camp, soldiers had taken away from Victor every earthly possession – his clothes, his watch, even his wedding ring. And as Dr. Frankl stood there naked, his body shaved before those cruel men, men who tried to take every ounce of dignity from him. At that moment Frankel said that he realized he was destitute except for one thing…He still had something that no one could take away from him, not even the Nazi’s. He still had the power to choose his own attitude. And he chose to not give that attitude to his enemies. He chose joy, he chose hope, he chose to be positive and to forgive.
“I have everything I need for Joy!” Robert said.
His hands are twisted, and his feet are useless. He can’t bath himself. He can’t feed himself. He can’t brush his teeth, comb his hair, or put on his underwear. His shirts are held together by strips of Velcro. He drags like a worn-out audio cassette. Robert has cerebral palsy.
The disease keeps him from driving a car, riding a bike, and going for a walk. But it didn’t keep him from graduating from high school or attending Abilene Christian University, where he graduated with a degree in Latin. It didn’t keep him from teaching at St. Louis Jr. College, or even venturing overseas on five mission trips.
And Robert’s disease didn’t prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal. He moved to Lisbon, alone, in 1972. He rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him after rush hour and a tutor who would instruct him in the language.
Then he stationed himself in park, where he distributed brochures about Christ. Within 6 years he led 70 people to the Lord, one whom became his wife, Rosa.
When he speaks, men carry him in his wheelchair onto the platform. He lays his Bible in his lap. With his stiff fingers he forces open the pages. While people in the audience wipe away their tears.
Robert could have asked form sympathy or pity, but he does just the opposite. He holds his bent hand in the air and boasts – “I have everything I need for joy!”
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!
Maybe right now you are feeling pretty broken, your life has taken way too many turns for the worse. A lot of things have gone wrong. It seems like everything has fallen right down on top of you. You’re weary, overwhelmed and your hopes & dreams are fading fast over the distant horizon.
I know from personal experience that it is not easy when the stuff of life hits you on the head, knocks you down and then kicks you in the stomach. But in such times you must remember that there is something that your situation can never take away from you – your power to choose your own attitude. (People are telling, “Parang wala kang problema Pastor.” Nobody knows the things that are happening to me…but no matter how challenging life may be to me, I choose to be positive. Those who know me personally, they know that I will always speak something positive in any given situation.) No matter what has happened to you (some of you have had tough times; bad marriages/relationships, health…etc), the attitude choice though is still yours. And understand that Jesus Christ wants to help you choose and cultivate a positive attitude. I find it both interesting and tragic that the one thing that no person or circumstance can ever take away from us, the awesome power to choose our own attitude; is usually the first thing we give away.
For you to blame our bad attitudes on another person or on a difficult circumstance is simply a cop-out. And If we allow events and people to cause us to be negative we are only hurting ourselves more because in addition to everything else we are now forced to live with the effects and misery our bad attitudes will bring.
- YOUR ATTITUDE REVEAL THE REAL YOU
- DETERMINES THE SUCCESS OF EVERY RELATIONSHIP
- IS ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE
NOW Before we go today I want to give you four steps that you can take HOME WITH YOU THIS WEEK, STEPS that will help you be more positive.
- START SPEAKING POSITIVE WORDS.
The first step in becoming a more positive person is to work at learning to speak positive words. Notice, I said learn. And the reason because that speaking positively is something you have to learn by practice. It does not come naturally. It is always easier to talk negatively, to criticize. I mean most of us can do that w/o even thinking, the negative words, comments and phrases just flow effortlessly from our lips.
(Personal Testimony…looking at the mirror, telling myself, no matter what other people about you, what matter is how God looks at you…oh you’re so cute…Song of Solomon 1:5a…oh no I’m not saying that…You are fearfully and wonderfully made, kahila-hilakbot kang nilikha…) And you can tell yourself, “I am a child of God…” “I am more than conqueror…” “I am beloved…” “I am precious in the eyes of my God…” (And as you do that, watch how it affect your relationship with other people, with your officemates, friends, etc… Greet them “Good morning” in a happy tone of voice, speak kindly of them, etc.) Wag yung nakita mo mapula lipstick, nag-ayos talaga, etc., “Parang natutulog lang ha…” DON’T SAY BAD WORDS!
The reality is that you help create the atmosphere in which you live by the words you speak. When your words are positive, you produce a creative, loving, accepting, positive environment. On the other hand when you speak negative words you create suspicion, mistrust and a “can’t do anything right” atmosphere.
Therefore the task of the Christian life is to eliminate negative words, to do away with words that hurt and tear down, replacing them with positive words, words that build up, edify and encourage yourself and other people.
Did you ever hear about the 2 guys who were in jail. Tom tried to be real positive no matter the situation. One day he sees his buddy Joe walking down the hall; Tom said to Joe; “Where are you going?” “To the electric chair,” Joe replied. “More power to you man,” Tom answered. Well at least Tom was trying to speak positive words. You might say his heart was in the right place.
Beginning today, I dare you to try a little experiment with me. To everyone you meet, whether it’s at a gas station, at a store, at home, at work or at church — try to say something positive and uplifting. Do it this for one day this week and see what happens. You’ll probably have a great day. Why? Because positive words create a loving, creative environment in which to live.
- NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, LOOK FOR GOOD AND YOU WILL FIND IT.
A positive person (and that’s the kind of person I want to be) is not one who refuses to recognize the negative (he knows there are plenty of negatives out there), but he refuses to dwell on them. Remember there is always the negative and the positive in every person or situation. And what a positive person does is develop the habit of looking for the best results even from the worst conditions… It’s always possible to look for something good, even when things look bad. And the remarkable fact is that when you look after and seek out good, you will find it. PEOPLE TEND TO FIND WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE? (In your work, in your relationship (ikaka-ayos nyo, ikaka-tibay, o ikaka-sira nyo, etc.), in your business problem, in your ministry, etc.) THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING GOOD IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION!
We can look at the land and always see giants if that is what we are looking for or we can look at the same land and see a land flowing with milk and honey. IT’S A MATTER OF FOCUS…It’s a matter of choosing g what you will look for.
- In work
- In business
- In any small beginnings that you’re having right now.
Let’s apply this principle to relationship/marriage. In your relationship if you always looking for the faults, what’s wrong, centering just on the negative you are going to be dissatisfied with your relationship. In addition you’ll not bring out the best but rather the worst in that person whom you said you love. Consequently your whole relationship/marriage is going to fall into a nit-picking; negative, destructive cycle. How do you break this kind of cycle in your relationship – START LOOKING FOR WHAT IS GOOD AND FOCUS ON THAT! (the things that makes both of you happy, the things you do crazily together, etc…)
If you want things to work out in life – if you want a good attitude – you need to focus on the positive – look for the good in every situation and every person and you will find it
- TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR THOUGHT LIFE
Let me share with YOU the 3 F’s of taking charge of your thought life:
#1 FIX – “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about it.” (Phil 4:6,7 LB) We are not to let our mind wander all over the place, but rather we are to take command of it and choose positive thoughts over negative ones.
#2 FILTER – Would you eat out of a garbage can that not only had garbage in it, but had maggots, poisons etc. To do so would be suicide. In like manner if you want to really take control of your thought life you need to filter the garbage out there.
#3 FEED – Question: what are you feeding your mind? It matters what we feed our physical body, doesn’t it? Many diseases we have today, from cancer, heart disease to no energy result from an improper diet. It is a fact that eating the wrong things can hurt you. But it is not enough to just stop eating the bad is it. Because if we do not start eating the good we will starve. In the same way it’s not enough to only filter out the garbage from our minds, we also have to feed on the good.
Garbage in garbage out…Good in – good out! There are many source of good books, music..etc…But the greatest source of good thoughts is God’s word. Put God in get God out. Put God’s word into your mind and it will come out in your speech…Feed your minds on verses such as Ephesians 3:20/Is 41:10/Phil 4:19/Heb 13:6
Learn to pray out your emotions. Learn to cry them out and pray them out until you pray through to victory.
Did you know that Jesus prayed aloud and with emotion? In Hebrews 5:7, we read; “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him form death and he was heard because of His reverent submission…” In other words Jesus shows us here by His own example how to pray out negative emotions to our heavenly father. Hebrews 4:15, teaches us that our high Priest, “is touched by the feelings of our weaknesses…”
Question: when you feel the mighty onslaught of a negative emotion, how do you handle it? Here’s what you need to do: Admit it. Face it. But don’t give in to it. You see, one way to destroy a negative emotion is to replace it:
- anger with love
- fear with faith
- complaining with gratitude
- bitterness with forgiveness
- judgment with acceptance
- feeling sorry for yourself with helping someone else
Don’t tell me you can’t change, if you are a Child of God, you have the Holy Spirit to continually change your attitude…