Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THE FOUR "A"s, PART ONE

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God ~ this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is ~ his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly that you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."
~Romans 12: 1-3

I confess that I lack discipline when it comes to memorizing Scripture. Honestly, I don't take the time. But I did put to memory Romans Chapter 12. It is rich with practical wisdom, and it addresses the four "A"s I often struggle with: attitude, ability, action, and anger management. Today I am tackling the first...my attitude.

While it is easy to place the blame on other people or frustrating circumstances, deep down I know better. If I am having one of those hair-pulling, nails-on-the-chalkboard type of day, my attitude probably needs an adjustment. I know from experience that everything can be going in my favor, and I can still be tempted to throw myself a huge pity party. On the other hand, I can wake up feeling rotten, face a day of sour moods in my household, and still manage to focus on all I have to be thankful for.

It all boils down to attitude with a capital "A". So how can I improve mine? For surely I want each day to be rich with joy, peace, and contentment. And NONE of these is based in circumstances or other people. No, it all comes back to my attitude, and if I have adjusted it positively.

I look to the first three verses in Romans 12 for some strong directives in adjusting my attitude. First, I read that I am to offer my time and activities up to God as an offering, returning the love to him that he has so lavishly poured out upon me. Is there anything better than basking in unconditional love as I go about my day? How can I not give back what is given to me in such radical portions? Already my perspective is shifting. And with that comes a stronger sense of what I am called to do. How many days do I spend spinning my wheels? Focused on him, I have a clearer understanding of how my time and energy should be spent.

Second, I see that I shouldn't be so concerned with worldliness. It's tempting to want to fit in and be a part of the crowd. But that's not what I am being called to do. When I follow the crowd, I fall into that people-pleasing mode, eager for acceptance. In reality, I am already accepted ~ into the kingdom of the One who created all of us. I am his child, and there is no worldly acceptance that can hold a candle to this status. With that in mind, I don't have to be hurt or dragged down by people's rejection or misunderstanding of me. Instead, I am walking closely with the One who loves me unconditionally and who promises to never turn his back on me. How can this truth not brighten my day and my overall outlook?

Lastly, I read that I am not to put too much importance on myself. I need to lighten up! Let God be God. Stop trying to move mountains on my own. Rest in him ~ his power, his grace, and his love are more than sufficient in everything I encounter. How freeing this is! I can relax, knowing he is in control and is faithfully tending to every care, every need, and every person.

It's a new day. And with my attitude in check, I think it's going to be a good one!

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude."
~Scott Hamilton

"There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes."
~William J. Bennett

"The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude."
~Dennis S. Brown

"Anywhere is paradise; it's up to you."
~Author Unknown     

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