“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Call me crazy, but I firmly believe one of the most important decisions we make on a daily basis is our choice of attitude. As of late is seems that not a day goes by where I don’t find myself talking to one of my two older boys (ages 7 and 5) about the importance of attitude.
It is more important than our past, education, successes or failures, what other people think about us, our circumstances, or our position. As I try to explain to my boys, more than anything else, our attitude will determine our future, fulfillment, and fullness of life. Our attitude is significant because it underlies our perspective and ultimately our actions.
So what should our attitude be? When considering the big picture, Paul sums it up well in Philippians 2:5 when he says that as believers our attitude should always be the same as Christ’s. The Contemporary English Version of Philippians 2:5 puts it this way, “And think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.”
Given that our attitudes drive our actions, our aim as believers should therefore be to imitate Christ in thought and deed – we should seek to become more like Him in all that we do.
So what exactly does having the same attitude of Christ look like? While this is by no means an all-inclusive list, nor is it in order of importance, the Bible consistently describes Christ as being confident in God’s power and ability in His life, prayerful, joyful, thankful, gentle, patient, loving, humble, selfless, obedient, gracious and generous. Tough list to follow, I know! What we need to remember; however, is that while it is not always easy, our attitude is always ours to choose.
Just last night I was reminded about how having the same attitude as Christ is a daily choice. After rushing through dinner, hurrying my boys along to get dressed for swim lessons, and saying a quick goodbye to my husband before he left for the airport for work, my boys and I drove 25 minutes to their first night of swim lessons… only to find out that class had been canceled due to an “accident” in the pool that needed to be cleaned. Gross, I know!
The apologetic swim instructor explained that the pool would re-open in about 45 minutes after the cleaning cycle was complete; however, that did little to help my frustration. In the moment my initial attitude was anything but Christ-like; however, (after having just started this draft!) I couldn’t help but wonder what Christ’s attitude would have been if He had been in my situation. While part of me had to believe He would have told a profound story about sheep, fed the swimsuit clad audience, and possibly healed someone in the water near the twisty slide, knowing those were not in my immediate wheelhouse, I decided at the very least I could choose to embrace His more general attitudes. Thoughts of gentleness, patience, and grace immediately came to mind.
So, rather than head home, I re-dressed my boys, checked them into the kids area and headed up to the elliptical…in my swimsuit because I didn’t have exercise clothes with me…all the while hoping my swim skirt looked more like a sporty work-out bottom! I figured we might as well do our best to make the most of the night – we would wait out the cleaning cycle, and then enjoy family open swim. What could have turned into a failed evening became a fun family night, all because of the choice of attitude.
While my night at the Y was not exactly a major life event, it illustrates that whatever we are facing, whether it be an insignificant situation as I faced, or a far more serious life issue, having the same attitude as Christ is a choice and one that will directly impact our future, fulfillment, and fullness of life.
When considering what it means to have the same attitude as Christ, are there areas in which you need to change your attitude? I know I do! How would developing a Christ-like attitude in one or more area change your perspective and allow God to do more in and through you? What specific attitude do you need to ask God to help you change today?
Imagine how much better our lives would be on a daily basis if we would seek to have the same attitude as Christ always!