Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude

Just recently my husband text me a quote “You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response.” Tony Dungy

Ouch! I mean….we have probably all heard similar quotes but what another great reminder for us!

First of all…how true that we are always trying to control our circumstances. As humans, that’s what we do…right? We like to be in control. We like to control our circumstances…at least we try.

In trying to control our circumstances, we may actually have the right motives…whether it be out of care and concern….whether it be to avoid pain or hurt…whether it be for financial provision…or whether it be to protect our families. Regardless of our motives…for many of us… control is part of our nature.

But the reality and truth is…that we are not ultimately in control no matter how hard we try!

God is! The God who created the heavens and the earth…The God who created you…The God who created life and is life…is in control.

And so we first need to accept that we cannot always control our circumstances. Then we need to understand that…

We can always control our attitude…approach…and response. Much easier said than done…right?!

Why is controlling our attitude…approach…and response so important? Because…

Our attitude determines our altitude! Zig Ziglar Motivational Speaker and Author.

Our attitude determines how far we will go! Our attitude determines how high we will soar!

The word “attitude” is defined as “a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behavior.”

Our attitude…our feelings and thoughts…determine our behavior.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior]. Proverbs 23:7 AMP

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Our attitude determines how we will approach…not only our circumstances…but also our life. And consequently…our approach will determine our response. It’s a domino effect.

So it begins with controlling our attitude.

How is your attitude when things don’t go your way in life? How do you approach and respond to circumstances not only in the grand scheme of life but also in your day to day?

Do you complain…worry…become fearful…show frustration or anger…even question God?

We may not always be able to control our circumstance…but we can always control our attitude. How?

Controlling our attitude begins with understanding our purpose.

When we surrender to our circumstances…we have good and bad days. We are at the mercy of what happens to us.

When we surrender to a purpose or cause…we have good days wherever we go…the purpose never dies.

A great example for us in the Bible is the apostle Paul. Take a look at Paul’s attitude while experiencing…one of many…challenging circumstances in his life…being in prison!

12And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.

15It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. 16They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. 17Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. 18But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice. Philippians 1:12-18

Paul could have easily responded to his circumstance with an attitude of anger…frustration…and complaining while awaiting his trial. I mean how would you feel if you were in prison unjustly?

Instead he chose to have a positive attitude…Instead he chose to use even this opportunity in prison to advance the gospel.

Paul was a leader with a purpose. He never drifted from his purpose and was determined to leave his mark wherever he went…even in prison!

Paul’s sense of purpose helped him have a positive attitude and to keep battling while in prison.

What is your purpose in life?

Knowing our purpose will…

  1. Motivate us
  2. Keep our priorities straight
  3. Develop our potential
  4. Give us power to live in the present
  5. Help us evaluate our progress

Once Paul determined his life purpose…that purpose daily improved his attitude. In prisons… shipwrecks…beatings…through trials and debates…Paul kept rejoicing because of his strong sense of purpose.

Leaders can either surrender to their circumstances, or they can surrender to a cause [purpose] that is so great their circumstances won’t matter. John Maxwell

Attitude and purpose go hand in hand. Paul’s attitude determined his altitude. Paul’s attitude helped his purpose move forward…then his purpose helped his attitude move forward!

He couldn’t control his circumstance….but he was able to control his attitude. Knowing his purpose helped him to rejoice and have a positive attitude.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

We may not always control our circumstances but we can always control our attitude.

When we surrender control to God…we allow Him the opportunity to work in us and help us in our attitude…especially when things don’t go our way in life.

When we allow God to shape us and mold us…change us from the inside out…we will have a better attitude when we face the “beyond our control” circumstances. And as a result…our better attitude will not only affect our life and our purpose in life but will also positively affect the lives of those around us!

Reflection Points:

  1. Do you always try to control the circumstances in your life?
  2. How is your attitude when things don’t go your way in life? How do you approach and respond to circumstances not only in the grand scheme of life but also in your day to day?
  3. Do you complain…worry…show frustration or anger…even question God?
  4. Why is your attitude so important?
  5. How can you control your attitude?
  6. Do you know what your purpose is in life?

 

Action Points:

  1. As difficult as it is…we need to understand and accept that we ultimately cannot control our circumstances…no matter how hard we try. God…the creator of this universe and everything in it…is in control!
  2. When things don’t go our way in life…we do have control over our attitudes…whether we think so or not. It may not be easy but we have a choice to have a negative or positive attitude and how we will approach and respond to circumstances in life and day to day.
  3. Our attitude is so important because our attitude determines our altitude! Our attitude determines how high we will soar! Our attitude determines how we will approach…not only our circumstances…but also our life. And consequently…our approach will determine our response.
  4. Understanding our purpose will help us control our attitude. When we surrender to our circumstances, we have good and bad days. We are at the mercy of what happens to us. When we surrender to a purpose or cause, we have good days wherever we go…the purpose never dies.
  5. If you are struggling to find your purpose in life, I highly recommend Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. It will help you discover why God created you and what God wants to accomplish in you and through you on this earth.

 

 

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Seek His Face…Not Just His Hand

Have you ever received a text message from someone and couldn’t figure out the emotions or feelings behind the text?

You were left wondering if they were angry or upset…happy or sad…tired or frustrated…sarcastic or indifferent. Maybe there were no punctuation marks or emoji’s attached expressing the emotion or tone.

We live in a world where technology has taken over… which certainly has great benefits…but can also have some drawbacks. Like…for example…with the emergence of text messaging, actual verbal phone conversations or face to face conversations have greatly declined.

And I admit…I too have had my share of choosing to text someone over having an actual face to face conversation.

And unfortunately, this increase in text messaging has given many of us a mask to hide behind and a means of avoidance. We can more commonly avoid face to face confrontation with others and more often throw previously known proper etiquette out the window…from putting in our 2 week notice with our bosses to even breaking up in our relationships through a text message. Yeah it happens! And some of you know exactly what I am talking about!

Furthermore, many discussions in marriages are taking place via text leaving both individuals assuming…even guessing…the emotions…the tone…surrounding the discussion…which certainly doesn’t help in reconciliation.

Misinterpretation of feelings…thoughts…or attitudes can be prevented through having actual verbal conversations and even more so through having more face to face conversations. Why?

Because a person’s face reveals so much! Besides the actual verbal tones that can be expressed there are also many non-verbal cues that a face reveals.

When we look at a person’s face…we are looking at a lot more than just a physical face. A person’s face reveals a lot about a person. You can tell if they are happy…sad…angry…tired…worried…hurt…excited…in love…and the list can go on!

The face of a person is like an open window that allows us to see inside of that person….their thoughts…their pain…their joy…their heart.

In the Bible, God also stresses the importance of seeking His face. He wants us as Christians to seek His face!

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. 1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 105:4 NASB

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:8 NASB

We can learn a lot by looking at a person’s face…and even more specifically their eyes.

Have you ever looked at someone’s eyes and knew exactly what they were feeling? Jesus even said…

The eye is the lamp of the body. Matthew 6:22 NIV

Interestingly…the Greek word for “face” is prosopon which is translated as “towards the eye.”

I love what Roman Philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero once said…

The face is the picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter.

As Christians, we know it is important to seek God…but what exactly does it mean to “seek God’s face?” And to “seek His face” continually?!

Well…just like a physical face of a person can reveal a person’s thoughts and emotions…seeking God’s face reveals God to us. His face reveals His love…His compassion…His grace…His affection…His favor…His pain…His wrath…His mind…His heart.

Seeking God’s face is not seeking a physical face or imagining God with a face. It’s not even merely seeking God’s presence.

Seeking God’s face is seeking and desiring to know the heart and mind of God.

Many times we only seek God’s hand (what God can give us)…not His face.

We go to God to seek His hands…

Hands that help…hands that give…hands that bless…hands that provide…hands that protect…hands that guide…hands that heal…etc.

Now please don’t misunderstand me…there is nothing wrong with seeking God’s hand. And God actually tells us in His Word to go to Him with our requests and that we do not have because we do not ask. (Philippians 4:6, James 4:2)

Unfortunately, however, we often spend more time seeking God’s hand and spend less time seeking His face!

A face that reveals who God is… not just what He can give us.

God doesn’t just provide…He is your Provider! It’s who He is!

He doesn’t just heal…He is your Healer!

He doesn’t just give you peace…He is Peace!

He doesn’t just give you joy…He is Joy!

He doesn’t just give you hope…He is Hope!

He doesn’t just give you love…He is Love!

He didn’t just create you…He is your Creator!

He doesn’t just give life…He is Life!

He doesn’t just save you…He is your Savior!

He doesn’t just guide you…He is your Great Shepherd!

He doesn’t just comfort you…He is your Comforter!

He doesn’t just protect you…He is your Refuge, your Shield, your Fortress, your Strong Tower!

It’s who He is.

He is the Great I am…your All Consuming Fire…the King of Kings…the Lord of Lords… the Everlasting God…God Almighty…God Most High…Your Abba Father!

By seeking God’s face and understanding who He is…we can see and know the heart and mind of God!

God wants us to seek His face.

How much time do you spend seeking God’s face (who He is)? Do you spend more time seeking His hand (what He can give you)?

We must be intentional in seeking God’s face because its way more natural…and easier…to seek His hand…isn’t it?

The more we seek His face…the more we will know His heart and mind.

The more we seek His face…the more we will see His love…His compassion…His grace…His favor…His affection…His pain.

The more we seek His face…the more we will know what He desires us to do and how we can be obedient to Him.

The more we seek His face…the more we will know His will and set our own fleshly desires aside.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Seeking God’s face will create greater intimacy in our relationship with Him and will ultimately transform us into His image! God desires each and every one of us to seek His face…And when we do….He will reveal so much more to us…more than we can ever think or imagine!

Reflection Points:

  1. What does it mean exactly to “seek God’s face?”
  2. How much time do you spend seeking God’s face (who He is)? Do you spend more time seeking His hand (what He can give you)?
  3. What can you do to seek God’s face more in your relationship with Him?
  4. What is holding you back from seeking His face more?

Action Points:

  1. Seeking God’s face is seeking and desiring to know the heart and mind of God. Seeking God’s face reveals God to us. His face reveals His love…His compassion…His grace…His affection…His favor…His pain…His wrath…His mind…His heart.
  2. God wants us to seek His face continually. (1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 105:4 NASB). If we are spending more time seeking His hand rather than His face…we are not truly grasping who God is! Seeking God’s face will create greater intimacy in our relationship with Him and will ultimately transform us into His image! God desires each and every one of us to seek His face…And when we do….He will reveal so much more to us…more than we can ever think or imagine!
  3. Practically…we must set time aside each day to seek God’s face more. When you read a daily devotional or a passage in the Bible during your time with God…be more intentional about knowing who God is…His character traits…His likes and dislikes…His feelings…His thoughts.
  4. It is much easier to seek God’s hand than to seek His face. Seeking His face takes more time…energy…effort…and discipline. If you aren’t disciplined in spending more time seeking God’s face…then pray and ask Him to help you. He will help you because it’s His will that you seek His face!