Shaping Our Attitude

Every day we get to shape our attitude. We get to shape our attitude for how we show up for others around us. We get to shape our attitude for how we treat others and respond to them.

What will govern our attitude? According to the world’s standards, it is “dog-eat dog.” According to survival of the fittest it is, the “biggest dog wins.” The problem is, there is always a bigger dog no matter how big we may be. Surely there is a better way. Surely, there is a more objective way to govern our attitude. Paul said, “Let this mind be in you.” That is, have the mind of Christ. When thinking about our attitude, think about His mind.

For example, consider His meekness. When Peter cut off the high priest servant’s ear, maybe he thought the armies of heaven would descend and the truth of the Messiah would be substantiated by the power of God displayed. It did not happen that way. No, the Lord said, “Put it up.”  If He had wanted, He could have called 12 legions of angels; that is 72,000 angels.

Meekness is not weakness. Never was there a greater demonstration of the meekness of Christ than when He could have destroyed them all but didn’t do it. He let them bind His arms, carry Him away, and go through trial. The trial was a mockery of justice with lying witnesses paid to tell their tale. The hypocritical religious leaders whose pride, arrogance, and jealousy were leading them to destroy this One whose "sin" was getting in the way of their personal ambition. He was meek. We grow to be like Him.

Next, consider His forgiving love. We grow to be forgiving as He forgives. No more powerful revelation of the mind and heart of God is clearer than the cross. This is when the heart of God is so open for us to see, understand, and know. In spite of all their cruelty toward Jesus, He says, “Father forgive them……” They are torturing Him and taunting Him while they do it. They have no compassion and no mercy. Not even this pathetic scene touched their hearts. They rail at him in bitterness and cynicism, and He pleads for God to have mercy on them.

We do not understand a God like this. We understand we are to be merciful even to those who hate us and spend their lives in no other activity than to make our lives wretched and miserable. We love them still, and we are going to do them good.

Paul will say this, “Have this mind in you.” It seems incredible when I think about it. I fail in all these points more than once. It encourages me to think that Jesus commanded us to forgive a man who asks for forgiveness after sinning against us seven times a day. That is what the Lord intends for me to do. I look at the life of Christ and His patient love, and maybe He will not throw me away.

We look at Him, study carefully what He said and did, and those truths transform our hearts. Is it possible to have the mind of Christ? Can we make this our purpose? God said that it is possible. When talking about the kingdom of God, He said, “Ask, seek, knock, and it shall be given to you”. It is a kingdom, disposition of mind, that is for the asking. If only we can develop His attitude of heart and mind. By virtue of our determination to follow Him at every cost, we at last will have His mind forming in us. His heart. His character. We will look like Him.

Rickie Jenkins