The word “upgrade” has gone to a whole new level in the world of marketing over the past couple of years. When you go on a cruise to the Caribbean, you’re encouraged to “upgrade your diamonds.” At pretty much any time after you’ve purchased a cell phone, you have the opportunity to “upgrade your device.” Fashion magazines also constantly encourage you to “upgrade your look” in one way or another. Everywhere we look, we have the opportunity to go to the next level, to upgrade in some way. The question that I find myself asking is, “Am I spending my efforts going to the next level in the areas that truly matter?”
At some point in life, we all feel in need of a new direction or even a new beginning alltogether. Whether because we’ve become overwhelmed by overload, saturated with stress or defeated by disaster, we sometimes simply feel like a whole new start or even a remodel of some area of our lives will give us the renewal we need to feel like we can finally make progress instead of constantly spinning our wheels.
Yet most of the upgrades we are offered serve only to give us that “fresh start” feeling temporarily. In time, the new becomes old, and we find ourselves once again in need of another upgrade. (Doesn’t help that commercials and advertisements are constantly encouraging us to upgrade something.)
There is one area where an upgrade is guaranteed to positively impact all of life. An attitude upgrade can bring a fresh start to those who feel stale and defeated. An attitude upgrade, if developed and maintained in a deliberate an intentional way, can bring renewal to anyone’s outlook. Following these 5 ways to develop and maintain a godly attitude could most likely be the upgrade that changes your life permanently.
- Let yourself be renewed. (Ephesians 4:22) Being teachable, flexible and willing to change are all aspects of letting yourself be renewed. Allowing yourself to be renewed involves being open to others speaking into your life and to new ideas and approaches for your personal growth.
- Acknowledge and repent of bad attitudes. (Acts 8:22; Genesis 4:6-7; Numbers 14:1-4) This involves letting go of pride and admitting to areas of struggle. This means admitting where your attitude is not what it should be and opening yourself up to renewal.
- Discipline your thought life. (2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8; Philippians 1:20-25) Our thought lives are shaped by what we read, watch, listen to and the people with whom we spend time. Choosing positive input and allowing it to push out the negative will help to renew our attitudes. And remember that a key in any discipline is the idea of constant, deliberate and intentional effort.
- Understand the relationship between attitude and emotions. (Habakkuk 3:17-19) Nothing derails a positive attitude more easily and more often than emotions. Frustration and chronic illness can both create emotions within us that make having a godly attitude extremely difficult. Yet, the Bible tells us we are to choose to rejoice. That choice may need to take place every minute at times, but we must choose to allow our emotions to only be gauges and to not drive the car.
- Consider how your attitude affects others. This area of attitude adjustment can provide tremendous motivation toward wanting to upgrade our attitudes. When we realize that our kids, co-workers, family, friends, spouse, other Christians as well as non-Christians are watching, we realize that we are setting an example and sending a message. But what kind of message are we sending? The answer to that question indicates the aroma of our hearts.
When you’re tired, hungry or sick, what happens to your attitude? When your day (or week or month or year) has been particularly stressful with little (if any) relief, is it okay to let your attitude slip? Philippians 2:5 says that “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” In other words, we all need an attitude upgrade. We all must choose to get to the root cause, which generally originates in the heart where our intentions lie. The intentions of our hearts are reflected in our attitudes. We must intentionally take steps, such as the ones listed above, to improve the aroma of our hearts (our attitudes). Doing so will serve to upgrade our attitudes, which in turn will upgrade our lives in increasingly significant and probably unpredictable and uncountable ways.
For a scripture study on attitude, check out Everyday Attitude.
DISCUSSION: What is the aroma of your heart? What changes can you make to create a better scent?