Not My Problem

In high school, I had a friend who was described by the school principal as having an “attitude problem.” As rebellious teenagers who had not properly learned the value of respect for authority and the importance of being teachable, my friend and I thought this was hilarious. I even bought him a t-shirt that said, “I Love My Attitude” on the front.

My friend proudly wore the shirt to school just as proudly as he wore his attitude problem. At the time, I saw him as the one with a rebellious attitude and me as just being a supportive friend. Little did I know that my own attitude problem was also growing.

Okay, It Is My Problem

I was once asked to do something because someone else backed out of a commitment. Although I knew right away I would say yes, I purposefully held off making the commitment because my attitude about doing so was terrible. It was filled with assumptions about the intentions of others as well as judgments of what they should or should not have done.

I felt like I needed to get my attitude right before I said yes. Should I have said yes right away because I knew I would eventually anyway and then hope a right attitude followed? What if it didn’t follow?

Doing the right thing with a wrong attitude has bruised my witness way too many times. For this reason, I needed to get at the root cause of my attitude problem before making the commitment. I suddenly realized that this was a reoccurring problem that had been growing in my spirit since high school. Time to receive victory over my attitude.

Spiritual Surgery

God’s Word divides soul and spirit; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). I needed spiritual surgery because I was justifying my attitude instead of taking ownership of it. I was allowing others to determine my response to life. As will always happen if we let it, God’s word gave me a much-needed attitude adjustment.

The Bottom Line

As I studied scripture regarding attitude, I more fully realized a truth I had recited to my two boys many times: “Attitude is a choice.” Here’s my scripture path:

  1. Genesis 4:6-7 – Choose to respond instead of reacting.
  2. Numbers 14:1-4 – Avoid letting a bad attitude lead to a bad decision.
  3. Proverbs 29:25 – Base your attitude on God, not on other people.
  4. Habakkuk 3:17-19 – Refuse to let circumstances dictate your attitude.
  5. Matthew 5:5 – Decide to have a humble attitude.
  6. Philippians 1:20-25 – Live with eager expectation.
  7. Philippians 2:5 – Adopt Christ’s attitude.
  8. Philippians 4:4 – Choose joy!
  9. Philippians 4:6-7 – Turn everything into a prayer.

Attitude is a choice, not a feeling. Do you think Jesus felt like being arrested & crucified? He chose a humble attitude based on His purpose from God the Father. In following Jesus’ example, I need to do what’s right for God’s will in my life and for what lines up with who I am in Him.

The Root Cause

After re-learning what the Bible says about attitude, I then applied a Biblical principle I knew to be true but that I had up to this point failed to apply to in choosing and directing my attitude.

My attitude in every situation began to change only when I deliberately focused on doing what God wanted me to do in that given situation. When I focused on others and on my selfish desires, my attitude basically tanked. My opinions, not always based on fact and usually based too much on assumptions, and feelings about others should not create my attitude.

When I focus on what God wants, I can step into the light and choose an attitude that pleases Him and that allows me to make the most of every opportunity He gives me in this life. (Ephesians 5:8-17).