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Check Your Attitude

By Dale A. Robbins

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word "attitude" means "an internal position or feeling with regard to something else." Other words often used as synonyms are: "disposition, feeling, mood, opinion, sentiment, temper, tone, perspective, frame of mind, outlook, view, or morale."

Airplane pilots often use "attitude" to describe their horizontal relationship with the runway then they land. If their attitude isn’t aligned properly, the plane will make contact with the ground at the wrong angle and it will cause them to crash.

In essence, your attitude is your inward disposition toward other things, such as people or circumstances. As in with an airplane, attitude is applied whenever you must deal with something other than yourself. According to God’s word, when you become a Christian, a part of your new creation is the development of new attitudes — your attitude should become like that of Jesus. The Bible says, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:" (Philippians 2:5). "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds." (Ephesians 4:22 NIV)

Bad Attitudes

Most of us can easily identify bad attitudes when they are displayed outwardly in our words or actions, such a negativeness, criticalness, rebellion, defiance, impatience, uncooperative, apathy, discouragement, independence, presumption, arrogance, self-centeredness, rudeness and such like. These are examples of bad attitudes which Christians should reject. However, keep in mind, attitudes are inner dispositions of the heart and thoughts — they are the hidden intentions which will eventually serve as the basis for our actions. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." (Prov. 23:7). In reality, no one else really knows the thoughts of your heart, except you and God. Consequently, attitude is something that only you and God can work out — a change which must take place inwardly.

An example of a bad attitude is seen in George Brown. He went to church cheerfully as long as his business continued to prosper — as long as everything went well for him. He sang joyfully in the choir, he rarely missed a service. But when hard times set in George began to drop away. He became resentful toward God, even critical of other Christians.

The right attitude to have when difficulty comes is to persevere in faith and draw nearer to God — to fall at the feet of Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that God works all things together for our good when we love Him, and the testing of our faith is for our benefit. Trouble will never defeat the person with a right attitude.

Another bad attitude can be seen in Sally Smith. She had been a Christian for nearly two years. She loved the lord and was growing as a Christian, but was still battling sins of the flesh — and occasionally fell back into the temptation of drunkenness. One evening the pastor and his family were entering a restaurant, when he noticed Sally slouching at the distant bar, obviously intoxicated. The next Sunday after service, the pastor and his wife took Sally aside privately, and warned her gently about the sins of drunkenness.

The pastor read scripture from Galations chapter 5. "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

The pastor encouraged Sally to repent of this activity and prayed with her, but she was deeply offended by the pastor’s forthrightness. She immediately changed churches and afterward would often be heard "bad-mouthing" that church and pastor.

The better attitude would have been for this woman to be humble and submissive toward the pastor’s loving correction of sin, which was based upon God’s Word (2 Tim. 4:2, 1 Cor. 5:11-13, Gal. 5:19-21, Gal. 6:1). As a general rule, persons who have a bad attitude toward authority figures, always have a problem with God.

Good Attitudes

According to scripture, your attitude toward life, your circumstances, or toward other people should always be like the Lord’s — as is defined by scripture. Good attitudes are generally demonstrated in being positive, encouraging, loving, humble, teachable, cooperative, considerate, selfless, loyal, persevering and so forth (Gal. 5:22-23).

To God — Our attitude should be reverence, submission, love, trust, humbleness, obedience, worshipful, and prayerful. (Psa. 111:10, Mark 12:30, John 14:15, Jas. 4:7, 1 Sam. 15:23)

To God’s Children — Our attitude should be love, forgiveness, consideration, caring, encouragement, kindness, humility, unselfishness, respectful, and impartial. (John 13:34-35, 15:12, Rom. 12:10, 13:10, 15:7, Jas. 2:9, Eph. 4:2, 4:32, Col. 3:16, 1 Thes. 5:11, Heb. 3:13, 1 Cor. 13:4-8).

To Authority — Our attitude should be respectful, cooperative, accountable, humble, helpful, encouraging, loyal. Not resentful, defiant or disrespectful. (Heb. 13:17, 1 Pet. 2:13-15)

To Hard Circumstances — Our attitude should be patience, thankfulness, persevering, believing. (Rom. 8:28, Gal. 1:9)

To Our Church — Our attitude should be respectful, faithful, cooperative, helpful, willingness, dependable, participating, encouraging. (1 Cor. 10:32, 1 Cor. 14:12, Heb. 2:12)

To Duty — Our attitude should be faithfulness, responsibleness, obedience, cooperation, endurance. (Luke 16:10, 1 Cor. 4:2)

To Unfairness — Our attitude should be patience, humility, confident in God’s justice. (Rom. 12:19, Luke 18:7)

To Disappointment or Tragedy — Our attitude should be humility, submission to God, prayerful, confidence in God’s fairness. (Psa. 62:5, Jer. 17:5, Deut. 32:4, Job 13:15, Rom. 8:28)

To the Lost — Our attitude should be compassionate, forgiving, encouraging, helpful, reconciling them to God. (2 Cor. 5:18, 2 Pet. 3:9, Matt. 18:11-14)

To Sin — Our attitude should be uncompromising, unaccepting, intolerant, unsympathetic, yet compassionate and reconciliatory for the repentant. (Matt. 18:8-9, Gal. 6:1)

To Success — Our attitude should be humble, grateful, God-glorifying, not self-exalting or forgetful to God. (Jas. 4:6, 10, Prov. 16:18)

To Misunderstanding — Our attitude should be peacemaking, reconciliatory, patient, forgiving. (Col. 3:13, Matt. 5:9, Phil. 2:14)

How To Develop GoodAttitudes

1. Identify and Repent of Bad Attitudes

Acts 8:22 "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you."

2. Submit Your Attitudes to God

Bring your attitudes into obedience to God’s Word. Apply discipline to your thought life — submit your thoughts to those of Christ’s. A good attitude is a matter of faith, disregarding your feelings, with a determination to embrace God’s outlook and disposition.

2 Corinthians 10:5 "casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..."

3. Equip And Feed Your Attitudes

Dwell on the things that God’s word tells us to — those good and virtuous things. If you dwell on the negative, your attitude will reflect the same.

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things."


This article (VL-149) is copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2024 and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. In some references to real persons, pseudonyms may have been used to preserve their privacy. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple use permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us. If you have appreciated these online materials, help us reach the world with the Gospel by considering a monthly or one-time tax-deductable donation.