A Constructive or Uncompromising Attitude

  • Peter Friesen, Author
  • Retired Minister

Philippians 4:8… 8) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. 9 (NIV)

Two people walking in the woods. One with a negative attitude and the other with a positive attitude. As they walk under some trees, a little bird decides it is time for some high flying dive bombing and splat, the one with a negative attitude receives a rather moist one in the eye, and so he shouts at the bird, ” Birdie, birdie in the sky, why did you do that in my eye?” The one with the positive attitude says to the bird, ” Birdie, birdie in the sky, I am just glad that cows do not fly.” This is a bit funny but, in a sense many things and many times in life we can deal with life’s problems in the same fashion as these two hikers. One says it is terrible the other says it could be worse, much worse.

Our minds do strange things at times. If I start thinking about something often enough, I will come to the stage when I cannot stop thinking about it. My thoughts will get stuck in a groove, out of which, I just cannot seem to get unstuck. That is why it is so very important that you and I think about such things that are right, things that will honour God and other people. Clear thinking will cause people to like being around you and a positive attitude will make them feel good.

In Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul has listed a few of things that we should set our minds on, such as, things that are true. Many things in this world are misleading and not real; promising what they can never deliver, offering a false peace and happiness. We should try always to set our thoughts on things which will not let us down because our thoughts shape our lives. What we believe determines how we behave. How I look at the world and think about the world, determines how I respond to circumstances and other people. Our thoughts also determine what we will become. In the book of Proverbs (23:7) there is a verse that says, ” As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” In other words, what we focus on determines how we live.

In verse eight, the apostle Paul is really talking about the power of positive Christian thinking. It is not enough simply to reject non-constructive thinking and focus on the positive. I must go a step further and retrain my mind to focus on those things that God wants me to understand. He is asking me to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. He is asking us to reject thinking that is impure, unrighteous and ungodly. And he is asking us to embrace a new kind of thinking; that which is righteous and holy. You and I must put into practice what we believe. When Jesus called his disciples, he called them to follow him. And the call to be a Christian is still a call to follow Christ today. If you and I live right, it will encourage others to live and think right.

What say you? Should we be different? Would you agree it is better to have a positive Christian attitude; thinking and doing this Christian stuff, which the apostle Paul says we should do in verse eight? Or should we live like those who do not pay attention to Christian values?

Did you know that our families and friends are watching us? You and I must live above this world’s standard and we must never forget that God has left us in the world to be a testimony to his grace. We are here to show the world what it is like to be a Christian.

Therefore, our challenge is to live our lives in such a way that people, when they see us, desire what we have. The choice is really ours. If we begin to think and do the things that God wants us to do, we will become optimistic and hopeful, filled with faith. We will become a blessing to others, and we will find that life is filled with God’s goodness… To God Be the Glory Great Things He Has Done!

Would you pray this prayer with me? ” Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive my sins. I want my life to change. My thoughts and my attitude need to change. I do not have the peace in my heart that I yearn for. I want that peace, joy and happiness that fulfills my heart’s desire. Please let the Holy Spirit help me be the kind of Christian that will honour Your Name. Amen”