April 24, 2008

Is Attitude Everything???

Posted in Christian life, Gospel at 1:05 pm by Dan Lowe

                Do you remember the old bluegrass song “Keep on the Sunny Side of Life?”  The lyrics go something like this…

“There’s a dark and a troubled side of life
There’s a bright and a sunny side, too
Though we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view.

Keep on the sunny side always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day it will brighten all the way
If we keep on the sunny side of life.

The storm and its fury broke today
Brushing hopes that we’ve cherished so dear
Cloud and storm will in time pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.”



                Stop here for a moment.  There is nothing inherently wrong with what is said here.  Often we are encouraged through the trials of life if we “keep on the sunny side of life.”  However, there is nothing particularly Christian about this either.  If it were not for the final verse of this song, then the theme of this song would be nothing more than “the power of positive thinking”:

“Let us breathe with a song of hope each day
Though the moments be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Savior away
He keepeth everyone in his care

                Finally, we have a Christian sentiment here.  “Let us trust in our Savior… He keepeth everyone in His care.”  Why is it that the Christian can “keep on the sunny side of life”?  It is only because of our Savior who keeps us in His care.

                Sadly, I think a lot of Christians have forgotten this. There seems to be a common trend among many evangelicals which says that Christians never mourn or feel depressed… they just “keep on the sunny side of life.”  For many people, this even equated with living the Christian life.

                I thought about this after receiving the following email, entitled “Attitude is Everything”, which I will include for you in its entirety…


                        Attitude is Everything


John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him “I don’t get it!”

“You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

He replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or…you can choose to be in a bad mood, I choose to be in a good mood.”

“Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or…I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.  Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or…I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” he said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins…Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.”

The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,” he replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or…I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.

He continued, “…the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said John.  She asked if I was allergic to anything ‘Yes, I replied.’ The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity!’  Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude…I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

There are some good points to be had in this email… but I’m afraid that the title “Attitude Is Everything” serves to obscure the gospel.  This certainly is not the point of the passage cited at the end of the email.

What is the point which Jesus is making in Matthew 6:34?  It is not that our attitude is everything… it is that our God is everything.  The verse that immediately precedes this is “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33 (NKJV.))

What does Jesus tell us to do?  Not have a good attitude… but to seek the kingdom of God (the reign of Christ over every sphere of our life) and His righteousness (the expression of Christ’s reign in our lives.)  When we strive for this… then “all these things shall be added unto you.”  What things will be added unto you?  Go back two more verses (Matt 6:31-32(NKJV)) and Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

The point Jesus is making is that Christians are not to be overly concerned about our personal needs.  This is the way the world lives life.  Christians know the Father… and they realize that the Father knows their every need.  Furthermore (jumping out of context),  Christians know that our Heavenly Father cares for us, because He has demonstrated His unsurpassed and infinite love through giving His only begotten Son Jesus to die upon the cross for our sin (Rom 5:8-10.)  Therefore, the Christian can live life without concern for their own personal needs, because they know that the Almighty and All-loving God knows their every need and cares for them.  Because Christians are not weighed down by an inordinate desire to seek the things of this world, they are freed up to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, so that, ultimately, God might be glorified through the lives that we live on earth.

So… attitude is not everything… God is everything.  What matters most is not that we put a positive spin on life (read the gospels and see how often Jesus groaned and wept over the ravages of sin upon this world – for a few specific examples, see Jn 11:35, 12:27, 13:21, Matt 26:38, not to mention the Psalms of lament…)… but what really matters is that we put a “God-spin” on life.  We must see everything in terms of God… not ourselves and our personal wants and needs.

God is everything!!!

Soli Deo Gloria! (“For God’s glory alone!”)



1 Comment »

  1. proverbs31mommy said,

    You know I really like that email but it really irritates me when people pull half passages and use them to support their current message when it doesn’t really have anything to do with what they are talking about. Okay so not a very positive statement but just wanted to let you know I appreciate how you not only show the misguiding referrence but explain what the referred passage actually means.

    Keep up the blogging

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