Passage for Study: Acts 14: 1 - 20 … Linked for your study …
My Journal for Today: Wow! I could probably write a book (well, maybe small one) on the title of Chuck Swindoll’s devotional entry for today: Good Attitude. But I’ll try to keep things as brief as I can.
Attitude is almost everything in the life of a Christian disciple; and our models from the text, repeated again today, certainly shine forth with flying Christian colors, exhibiting what Paul wrote about later in his life in Phil. 2: 5, … that Christians much choose and pursue the attitudes which are attributed to Christ.
Note I said “CHOOSE” our attitude; because we often confuse our feelings, which are flesh-driven reactions to circumstances, with our attitudes, which are heart-led responses to those same circumstances. Paul and Barnabas faced many trials and testing circumstances as they moved about, spreading the Gospel. In 2nd Cor. 11: 22-33, linked here, Paul outlines some of the trying circumstances he encountered in his missionary ventures; and yet, as we see in Scripture, when he encountered the so-called “thorn in the flesh,” [in 2nd Cor. 12], another of those challenges, Paul retained an attitude of surrender and dedicated followership to His Lord.
And that’s what we must do as well as we face the various trial which characterize our lives. I don’t often do this in my devotional journal entries, but today I feel compelled to quote exactly what Chuck Swindoll wrote for his entry today, because it is great teaching; and great teaching deserves repeating. Here’s what he wrote for today …
• ”We make a choice every waking moment of our lives. When we awaken in the morning, we choose the attitude that will ultimately guide our thoughts and actions through the day. I’m convinced our best attitudes emerge out of a clear understanding of our own identity, … a clear sense of our divine mission, … and a deep sense of God’s purpose for our lives. That sort of God-honoring attitude encourages us to press on, … to focus on the goal, … [and] to respond in remarkable ways to life’s most extreme circumstances.”
As another example, besides our text today, of this type of attitude, Swindoll quotes Victor Frankl, the famous Jewish Physician who survived incarceration in a concentration camp during WW2. Later, after the war, while describing the rare individual who reached out beyond the flesh and helped others, even giving up food, Frankl wrote, “The last of his freedoms (i.e., those who sacrificed) is to choose his own attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way.”
Yes, we CHOOSE our attitude; and it is only when our attitudes mirror the humble and meek attitude of Christ (see Matt. 11: 29) that we’re going to be able to rise above selfish desires and to incur pain when we are called upon to do what Christ commanded in Luke 9: 23, … to deny self, to take up our cross of circumstances, and to follow our Lord wherever He leads.
It is my prayer today that we can become more like Christ and choose to honor Him with our attitudes and actions … that we can live out the teaching of Christ Himself when He directed us to shine our lights (from our attitudes and actions) and to glorify our Father in Heaven [of course from Matt. 5: 16].
My Prayer for Today: Lord, … oh how I desire to have Your attitude, leading to my choices and reflecting Your light into this world. Amen