God is looking for faithful young people who have dedicated their lives to Him. I can say that when I received salvation as a youth, it was the best decision I ever made for my life. We will always have important decisions to make in life, like where will I go to school? Or what will I do for work? We are also making decisions all day long, like what to eat or wear. But the most important decision we can ever make is the decision to turn our lives over to God. God gives us help and strength to face difficulties when we turn our lives to God. He also helps us each day with the problems and trials we face. Most importantly, God can also help us with our attitude facing these challenging times.
Did you know as we go through life, we are showing others some type of attitude? If I were walking down the road, bumped into you, and then turned and yelled, “Why did you get in my way?!” What would you think? You would probably think, “Boy, what’s the matter with him? And all I did was walk down the road. Anyway, he’s the one that bumped into me.”
The word attitude means the manner of acting that shows one’s disposition. Each of you has probably known of someone who woke up in a bad mood or had something happen to them that affected their attitude in a negative way. This is what we call having a bad attitude and people display this type of attitude by their actions. They might have a scowl on their face or respond negatively toward you or someone else for no apparent reason. Did you know that having the right attitude in difficult situations is really important?
Let’s look at Jesus’ life to help us understand how important our attitude is and what our attitude should look like in difficult situations. This story takes place before Jesus was crucified. As He entered the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was very tired and concerned about His situation, knowing He would soon be crucified for no reason of His own. Jesus went into Gethsemane with His disciples to pray. Prior to the last supper with His disciples, one of those in attendance had planned to betray Him. So as Jesus finished praying in Gethsemane, and went to rejoin the two who were with Him, Judas Iscariot, suddenly appeared before Jesus. But Judas was not alone. He had come with a multitude of men that had staves, and swords in their hands. The men were angry, and their purpose was to come and take Jesus away. Suddenly one of the disciples who were with Jesus, named Peter, drew his sword and cut the ear off one of the angry men. Now take notice of how Jesus responds to this situation. Jesus did not compliment Peter for his quick action of retaliation, but instead, Jesus chided Peter and reminded all those who were there that the warfare we are fighting is not with our hands or weapons. Let’s look at the scripture where Jesus spoke to Peter and the other men.
“52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
This scripture beautifully displays Jesus’ attitude. We find that Jesus was telling Peter, they did not need to fight with the sword. In fact, Jesus picked up the severed ear and attached it back to the man’s head, healing him completely. Think about this; a crowd of angry men was coming to take Jesus and crucify Him. You could say these men who wanted to kill Jesus had a bad attitude, but Jesus did not let their attitude affect Him. Jesus had peace because He was one with the Father. I want to share with you another scene from Jesus’ life where His attitude is an example of how we should be as well.
The crowd of angry men took Jesus away to the High Priest. There they spat on Jesus and beat Him severely but Jesus did not fight back. Next, they took Jesus before Governor Pilate. Here they accused Him falsely but notice how Jesus responded in this situation.
“12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.”
Jesus answered nothing to the accusations. What do you do when you are criticized for something you didn’t do or maybe something you did? What do you do, or how do you respond? As humans, when someone challenges or criticizes us, we typically say something right back to them in the same way. If they yell at us, we yell back. If they say something mean, we are mean right back. But God has called us to do something different than this, and Jesus set the perfect example. God helps us to respond differently when we are criticized. We do not need to be critical back. We can say nothing. Other people and their attitudes do not need to affect our attitude. Let us consider the following scripture in Romans.
Romans 12: 14
“14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
This can sometimes be very difficult to do, but this is precisely what Jesus did. When someone criticizes you instead of criticizing back or responding with unkind words, simply bless them. This means to ask God to help that person. In the human, if someone does something terrible to us, we are often tempted to do the same right back. But remember, Jesus gave us a new way. People treated Jesus badly, but He did not respond in the same manner. However, it is important to know, that the ability to be like Jesus, can only come from Salvation or asking Jesus to live in our hearts. Remember how Jesus was mocked, beaten, stabbed in the side, and then crucified? Now let us read this scripture in Luke.
“34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
As Jesus was hanging on the cross, near to death, He asked God the Father to forgive the people responsible for His situation, saying they know not what they do. This is our dear Savior showing us how our attitude should be every day. I will share with you, every day is not going to be perfect. Unexpected situations will happen, and we will have difficulties. Someone might try to argue with us, accuse us unfairly, or provoke us to fight back. But I encourage you to look at the example of our dear Savior. Jesus did not allow His circumstances to affect His attitude. As Jesus was on the cross, people spit, mocked, and yelled at Him. But Jesus did not retaliate against those who hated Him, instead, He offered Salvation to the one who was hanging next to Him.
How is your attitude? What do you do when you become frustrated? Maybe everything is going wrong. Perhaps you failed a math test, or maybe your parents asked you to do something you didn’t want to do. Life is not perfect all the time, but God has called us to lean on Him so He can help us with our attitude. What do you do when you feel anger? Do you let it overwhelm you and control your whole being, or do you let God help you control your anger? It’s natural for us to feel frustration. At times we may even feel angry. We will feel emotions. But God wants us to allow Him to help us control our emotions so that we can respond to people out of the glory of God.
Now I’d like to read to you something about attitude written by Charles Swindoll.
” The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money than circumstance, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company….a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…..we are in charge of our attitudes.”
When you are confronted with difficulties, think about how Jesus was and what would Jesus do? Let God direct your lives in everything.