There are two things in this world you have absolute and total control over…your attitude and your actions! Attitude, perspective, and the way you respond to life’s circumstances are your choice. Choose wisely.
I Don’t Always Feel Like It Either
James challenges us to consider our troubles an opportunity for great joy (James 1:2). To be honest, I don’t always feel that way. In fact, I have to make a conscious decision to feel that way…and so do you. It is not natural to see our trials and tests of faith as opportunities for joy. It is easy – and often more familiar and quicker to find company – to moan and complain about our situations, wallowing in our misery. How is it even doable to find or choose joy?
Without continued reading in the text, it isn’t. It is only when we see the context of what James is saying that it becomes possible to see how it’s done. James acknowledges the suffering of the early church but reminds them that joy is a choice and they have the power (through Christ) to make that choice. The remedy is to pause, refocus your faith, and choose joy. Why? Because whatever we’re facing is temporary at best and our promised hope will soon be delivered.
Renew Your Mind
God is concerned about the way you think. That’s why Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). In Philippians 4:8 he instructs us to think about that which is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Sanctified thinking – the thinking of Christians – is intentional and determined by disciplining our will to conform to Christ’s image. Realize that your attitude is your choice, whatever the circumstances. Your situation does not have the power to dictate your attitude unless you let it…again, another choice.
Although enduring problems with a smile and pure joy can be difficult, doing so makes you a stronger believer and opens the door for the renewing of your mind. Out attitudes are an outward display of what is happening in our hearts. When our heart focuses on the right thing (read Jesus), our attitudes follow. The only thing you have to lose by choosing a positive attitude, is a negative one.
Take control. Focus intentionally. Focus on Christ.