In his book The Winning Attitude, the author and speaker John Maxwell wrote that “attitude is the advance man of our true selves.” He says our attitudes go before us. They show who we really are. They draw people to usÉor repel them.
That is absolutely the truth. Our attitudes often reveal more about us than our words. That’s why I believe a person’s attitude is the prophet of their future. When you have a bad attitude, it can keep you from having the future that God wants you to have.
Here are some truths about our attitudes:
We choose our attitudes. Our tendency is to think that people cause us to have a bad attitude, or that events in our lives force us to take a negative view of the world. That’s a deception. Thinking “if my circumstances were different, I would have a better attitude” is wrong.
Consider Adam and Eve. God created them and placed them in the Garden of Eden. It was a perfect paradise. They didn’t have to work. They had everything they needed. God walked in the Garden with them. Their circumstances were as ideal as anyone’s circumstances have ever been. But what happened?
They became ungrateful. They became rebellious. They disobeyed. Adam and Eve chose to have a bad attitude. It wasn’t forced upon them by their circumstances or their surroundings. It was their choice. We choose a good or bad attitude.
Happiness not a state of being, but a decision. Being happy isn’t something that happens to us, but a choice that we make. Some of the people I’ve known with the best outlooks on life came from terrible backgrounds. They chose happiness in the middle of their harsh circumstances.
The inspirational speaker and author Denis Waitley once said, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” I love this quote. If you believe that, you’re headed for a good life.
Happiness doesn’t depend on your circumstances but on how we choose to live. Will we choose love, grace, and gratitude?
God rewards good attitudes and disciplines bad attitudes. Parents know not to wait to discipline a child’s bad behavior, but to discipline the bad attitude that precedes the behavior. It’s more productive to correct a child who rolls his eyes at your instructions than to wait for that attitude to grow into full rebellion.
James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Pride is an attitude. We can choose to be prideful, or we can choose to be humble. God resists the proud. He loves us too much not to push against us when we are headed the wrong way.
Finally, your attitude predicts the direction of your life. A good attitude precedes and predicts success, favor and promotion. A bad attitude precedes and predicts failure, disfavor, and demotion.
In an airplane, an instrument called the attitude indicator helps you know the aircraft’s position relative to the horizon. If it’s foggy outside and you can’t tell whether you’re flying level, your attitude indicator becomes essential. Without it, you might accidentally turn the nose down, which will make you crash.
David wrote in Psalms about how turning his eyes to God when his circumstances were terrible. God should be our attitude indicator. We should keep our eyes on Him during difficulties, then point our attitudes in the direction of happiness and joy. More than anything else, that will predict our path.
What kind of attitude will you choose today?