Monday, May 27, 2019
So far in our study of Spiritual DNA we have primarily focused on the personal characteristics that identify a born-again person and the resulting activities that will define their life. In the next section of Colossians 3, Paul moves from discussing aptitudes to defining attitudes. It is time for an attitude adjustment.
Colossians 3:15-17 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
All the teaching Paul is going to do in the rest of Colossians 3 and 4 hinges on these verses. He will teach us that without a Christ-like attitude we will not be able to model the spiritual humility and submissiveness that is necessary for a fulfilling marriage. Instead we will pridefully seek our own way at the expense of our spouse. We will learn that without an attitude of gratitude, we will not be able to maintain a servant heart toward those in authority over us. Instead, we will grumble and complain against them and seek to rebel. Paul will show us that without an attitude of praise, we will not be able to manage our households well. Instead, the everyday pressures of life and children will bring bitterness to our spirit.
The attitudes of our heart determine the aptitudes of our lives. Chuck Swindoll has said it this way:
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 circumstances, 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 our 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.
Attitudes are our choice. That’s why the Holy Spirit led Paul to begin this paragraph with the word “let.” We are to be in constant control of our attitudes. Why is it that we have turned over the control of our attitudes to our emotions? Why are so many people so crabby all the time? Why is there so much discouragement? Why are people so disheartened and disillusioned? It’s primarily because they have empowered their emotions to be the ruler of their attitudes. Emotions were never designed by God to be the motivator of activity. I believe this is the main reason so many people who decide to be a follower of Jesus Christ fall away and never grow in their faith: they were motivated to decide by emotion.
The choice of attitude is to be the product of our spiritual DNA. The life of Christ in us determines which attitudes we will “let” be in control of our lives each day. Those attitudes include:
- Peace, so that we seek to minimize differences and maximize unity.
- Thankfulness, so that we give God the praise for being sovereign. An ungrateful heart reveals an untrusting spirit and a self-centered outlook.
- Humility, so that we serve one another by encouraging each other with the Word of God which dwells richly in us. Even when correction is necessary, we do it in love seeking the best for the other person.
- Grace. The Greek word for gratitude is the word grace. Grace is that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness. Whatever we do in word or deed is to be done so that it gives God joy and pleasure and delight because we did it for His glory.
I know I have some work to do on my attitudes. Let’s help each other by modeling peace, thankfulness, humility, and grace, and by being willing to be reminded when we’re not.