OK, it’s been a busy week and I’m ready to resume my conversation from Part 1 and 2. If you are reading this for the first time, catch up quickly by reading the first two parts of the blog entitled “Attitude Adjustment.”
The next thing that will help us nurture a grateful heart is affirming our purpose with the word of God and patterning our lives after those who have lived through the vicissitudes of life, but still stand atop the winner’s circle. I’m now taking a brief look at Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul, a great leader of the church in the first century, traveled on three missionary journeys spreading the message of Jesus Christ. On one such trip to Philippi he and a companion named Silas were locked up for preaching the message of Jesus the Messiah. (Acts 16:16-36) How did Paul and Silas -- two preachers -- respond when locked up in jail for preaching the message of Christ? The book (Bible) says at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. These men of God didn’t focus on the unsavory or distasteful. They didn’t concentrate on the lack of bail money, physical abuse, or injustice. Our focus shouldn’t be on what we lack, but what we already have and if we can be grateful and thankful at all times, our attitude can invoke something in God to rescue us. If we can continue to praise our source, which is God, and thank Him for resources, which are people, we can enjoy the benefits of seeing our chains and shackles fall to the ground and we can be a greater witness to others, like Paul and Silas. These men could rejoice because despite being persecuted, they understood their purpose and recognized that it’s worth suffering for what you’ve been born to do.
Though our assignments may be tough, difficult, and stressful, we must find a way to enjoy what we are doing by conditioning our thinking to embrace the good even when bad exists. Paul and his evangelistic partner were locked up for doing something good. They were in both a humiliating and debilitating situation but yet these men found a way to rejoice when others would have complained. If we search deep enough we’ll discover that God is yet good even at midnight in our lives. If you’ve got food to eat, thank God. If you’ve got clothes to wear, thank God. If you have reasonable health, thank God. If you’ve got even a small income, thank God. If you’ve got some kind of place to live, praise God. If you’ve ever endured any suffering and lived to talk about it, thank God. If you are dealing with the most difficult pain and hurt in your life but you are still standing, thank God. I guarantee if you keep thinking you will find reasons to be thankful, joy will begin to fill your heart. Don’t allow the bitterness of opposition poison the fruit of a purpose-driven life. I’ve got more in Part 4.