When our family goes on vacation, from time to time we will hit up a fast food restaurant so we can eat on the go. More often than not, I’m convinced that our family frustrates the person taking our orders due to the sheer multiplicity of options. When you contemplate all the brightly lit, high resolution, larger than life-sized images of food and beverages (especially when you’re hungry!) it can be hard to make a decision. And when it comes to the choices our children make at the drive through, you can be certain there will be changes and adjustments. It can be overwhelming.
In life, many times we act as though we don’t have a choice when it comes to our responses or our attitudes. We face an uncertain circumstance or a dire need, and we feel we have no choice but to complain and despair. People treat us wrongly and we somehow feel justified with our negative feelings or actions toward them. Even mere differences of opinions can make us feel that we have no choice but to negatively respond, or harbor negative emotions towards others.
But the reality is, those are choices we make.
Over and over again, God teaches us through the example of the Israelites, that He detests wrong attitudes. And have no doubt about it: the narrative of the Israelites in the wilderness is provided in Holy Scripture as our example (see 1 Corinthians 10:6). The nation of Israel found itself often in the place of murmuring and complaining. They didn’t like what God was doing, or how He was providing for them, or His timeline, etc. They chose the wrong attitudes.
And they were punished for it. God doesn’t reign down fire upon people, or make people choke on meat, or open up the ground and swallow people just because they did something that doesn’t matter that much. It mattered a lot to God. It still does.
I won’t say they weren’t in some rough spots. Sometimes it looked like God didn’t have their best interest in mind (as if!). Sometimes it felt as though there was no way forward. We don’t gloss over our challenges and difficulties in life. We don’t minimize our problems. We need to be realistic and acknowledge our hurt and troubling circumstances. But instead of choosing negative attitudes and improper responses, we ought to acknowledge God in all of it, and trust that it’s part of His plan, no matter how hard it is. His plan is always best.
Have you ever thought about this? The very thing that you have a bad attitude about, could be a precious gift given by God as part of His eternal plan for your life. You may not like it, but you dare to grumble to God about it?
We can always–just like Joseph seemed to do throughout his life–choose the right attitudes and the right responses. It’s a choice.
Now sometimes patterns of wrong choices lead us to making even more wrong choices. That was certainly true with the ancient Israelites. But if we are willing to acknowledge that our attitudes are a choice, and evaluate our attitudes, and repent of our sin, I believe we will experience the joy–that Promised Land Living–that God intended for His children.
Your attitude is your choice. Choose wisely.