Are they our responsibility?
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"
“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 failure, 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 everyday 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% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~ Charles Swindoll
Swindoll's quote is challenging and somewhat profound. This quote, along with another quote by a mom I deeply respect, has caused my wheels to turn lately. This veteran mom, who has raised 5 children into adulthood (all of whom are all walking with the Lord) said that she never allowed her children to have bad attitudes or to indulge in self pity or depression.
This bold line of thinking is asserting an argument that you may or may not agree with right off. I have had to process it myself. They are both stating that our attitudes are a choice we make. In our children, and in ourselves, attitudes can be allowed or disallowed- co-signed or vetoed.
It seems that this idea begs the question: Does God expect us to control our attitudes? Are they really our responsibility?
As Tom and I began to turn this idea over in our minds we began to realize just how many sins are really sins of the mind. Pride, self-righteousness, vanity, judging others, selfishness, covetousness, fear, worry, adultery, impatience... they all reside in our thoughts and attitudes. They may bear visible fruit, but these sins of the heart are issues we are called to acknowledge and repent of (when I say repent I mean that we must agree with God's judgment- these issues are sin; we must be sorry for them and we must turn from them).
While our culture may assert that it is only natural to be covetous when someone we know appears to have the “perfect” husband, home, family, church, homeschool routine etc. God actually calls this the sin of idolatry (Col. 3:5) and holds us responsible to repent of that sin.
By the way, you do know that there is no such thing as having the “perfect” husband, home, family, church, homeschool routine- or anything else you can think of, right? This is simply a trick of our enemy who is prowling about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
In the case of covetousness we are not only in the sin of idolatry, we are also guilty of not being content with what we have (Heb. 13:5). Double whammy.
Is it any wonder that God calls us to be purposeful about the things we meditate on? Philippians 4:8 says: “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.”
Are these the things that we- and our little ones- are meditating on? When you think about the movies you watch, the books you read, the music you listen to- are these meeting the Philippians 4:8 standard?
Our battle is fought and won in the mind. May we fight the good fight of faith.
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
~1 Timothy 6:6-12