Psalm 104:33-34 (NLT)
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
In the final stages of preparing for our daughter’s wedding that is just two days away, my lists now have lists. Every detail gives birth to ten more just like it in need of my attention. It is on my mind when I get in bed, and the thing that motivates consciousness each morning. All I do these days is given directions to each member of our family as I scurry all around preparing for seemed to take forever to get here but now is on my doorstep. My dining room is now wedding central spilling over into the rest of the house. Everyone is excited but the work does not seem to end. Oh yes, and then there is my full-time job. It is easy to get caught up in the doing and miss out on some of the enjoyment but when worry and stress seem to take over it is time to put down the list, stop the activity and survey our thoughts. It is time for an attitude check. Why? Because every day I want to sing to the Lord as long as I live. I want to praise my God to my last breath in every single one. I desire all my thoughts to be pleasing to Him. Yes, I want to rejoice in the Lord. It is human nature to get caught up in lesser things and forget that our primary purpose in this lifetime is to love, serve and honor Jesus.
When life seems overwhelmingly good or bad is the perfect time to sing to the Lord, praise God, think about His Word and rejoice in our salvation, but it is not what is on our mind most of the time. Most of the time, we are filled with worry, anxiety and stress over the demands of this life when faith and hope is found in our forever. It is these moments that we must stop and check our attitude. Our attitude will dictate our actions. It will decide whether we react to our situation or properly respond to people from the Love of God inside of us. The pressures of life release the contents of our heart. What are you saying? How are you acting? What are you doing to show the world you love the Lord? It really doesn’t matter how many people we “share” Jesus with unless our words back up our actions. So today if only for a few moments, I am going to evaluate my attitude, study His Word to find ways to improve, and make sure that my actions are in line with the Love, Grace and Mercy of God that I have been given to give back to the world.
You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you.
In the midst of all my lists, I decided to make a new one to evaluate my attitude. It reads something like this – 1) Test my thoughts. 2) Examine my heart. 3) Find nothing wrong. (Repent) 4) Determine not to sin. 5) Follow Your Commands. 6) Keep my feet on your path. This is my list for today. It is important to invite the Lord to test our thoughts and see if we are thinking the same way as Jesus. Examining our heart is a very intimate action but necessary to uproot bitterness and evil lurking in its darkness. Finding nothing wrong means that when we do that we repent and make our life “right” with God the Father through the Blood of Jesus once again. Determine not to sin. We all sin and fall short of God’s Glorious Standard of living so even if you think you have it all together – we really don’t. Righteousness is established in a deep, abiding relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The closer our proximity to the Lord by pressing to live in His Presence the more things we will find that we want to change to be closer than ever before Following God’s Commands means knowing and studying His Word. His Ways are not our ways but completely opposite. We get to know the Lord through His Word. It is the Bread of Life and Water that we thirst for as believers or at least it should be. A person cannot develop a hunger, thirst or appetite for God’s Word unless they taste it to see its goodness. Finally, keep my feet on your path which is an open invitation for the Spirit of God living inside of us as believers to lead us in life. This is the most important list of things to do each day. Most often it is the last thing we think about due to the demand put on our time and the many distractions that we face in this busy world.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
When my body becomes completely stressed out for lack of better words, and cannot take on another thing which I am prone to, I will break out in hives. It is my body telling me that things are out of control and to get a handle on it. When worry and stress break out of the threshold of our mind and move to our nervous system to affect us physically, it is a clear warning that an attitude check is in order. Sleeplessness, nausea, loss of appetite or even increased appetite are signs of stress and worry. We are the master of our body but when our body takes over and begins to respond to the pressure we are under it is clearly time to release some of it before we explode. Worry and stress can lead to high blood pressure and other physical problems. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about these things…” These are the things that dominate the thoughts of “NON-believers”. Whoa, are you calling me lost? Yes, only in the sense that maybe in the midst of well-doing that we wander off course. To right our way simply means to reprioritize to seek first the Kingdom of God once again. I call this “dumping the basket”. Only after completely emptying it can we properly sort and decide what we will pick up again. Some things need to go. God will not force you to trust Him. He will not make you have faith. Love allows us to choose even if it means watching painfully as we struggle. Are you struggling today? Agitated? Exhausted from an overactive mind? Worrying and working yourself to death but not getting anywhere? Maybe it is time to dump your basket and evaluate the load. Our life’s purpose is to seek first the Kingdom of God above all else. The Lord promises to give those who do EVERYTHING that they need.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Search me, Lord. Are you willing to invite Jesus inside to take a look around? Do you want Him to know your heart? Are you willing to be tested? Anxious thoughts offend the Lord because they are the result of doubt and distrust. It means that you do not believe that Jesus meant what He said when He said, “EVERYTHING!” Allowing the Lord to point out such things allows us to walk back into His Presence and raise our standard of living from ordinary to extraordinary. It is the place that we exchange the natural for supernatural. This is what it means to have an attitude check.
Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
My sinful nature wants me to think that I can this all myself. But I can’t… not like the Lord wants to do for me. He wants to do more in my life than I could think to ask for. The enemy wants to steal this from me. I must throw off my sinful nature and the need from my former life to take care of myself. I must align my body, mind and spirit with the Word, Will and Way of God. The Holy Spirit will gladly renew my thoughts and attitudes when I surrender my life (including all my lists) to Him. The Lord will give me a new nature. I was created to be like God. I am His Child. If I learn to fix my thoughts on Him first, every other detail in my life will turn out for the good of His Purpose. (Romans 8:28) Thank you Lord for the attitude check today!
Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.