“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Attitude can be such a blind spot for us. We can’t look in the mirror and see that our attitude is untidy or does not match our life as a Christ-follower. This force that drives our conduct may go unseen by us, but it is like the stuffy butler in an old movie who announces guests as they arrive at a party. Our attitude colors everything. It enters a room or a relationship ahead of us and announces the tone for an encounter.
As Christ-followers, we are called to be transformed. Our mission is to replace our own self-centered attitudes with God’s attitude, which is guided by love for others rather than selfishness. Changing our attitude is difficult. In fact, the scriptures say we must die to self–not simply push selfishness aside or stuff it down, but take something integral to who we are and set it aside. Then, the void we carve out can be filled with righteousness and holiness.
As humans, we can’t do it at all. And we don’t have to! God has placed his Spirit in us to do the heavy lifting. Change does not happen overnight. Yes, we are transformed as we accept Christ, but this verse helps us understand that we are being made new. We are slowly being revised. Or to put it another way, we are maturing. We learn to put off our own desires and practice putting on God’s desires for us. It’s a lifelong learning process.
The trouble with a lifelong process is our human impatience. I would like to flip the switch and be changed overnight. But there is a lot of change needed in my life. I couldn’t handle it all at once. The key is that I must daily invite the Spirit to reveal what is in my heart and to purge my old attitudes.
And even as I write this, illness has changed our traditional family gathering. We normally have an exuberant crowd of family around our table. But God has called us this year to a quieter season. I am determined thankfulness will mark it all the same. I know that as seasons come and go, our good Father remains unchanged. Ever loving, ever watchful, and always calling us to a deeper relationship.