The writer of Proverbs urges his readers to guard their hearts, for everything in life comes out of the heart. That is the basis of the book Lord, Change My Attitude Before It’s Too Late.
It’s not necessarily that James MacDonald references that specific Proverb. But, the Bible is clear that externals are not enough for God. It’s what goes on deep within soul that will influence the path of our lives.
This book challenged me as a “In church every time the door opens, read my Bible this morning, praying daily” kind of believer. Most of the “big sins” I manage to avoid. But it’s those little nagging sins that challenge me daily. Sins like complaining, criticizing, doubting, and rebelling in small ways rob me of joy, damage my relationships, and make me feel like I’m struggling against the same sins over and over and over.
MacDonald points out that it’s not enough to just stop one bad thing, one bad thought process, one bad habit. He urges us that the best way to get victory over our attitude problems is to replace one bad attitude with a good habit.
This is a fascinating strategy.
Rather than just telling myself to stop mentally or verbally complaining, I need to cultivate a grateful heart. This will help me focus on the positive blessings in my life rather than the things that I’m unhappy about. Poof. Joy arrives. I truly do have many blessings, even on the worst of days. I just have to make a practice of looking for the good things.
Rather than just envying my friends their nice homes, cars, or compliant children; rather than wishing that I looked like HER or had HER husband or HER career, I can cultivate contentment by resting in God. Contentment is the realization that what I have is enough, because GOD is enough to meet the deepest longings of my soul. When I’m searching for contentment, only Jesus can fill me up. Not stuff that I can see.
Rather than criticizing my kids, my spouse, my church, political leaders….whatever is in front of me, I can work on being loving to those around me. This doesn’t mean that I ignore negatives that need to be addressed. However, I need to realize that most of my criticism is simply me feeding my own pride, rather than trying to lovingly build up those in my circle of influence. When I begin looking at those around me with genuine love and compassion, there’s much less space for nit-picking and criticizing. And guess what? My loving attitude makes those around me much more receptive to my constructive criticism when I do eventually say something that needs to be said.
There are two other attitudes that MacDonald addresses in his book–doubting and rebellion–but the three above resonated with me most.
We have to remember that attitudes are just as important as actions in our daily walk. In fact, if we address the underlying attitudes that motivate us, it’s much easier to do the right thing.
This would be a great book for a Sunday School class or Bible study. There are notes, discussion questions and outlines in the back of the book for that use. I have shared some of these things with the teens in a Bible study that I teach.
Overall, this is a good book for personal use or for teaching in a group. While I received this book for no charge in exchange for my review, my opinions are my own honest ones.