I hear the topic of attitude frequently. Especially in motivational sales talks like it is some new discovery. Well, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Everything we need to know about is in the Word of God. How to treat one another, how to handle friends, how to act in one's marriage, how to serve God, what to do about kids, animals, death, life; it is all there. So, attitude, it is there also. To have a winning attitude it must be coupled with three elements: desire, action and persistence.
First of all let me ask you a question or two. Who do you want to be? I have seen some great people whose spiritual lives were exemplary. One such man was Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille. The love of God in that man's heart was most evident. His relationship to God was an example that will live with me forever. I want to have that kind relationship with God and exude God's love for people. But that is me, who do you want to be?
Where do you want to go? Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now? If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Moses knew where he was going. His desire was to deliver the Children of Israel out of the Egyptian slavery. While he was living in Pharaoh's house it didn't work and he got banished from Egypt but God took care of him, taught him how to walk with Him and sent him back when the time was right.
How do you want to handle situations? God never promised us a life free from troubles, He actually said there would be strife and pressures; we live in an imperfect world. Yet He has given us the tools to be super conquerors and to live a more than abundant life. I read about people that have experienced challenging events and have survived them. When you peer into the life of those people you see this attitude, this trust in God. I know that my strength comes from God. God and I make a majority and I do well as long as I rely on Him and not my own abilities or brains.
Attitude starts with seeking God. We have a great example of this in Luke.
:1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. [on his way to Jerusalem]
:2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus,
which was the chief among the publicans,
and he was rich.
God tells us two very important things here that our Western minds must stop and process. Zacchaeus was a publican. A publican was a tax collector for the Romans. I don't know of any country whose tax collectors are well liked. But here in the Roman Empire there was quite a bit of corruption in the way taxes were collected. If they were instructed to collect 100 shekels from a household it wasn't beyond a publican to exact 120 and pocket the difference. Plus many Israelites despised anyone who worked for the Roman Government. The second bit of information we learn is that he is rich. It is quite tempting to infer that the reason Zacchaeus is rich is because he has taken more in taxes than he should have.
:3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was;
and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
By this time the fame of Jesus Christ and the miracles that he had preformed had spread like wildfire throughout Israel. The press is the huge crowd that assembled to see Jesus and touch him. Zacchaeus sought Jesus to find out who he was, this is his desire. This must have been more than a curiosity, look at his next move.
:4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him:
for he was to pass that way.
He took action far and above the regular crowd. His desire was intense enough for him to race ahead of the crowd and climb up in a tree see Jesus Christ.
:5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him,
Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
Oh, look at the reward! How many people, "worthy followers," are there that are with him and could offer him a place to stay that night. Jesus didn't care what kind of occupation Zacchaeus had. God told him to stay with him. Want to know another wonderful thing? How did Jesus know Zacchaeus' name? God must have told him. Jesus Christ is in a highly distracting situation with a crowd thronging him and he is still able to listen to God. Besides, all of the action is at eyelevel, God also must have told him to look up. It must be available for us to walk always listening also. It is Christ in us the hope of glory. Christ is all in all, he is eyes behind our eyes, ears behind our ears, hands behind our hands, all in all. We can have the peace that passes understanding to the point that we are always able to listen to God in every situation no matter how distracting.
:6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
If Zacchaeus had been a deceitful individual do you think he would have received Jesus joyfully? No, he would have been feeling quite guilty and unworthy.
:7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying,
That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Now contention arises, murmurings, whisperings, and spitting out the word 'sinner' like it was a fly in their mouths. Jesus Christ didn't let this dissuade him from doing God's will. It didn't cause him to second guess his decision, nor did it deter Zacchaeus from hosting the Saviour.
:8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord;
Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor;
and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation,
I restore him fourfold.
Zacchaeus persisted despite the murmurings of the people. He spoke to Jesus and refuted their false accusations. We also learn here the reason why he was rich; he gave half of his income to the poor. You cannot out give God. The more you give the more room you have to receive. And, should he mistakenly take more than it is rightfully owed he pays them back fourfold; what a price guarantee!
:9 And Jesus said unto him,
This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
This day the saviour will come his house because he believed. Abraham is the father of all those that believe.
No matter the occupation, no matter the people's opinion: God knew Zacchaeus' heart.
:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Zacchaeus had a great desire to see who Jesus was, he sought the Lord to the point that he took action and ran ahead to climb a tree and be above the crowd. Then, when the people started murmuring and casting doubt on the decision, he persisted refuting their accusations.
Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? How do you want to handle situations? Get your heart lined up with God and your desires will be lined up with God. Take action and persist. He is a rewarder of the faithful in Christ Jesus.