Over the course of our lifetime we will struggle and fight against many sins. Some we will overcome easily, while others will follow and haunt us for most of our lives. I believe for some of us, the struggle to maintain a good and godly attitude in all circumstances is a problem we don’t give much attention to. Is a bad attitude really that bad? I was convicted about this myself as I read a section from the book “The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs. He explains that a bad attitude is not a small problem, but a dangerous sin that does far more damage than we imagine.
A bad attitude is evil in five ways:
1. It’s unworthy of a Christian.
We have been adopted into the household of God (Romans 8:15). We have been made royal priests. We are the bride of Christ, and God paid a dear price to make us his special possessions (1 Peter 2:9). We are a people who have been guaranteed a future so glorious that we can’t even begin to imagine it. Therefore it is below our station to have a bad attitude when plans don’t go our way or when seasons of life are hard. If anything we end up imitating Satan instead of Christ.
“The Devil is the most discontented creature in the world, he is the proudest creature that is, and the most discontented creature, and the most dejected creature. Now, therefore, so much discontent as you have, so much of the spirit of Satan you have.” - Jeremiah Burroughs
2. It has evil companions
A bad attitude is always accompanied by a number of ungodly friends. Melancholy, ingratitude, complaining, envy, jealousy, and anger just to name a few. It is a popular sin that gathers many others in its fellowship. The longer our bad attitude goes unchecked the more our sins will multiply.
3. It stems from pride
Bad attitudes flow from a prideful heart. A heart that says that we deserve for our day to go the way we had planed or for people to act in a way that we approve of and for life’s circumstances to be free of hardships, annoyances and frustrations. It is foolish living and will rob us of our comfort both mentally and physically.
When we have a bad attitude we lessen all the blessings and mercies God has shown us in our lives. In the moment we live as though God has dealt unfairly with us. We momentarily forget how awesome and good He is to us.
4. It drags out your troubles longer.
The person who can accept the providence of God in their lives will be able to go about their day without worry. Joy and peace will be the character of our lives when we do not pit our desires against what God has for us.
There will be hard days, messed up plans, and difficult people but the more we fight and rail against them the harder and longer our troubles will seem.
5. It spreads to others like an infection.
Think back to a time when you were hanging out with a group of people who were complaining, badmouthing, or otherwise expressing a bad attitude towards someone or something. How easy is it to join in? This is because attitudes are contagious. They influence and rub off on people causing others to act in the same way. (1 Cor. 15:33)
A bad attitude mars Christ’s likeness in us and robs us of our calling to encourage others.
Sometimes I have bad attitude. And what a bad attitude reveals is my ongoing need for Jesus. We all continuously need his forgiveness, his help, his wisdom, and his Spirit working in us to conform us more to his own image. It is impossible to do this on our own. When we find ourselves with a bad attitude we need to repent and look again to Jesus and all we have in him. There we will find joy and peace to overcome our circumstances and strengthen us as we follow Jesus.
Jen Thorn lives in Illinois where she serves alongside her husband, Joe, at Redeemer Fellowship. She loves studying theology, reading the Puritans, and has a passion for all things chocolate. Jen has 4 children and blogs atjenthorn.com,goodmorninggirls.org and timewarpwife.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenlthorn.