Take a look at the world today and you will see a war of attitudes. We are bombarded by voices, all of them clamoring for influence. Talking heads spout rhetoric and facts, inspiration and wit, all intent on shaping our perception and getting us to accept their “truth” as our own. These fervent opinions are at odds with one another, and facts seem contradictory. It can be quite overwhelming. Like the children of Israel listening to the spies’ contradictory reports of Canaan, we too find ourselves at a crossroads, wondering what to believe.
The Israelites were shaped by their slavery in Egypt. Despite the fact that their freedom was at hand, they often complained and doubted. They still had a victim mentality, the attitude of bondage. Like the Israelites, our outward attitudes, opinions, and voices have been shaped by our personal experiences. Our behavior towards others and our ideas about the world, then, are defined by how we perceive ourselves – our self-image, self-value, and self-worth. If attitude is an outward extension and the product of our convictions, we must ask: what do we believe, and who do we emulate?
Our identity shapes our attitude, and thus the choices that we make. These choices impact not only our future, but also that of others. What would have happened had the Israelites believed that they really were the chosen people of God? That they were set apart to be a light? What if they had rallied behind Joshua and Caleb and moved forward to Canaan?
As the Israelites stood on the cusp of their promise, God told Moses He was giving the land to the children of Israel (Numbers 13:2), echoing the promise He gave Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7). Yet, they disregarded this promise when the spies returned with their report. Just ten people changed the trajectory of an entire nation. The Israelites wandered in the desert for the next four decades and lost an entire generation to the wilderness, all because they kept the slave-mentality, not their God-given identity. Their identity as sons of God should have shaped their attitude towards the spies’ reports with confidence and faith, not despair and helplessness.
As followers of Christ, our identity should be at the root of what shapes us. Our convictions and attitudes towards ourselves should be founded in God, not by the noise from the world. The adversary is constantly working to define you, to keep you from living in truth. If he can keep us from realizing who we are in Christ, then he can alter the trajectory of our lives, just like the ten spies did with the Israelites. However, if we walk in our identity as chosen people of God, redeemed by Christ, then just imagine the impact in our own life and our impact on others.
What life experiences are we allowing to define us? Do our beliefs line up with the worth God placed on us? Will we allow the adversary or the clamor of the world to define us, or will we place trust in the God that knew us before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5)? Dr. Myles Monroe, a Bahamian evangelist, once said, “You will never change your attitude until you get a revelation of how important you are to your generation.” No wonder there are so many voices clamoring for our attention.
Attitude is the lens through which we see the world. It shapes our futures, draws people toward us, and can change the atmosphere wherever we go. Choose to trust in the promises of God like Joshua or Caleb, and see what significant, impactful changes your attitude can make in the lives of those around you.
– Eszter Willard, Staff Writer