“Pilgrim Reflections” - “On Attitude and Altitude”

by Tom Smith

In reality, one determines the other.

Attitude: it’s our mental outlook on things, based on our views-and-values. And, this usually determines our reaction or response in a given situation.

But, when it comes to flying an airplane, one’s attitude determines one’s altitude. How or why is that?

Because the direction a plane’s nose is headed is called its “attitude.” Thus, if it’s pointed upward, it’s climbing; if it’s pointed toward the ground, it’s got a “downward” attitude—and, unless the one flying the plane is doing that on purpose, the result’s not going to be very good.

And, so it is with life: our attitude determines our altitude.

A person with a positive attitude usually looks for the “good” in others or a situation; however, a person with a negative attitude is always finding fault with others, being critical or judgmental, etc.

And, then, he/she wonders why no one wants to be around them.

That’s why an “Attitude of Gratitude” is so important every day, not just when Thanksgiving Day rolls around every year.

Again, anyone can be cynical, i.e., a sneering faultfinder. The Bible calls this “sitting in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1). And, nowadays, it seems more and more people are

occupying this seat—forgetting, as Spurgeon said, “That it’s a very lofty seat, but very near to the gates of hell. And, those who sit there have their doctor’s degree in damnation!”

Wow! Pretty strong words, weren’t they?

Yes, but words that need to be heard: especially in this day-and-age of “I’m right and you’re wrong”. . . “I’m my own authority and what I say is truth”. . . “Everything revolves around me,” etc.

No wonder our nation (and world) is in such bad shape: theirs is a “downward” attitude of accusing and blaming, not an “upward” attitude of Thanksgiving and Praise.

That’s why it’s so important for us to remember to “give thanks in everything (even ‘bad’ things): for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

We know there are a lot of things wrong in this world; yet, when we trust God to guide us and give us what we need when we need it, we’re still able to give thanks for “His sufficient Grace—and how His Strength is made perfect in our weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9-10).

Look at it this way: all things are not “good.”

Coming down with cancer is not good; getting fired from a job for no reason or being told “I’m leaving you for someone else” is not good.

But, in every situation God has promised “I’ll never leave you or forsake you” and “My Grace is sufficient for you” (II Cor. 12:9; Hebrews 13:5). In fact, He’s also promised to “work EVERYTHING together for our good (and His Glory) when we love Him and are fulfilling His Purpose in our lives” (Romans 8:28).

So, again, our “attitude determines our altitude.”

And, when we have a continual “Attitude of Gratitude” in every situation, we’ll not be devastated when things are falling apart: because we know the Lord is with us and will give us what we need when we need it.

This isn’t “positive thinking;” it’s Jesus’ Presence and unfailing Promises. It’s resting in His Resurrection Power, knowing through Him we can be “more than a conqueror,” regardless of our situation (Romans 8:37).

Yes, Thanksgiving Day is a good time to check on our Attitude and see which direction we’re headed. And, if it’s a downward one—instead of an upward one—then we need to take ahold of our mind/heart’s “stick” or “yoke”. . .pull back. . .and say “Thank You, Lord, for loving me and never leaving me.

“Help me today to love You with all of my heart—and to always thank You, particularly in my difficult days when I’m mad or sad. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

(NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 614, Mulberry, AR 72947 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com).

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