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The Time is Now to Change Your Attitude
We will be transformed at the Rapture, but we can be more Christlike today
A few years ago, I delivered a series of sermons under the title I Changed My Mind, which was later developed into a short book. It’s about how God wants us to change our minds, and how changing our minds can help us let go of worry, anxiety and our fears of failure. God shows us in His Word a better way to think!
When we change our minds, the most important things for us to change are what we think and what we do as a result of our thinking. God gave us a free will, which mean we can think and behave according to our own choices. The Bible tells us what we ought to do:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.—Romans 12:1–2
The apostle Paul is telling us not to follow the world’s pattern. He is saying we should not become identical to the world and act the way people do who are not believers. We cannot follow the world’s ways of behaving. We are to allow God to transform us into new people “by changing the way you think.”
The Greek word translated “transform” is metamorpoo, from which we get the word metamorphosis. A metamorphosis is a complete transformation—like a caterpillar that enters a cocoon and emerges as a butterfly. It is still the same animal, but it has gone through a transformational process that gives it a new beginning. God wants us to have that kind of dramatic change in what we think, feel, and do.
How does God want us to change? Paul says God wants to transform the ways we think. If you are a believer, then God did a great work in you when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. People probably noticed the transformation.
Of course, not everything about you changed in an instant. Paul had a dramatic conversion on the Road to Damascus, but that’s not the way most people are converted to the Gospel. It’s gradual, but it’s also noticeable.
God changes your mind, which is the part of your soul that activates or originates behaviors, such as good works. However, your soul is also influenced by your emotions and your surroundings. God created you to do His will, and Paul says when God transforms your mind, He gives you the ability to follow His will. In the end, you will know God’s will, which is “good and acceptable and perfect,” as Romans 12:2 says above.
Every day you walk with the Lord, He transforms you by the Holy Spirit more into His image. Even so, you are still living in a world tainted by sin. Many things still influence your mind, so you must choose daily to allow God to mature you. God is changing you, but you are not yet completely changed. That day is still coming—and it will happen at the Rapture.
When the Rapture arrives, the transformation will be complete:
For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.—1 Corinthians 13:9-12
How Does God Change Our Minds?
Above, the apostle Paul says we are known by God. Other translations use the phrase “knows me completely” in verse 12. There is nothing more God needs to learn about me. He knew me in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). God knows everything about me now, down to the hairs on my head (Luke 12:7). He knows my innermost thoughts (Hebrews 4:13). God knows how many days I will live (Job 14:5).
You may have heard your pastor say that Jesus was thinking about you while He was on the cross. I have heard someone make fun of that idea. Why would Jesus think about me? I will tell you why: Jesus is God. If He knows your birth, your last day, your every thought, and how many hairs you’ve got, then you can believe you were on His mind when He died for you. You were most certainly in God’s thoughts.
There is not a secret, a need, or a pain He does not know.
So God does not need to change His mind about you, but you most certainly need to change your mind about God. Most of the problems we have in our minds stem not from underestimating ourselves but rather from not knowing our place and purpose in God’s plans. You cannot know these things perfectly in this world, but you can know enough to hear God’s voice, follow His will, and do His work. He gave you the Spirit and the Word. You were not left without direction.
Therefore, something has to change, and that change is you—your mind, your emotions, and your behavior. One of the major ways God changes those things is by changing our attitudes.
What’s Your Posture?
Your attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something that will often show in your behavior. Your attitude can come from several sources, such as your family, your education, your feelings, and your experiences. Before you can change your mind about anything, your attitude must change. Except for your salvation, your attitude will affect your life more than anything else.
The New Testament describes what it looks like to have the right attitude, especially toward suffering, using Jesus as our example:
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.—1 Peter 4:1-2
Did you know the word “attitude” is also an aircraft term? It’s related to a plane’s orientation compared to the horizon line. I am a pilot, so when I am flying, I adjust the plane’s attitude to be nose-up, nose-level, or nose-down. The plane’s attitude indicates a lot about how well a plane is traveling and the direction it is going.
Are you “nose-up” in life or “nose-down”?
You can also see attitude in a person’s posture, which demonstrates mental state. When I preach, I watch the responses people make with their faces and bodies. I have a good idea what they are thinking by how their bodies are responding.
Will You Choose Misery or Happiness?
The people you surround yourself with will also influence your attitude—because attitudes usually travel in groups. In Romans 12, Paul writes that we are not to conform to the world’s attitudes. You don’t have to bend your orientation to those around you, especially if they have a negative attitude. Instead, we should fit our thinking to God’s perfect will: His attitude.
When you consider how you have acted or reacted in the past, think about how you have behaved:
Have you been grateful, gracious, and positive?
Or have you been ungrateful, rude, and negative?
Have you chosen forgiveness?
Or have you chosen bitterness?
Your attitude influences your present, but it will also determine your future. If you have a bad attitude, then it will very likely prevent you from enacting God’s plans for your life.
Happiness is a choice. You might choose misery because others have made you miserable, but you don’t have to react that way. You can choose happiness right now. Allow the Holy Spirit to transform you and give God gratitude for who He is and what He is doing in your life. If you want to be miserable, then God will allow you to do it. But if you want to be happy, then the choice is yours too.
I know you try; I really know you do. I am always trying myself! Your attitude isn’t perfect, and neither is mine. God wants us to respond to the world around us with faith and trust in Him, but we continue to allow our circumstances, our sinful flesh, and the devil to influence us.
But I promise a new day is coming when you will be transformed instantaneously. Jesus will return to Rapture the Church, and we will all be changed.
All of us will have positive, Christ-like attitudes at the Rapture—and I can’t wait!
Nevertheless, God does not want us to wait for that day before we pay attention to our attitudes. He wants you to be conformed to the image of Christ. Jesus endured great suffering while maintaining a godly attitude. He is changing you now, and He will change you completely when He comes again.