Joel Osteen - A Fresh New Attitude
I want to talk to you today about a fresh new attitude. Studies show that your attitude can have a greater impact on your success, than your IQ. You can be extremely talented, have incredible potential, but if you don't have the right attitude it will keep you from rising higher. When we spend all kinds of time and money making sure the outside looks good: eating right, working out, wearing the latest fashions and that's all fine, but too often we're not spending any time on the inside. Nice clothes won't cover up a bad attitude. A pretty face, perfect makeup won't hide being bitter on the inside.
In high school this new girl moved into town and she was very beautiful, very attractive, and I was shy, never had the nerve to talk to her. But our senior year we had a class together, the seating was assigned, it just so happened I was sitting right next to her. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The first time I sat by her I turned, just being friendly and said hello, nothing more. She looked at me like I had just insulted her, like she was totally offended, she looked away and never said a word to me the whole semester. She was beautiful on the outside, but can I tell you, she was ugly on the inside. I never saw her the same way. A bad attitude makes you unattractive, it overrides what's on the outside. It's important to look good, to develop your skills, to get an education, but it's even more important to keep a good attitude. Nobody wants to be around a sour, critical, condescending person.
Colossians 3 in the message translation says, "Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: kindness compassion and humility". As parents, sometimes we pick out clothes for our children to wear, our Heavenly Father has picked out something for us all to wear: kindness, being good to people, being pleasant to be around. When you're kind you draw people to you. Being gracious, being friendly, good-natured, that will bring opportunities your way. People want to do business with people that they like. When we're hiring someone their resume tells us what they can do, what their skills are, but we always meet with them to see what their attitude is: are they positive? Are they friendly, kind, considerate? We can find someone else with the same skills, the real question is: do they have the attitude that's going to take us higher? They may be gifted, but a negative attitude will pull the team down.
Your attitude is going to determine your altitude, it will determine how high or how low you go. "Well, Joel, I've always been kind of negative, critical, condescending, that's just who I am". No, that's who you're choosing to be, that's not who you are. That may be how you were raised, that's what you saw growing up, but that's not how you have to stay. Try being kind, friendly, good-natured. You'll not only enjoy life more, but you'll go further.
On an airplane there's an instrument called an attitude indicator, it shows how level the plane is on the horizon. And if the pilot wants to ascend, he tilts the plane nose high, if he wants to descend he tilts it nose down. It's the same principle in life: if you have a nose-high attitude, if you're positive, you see the best, you're kind to people you, have a smile, because your nose high, you're going to continue to rise higher, you're going to see God's blessings in favor. But if you're sour, hard to get along with, you don't want to go to work, bitter over disappointments, because you have a nose-down attitude, your life is going to go that direction. And sometimes we're discouraged over what we brought on ourselves. It's not the enemy, it's our attitude.
The good news is: all you have to do is make an attitude adjustment. It's not complicated, you can't change other people, you can't change how you were raised, a lot in life we can't control, but one thing we can all control is our attitude. Am I going to live this day negative, sour, seeing the wrong, chip on my shoulder or am I going to live it in faith, positive, hopeful, seeing the best, being good to people? This is a choice, that we have to make every day. If you're going to have a good attitude, you have to do it on purpose, because there will be all kinds of negative things, that try to creep in bitterness, discouragement, self-pity. If you're not proactive, if you don't choose the right attitude, then the wrong attitude will show up.
When a pilot makes a small tweak the plane can be level, but when he tilts it just a little nose high, in a half an hour the plane will have climbed thousands of feet in the air. I wonder what would happen in your life if you would make a small tweak: instead of going to work sour, dreading the day, feeling unappreciated, you would show up with a smile, grateful to have the job, knowing that you're not working under people, you're working under God, that he's keeping the records - that's what allows God to change things. What would happen in your marriage, your relationships, if you'd make a small attitude adjustment? Instead of being contentious, hard to get along with, you'd start being friendly, loving, respectful. Instead of saying harsh, critical word, you would start giving compliments, telling your spouse how much you love them, how blessed you are to have them in your life.
Just a small adjustment, getting your attitude a little higher, watch those relationships begin to improve. Or maybe you've had bad breaks, life hasn't treated you fair, and it's easy to get sour, go around with the chip on our shoulder focus on what's wrong. That's a nose down attitude: you're choosing the direction you're going to go. Why don't you tilt it a little nose high? "Yes, it was unfair, but I know God is my vindicator. I know God is fighting my battles. God promised to pay me back double for the unfair things that have happened". You keep that up and you'll see God make up for the wrongs.
It's what Joseph did. He was betrayed by his family, falsely accused, put in prison for something he didn't do. For years he was mistreated. It wasn't fair, but you never read where Joseph complained, where he got bitter, where he slacked off. Despite all the bad breaks Joseph kept a nose-high attitude. Thirteen years later God vindicated him, made of the prime minister of Egypt. What you're facing may not be fair, people may not be treating you right: it's a test, God wants to see what are you going to do in the difficult times? Too many people go nose down, their attitude keeps them from seeing justice and vindication. But if you'll do like Joseph and stay nose-high, keep doing the right thing, keep being good to people when they're not being good to you, keep that song of praise in your heart, that's not just being positive, that's an attitude of faith, that's what allows God to show out in your life.
The scripture says, "Put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness". A garment is like a coat, but before you can put on a coat of praise you have to first take off a coat of heaviness. And sometimes we wonder while we don't have joy? Why everything's a burden? Why we don't have any passion? It's because we're wearing the wrong coat. "Joel, nothing good is in my future, I never get any breaks". Let me give you a fashion tip: that coat of heaviness doesn't look good on you, that coat of self-pity is way out of style, that coat of bitterness, what you didn't get, who left you, doesn't fit you anymore. It's restricting you, you've stepped into a new season. Now do your part, take off the coat of heaviness and put on a coat of praise, "Father, thank you, that your plans for me are for good. Thank you, that what you started in my life you're going to finish. Thank you, that I haven't seen my best days". If you're going to go up like that airplane, you have to get your nose up, you have to make an adjustment in your attitude. You cannot have a defeated mentality and live a victorious life.
Paul said in Ephesians 4:23, "Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind, putting on a fresh mental and spiritual attitude". He was saying: everyday we need to put on a fresh new attitude. You know why? Yesterday's attitude will get old. If you don't start a fresh and a new, then you'll bring all the negative from yesterday into today. If you do that week after week, month after month, before long you'll be negative, discouraged, finding fault. "I can't stand my job, Joel. Traffic is so bad, my house is too small, I'll never get well". You know what that is? An old attitude. Some people have not put on a new attitude for years and years. They wonder: why everything's a burden? Why it's so heavy? It's their attitude.
Every morning when you wake up, you need to say, "Father, thank you for this day. Thank you, that you woke me up. Thank you, that you gave me air to breathe. Thank you, that you surrounded me with favor. I'm grateful to be alive, I'm grateful for my family, I'm grateful for opportunities. Lord, I'm gonna live this day to the full". That's putting on a fresh new attitude. You wipe the slate clean, you let go of yesterday's disappointments, what didn't work out, you get your mind going in the right direction: I'm going to see the good today, I'm going to be kind to somebody, I'm going to stay in faith and enjoy this day.
Imagine if you wore the same clothes for 30 years, never took them off, you didn't wash them, didn't clean them - they would stink, they would be dirty, nobody would want to be around you. That's what an old attitude does. A stale attitude pushes people away, a sour attitude will keep you from being promoted, a stinking attitude will stop dreams from coming to pass.
I knew this man that was always finding fault with his employer. He was constantly bucking the system, and challenging the policies. The management was very good to him, other people in the department, they loved the company, but he always found something to complain about. They had to be at work at 8:00 in the morning, they parked in a big garage and had to walk. His attitude was as long as he was on the property at 8:00, that he was there on time, they couldn't do anything about it. Well, nobody else thought that, but he kept doing it his way, being contentious. Several years later he was let go, he lost a prominent position. He went to work for another company and did the same thing: he kept challenging the policies, being hard to get along with. One day I heard this man had not only been fired, but security was escorting him out of the building. He wasn't even allowed back on the property.
What am I saying? A bad attitude will follow you around. You can change jobs, think other people are the problem, but sometimes we have to look inside and see if we're the problem. Do I have a sour attitude? Am I being hard to get along with? Am I focused on the negative, being critical? This man was talented, he was smart, had a big future in front of him, but he lived nose-down. His attitude took him in the wrong direction. It wasn't something big, a simple adjustment and it would be a different story, he would be at another level.
What direction is your attitude taking you? In your marriage, in your relationship are you kind, respectful, fun to be around? In your career are you positive, being your best, helping others or do you need to make an adjustment? Don't wait till it's too late, till the relationship comes to an end, till the company says they don't need you anymore. Make the changes now, get rid of anything you know that's holding you back: being negative, finding fault, condescending. That old attitude doesn't smell good, it's going to taint you wherever you go.
This couple moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, the lady looked out the window and saw her neighbor hanging the wash on the line to drive. And she noticed the wash was so dirty and so dingy. She said to her husband, that neighbor doesn't know how to wash, the clothes aren't clean. She must not even use detergent. Week after week she looked out this window and saw the clothes and made the same comments about how dirty the laundry was. One morning she looked out the window and the clothes were as clean and bright as could be. She couldn't believe it, she called her husband and said, "Look, she finally learned how to wash, I wonder what happened"? The husband smiled and said, "Honey, I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows". The problem wasn't that the neighbor's laundry was so dirty, the problem was the window, the lady was looking at was not clean. Many times how dirty our neighbors clothes are depends on how clean our window is.
The scripture says to the pure all things are pure. If you're always finding fault, complaining about the traffic, critical of your spouse, may I suggest your window is dirty? The problem is not external, it's internal. You're looking through a tainted filter. At some point we have to look in the mirror and say: maybe I'm the one that needs to change? Maybe I've developed a habit of seeing what's wrong whether than what's right? Maybe I've trained myself to be negative, disrespectful, hard to get along with? That's why it's so important every morning to put on this fresh new attitude: "I'm excited about this day, I don't have to go to work, I get to go to work, I'm grateful for this job. I'm not gonna complain about the traffic, I'm grateful to have a car. I'm not focusing on what's wrong, but Lord, I want to thank you for what's right in my life". You know what you're doing? You're cleaning your windows.
92 year old man was moving into a seniors home, he could see images, but he was technically blind. His wife of many years had just passed. And after waiting in the lobby for some time, this young lady, a nurse came to take him to his new room. As he maneuvered his walker through the hallways, the nurse begin to describe his room in great detail. She said it has a beautiful window, a big couch, a nice desk area. Right in the middle he interrupted her and said: I love it, I love it, I love it. She kind of laughed and said: sir, we're not there yet, you haven't seen the room hang on just a minute. He said: no, whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged, it depends on how my mind is arranged, and I've already made up my mind, I'm going to like it. That's the way we should live: I've already made up my mind to enjoy this day, already made up my mind to have a blessed year.
Life is too short to live negative, sour, letting circumstances dictate our attitude. Every morning you need to make the decision: this is another day the Lord has made, I'm going to live it in faith, I'm going to be positive, I'm going to see the best, I'm going to make the most of this day. "Well, Joel, I'm discouraged because I've had bad breaks, I had a rough childhood, a friend walked out of a relationship, I went through an illness". We can all find a reason to live sour, to have a chip on our shoulders, you have to learn to let things go. What's happened in your past cannot stop what God has in your future. God wouldn't have allowed it, if it was going to keep you from your destiny. But if we go around discourage: why did it happen? Why did this door closed? That's going to keep us from the new things God has in store.
The scripture says: the rain falls on the just and the unjust. No one is exempt from difficulties, but here's the key: if you'll stay in faith, that setback is setting you up for God to show out in your life. Instead of being sour, put on this fresh new attitude: "Father, you said, you'd give me beauty for these ashes. You said, what was meant for harm you would turn to my advantage. So, Lord, I want to thank you, that I'm not only coming out, but I'm gonna come out better".
In the scripture Job went through a great trial, wasn't fair, he didn't do anything wrong, but everything fell apart. And at first he had a bad attitude, he complained and was bitter, but he didn't stay there. When it looked like he was done, like there was no reason to have hope, he looked up to the heavens and said: "I know, my redeemer lives". He was saying, "I know, God is still on the throne. I know, he's bigger than what I'm facing". He put on this fresh new attitude. If he would have stayed bitter, angry, discouraged we wouldn't be talking about him. When it was all said and done, Job came out with twice what he had before.
In difficult times it's tempting to get sour, "Joel, I was doing the right thing, had this bad break. This setback came out of nowhere". You have to do like Job, put your foot down and say, "I refuse to go through life with a bad attitude. I am not going to let what happened to me, who did me wrong, what I didn't get keep me from becoming all I was created to be. God, I know, you being for me is more than the world being against me". That's what allows God to show out in your life. But too often we're holding on to the hurts, disappointments, that things we don't understand. That poisons our attitude, steals our passion. You have to let it go, this is a new day.
The scripture talks about how God created you to be like an eagle, to soar. What's interesting is, an eagle doesn't eat anything that's dead. Unlike other animals that will eat a carcass, a coyote that will eat a dead cow, and eagle only feeds off of live foods, swoops down to the ocean and picks up a live fish. If you're going to be an eagle, if you're going to soar, you can't go back to the dead things in your life. Too many people are feeding off of what didn't work out. Relive in the disappointments, the mistakes, bad breaks. When they wake up, first thing they think about who hurt them, the people that did them wrong. Quit feeding off that dead food. You can't put poison into your spirit and live a victorious life. Let it go, that's over and done. Now, start feeding on live food. You know what's alive, you know that healthiest food you can put in your spirit? Promises from the scripture! I am blessed and I cannot be cursed, I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord. Thanks be to God who always causes me to try on.
What are you feeding on? Pay attention to what you're putting in your spirit. You're called to be an eagle, but sometimes we're acting like a chicken. Do you know, a chicken will eat its own waste? A chicken feeds off of what's been discarded, off of what's supposed to be trashed? Maybe that's why a chicken has wings, but it can't really fly. It holds on to what it should have released. And you need to view the negative things in your life as waste, no God doesn't waste it, but you're not supposed to feed on. It it's over, you've been through it, you've eliminated it, now move on. Don't go back to what you've released. If you're always feeding off of what's been discarded, reliving old hurts thinking about what you've lost, that's going to keep you from flying. But God didn't give you wings so you can stay on the ground. He didn't say you will mount up like chickens, he called you an eagle, he created you to soar. Don't let a wrong attitude keep you grounded.
My father had heart disease most of his life. He struggled with his blood pressure and he came from a family that had to fight that. When I was a teenager we used to go watch the astros play baseball, walking from the parking lot to the stadium, my father would have to stop several times and rest. He was out of breath. It been that way so long, that was normal to him. He eventually went to the doctor and they discovered the arteries to his heart were almost completely clogged. The doctor said, he was only operating on 30% of what he should be. He eventually had open-heart surgery and they removed all the blockage, my father was like a new man, he could walk from miles. But sometimes like my father, our heart has become clogged. Not physically but with offence, with self-pity, with discouragement. We don't realize it, but we're only operating at a percentage of what we should be. We wonder why our marriage is stale, and while we're not passionate about our dreams, there are contaminants, blocking the flow. We've allowed these poisons to clog up the blessings, the joy the ideas that belong to us.
The good news is, you can get back to who you were created to be. You don't have to have a doctor, you can make these changes. If you will get rid of the offense, the critical spirit, the negative attitude, you'll get that spring back in your step, you get your joy back, you'll not only enjoy life more, but you'll see favor in greater ways. What could you be if your heart was totally unclogged? How high could you fly if you didn't have contaminants holding you back? It's time to find out. Get up every morning start putting on this fresh new attitude: this day is a gift from God, it is filled with possibilities, new ideas, new friendships. I'm asking you like that airplane to live nose high, focused on the good, focused on the possibilities. If you'll do this I believe and declare, you're about to lift off, new doors are about to open, freshness in your relationships, healing, promotion, new levels, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.