As we enter this new year, I think it is important to set a tone in our own attitude about this new opportunity in 2019. As we know so well, we cannot control some things around us, but we can control our attitude about those things. The new year will bring surprises, pain, joy, and a host of other things. I hope your year is filled with joy and hope.
A good way to start adjusting attitude is found in the book of Philippians, where the writer says…
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
This passage is one of my very favorite ones in the Bible. Paul, writing from a Roman jail, is telling people how to be content, and he is thanking people for their support and generosity. He is telling people to earnestly rejoice, even while he is in the midst of trouble.
There is a formula here for contentment. If we rejoice, recognizing that God is near, we will be better able to turn to Him in prayer, especially at those very rattled times. We are to give our petitions to God with thanksgiving. That is, recognizing that we have done what we are supposed to do, and having put it into God’s hands, we are to be thankful that He will then take care of things. How will He take care of things? Well, that is not our problem- that is His concern. Since He loves us, we are to be assured that He will deal with it in our ultimate best interest. Paul says that the peace of God will then guard our hearts.
In order to maintain this peace, we then need to think on good, pure and lovely things, uplifting things. Paul is outlining here the most basic of psychological principles- what we dwell on, we become. The part of our spirit that is fed is the part that grows. So, we are to feed the positive, uplifting ideas and surroundings, not the negative, deadly things the world has to offer.
Paul concludes, if we put these things into practice, the God of peace will be with us. If we let the peace of God guard our hearts, the God of peace will dwell there!
I trust that as you begin 2019, you can start with the attitude of positivity, and trust that God has in control already the things that my come up this year.