Acts 16:16–40; Philippians 2:1–18
Paul had an attitude of genuine thanksgiving: “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2–4).
Here’s a man in his sixties who has been preaching for years asking for prayers for a clearer delivery. There was no pretense with Paul. No degree of success or number of years in the ministry gave him a false sense of ultimate accomplishment. He knew he had not yet arrived. He was convinced his preaching could be improved. And so with a genuinely thankful heart, he entreated his fellow believers for their prayers. Can you see the power of that kind of attitude? Very refreshing.
No wonder the man had such lasting impact for Christ. His secret bled through every one of his letters. He had learned to be content in all things. But we can’t leave the ink of these truths to simply sit and dry on the page. We must embrace the same secret for ourselves if we are to have the same lasting impact. Some personal reflection is in order.
Let’s turn the spotlight away from the man housed in Rome back then and focus it on you and your life, wherever you find yourself right now. Are you making a difference in the lives of those closest to you by the way you respond to your circumstances? Are others inspired by your faith, or are they discouraged by your fears? Are the attitudes of unselfish humility, joyful acceptance, strong determination, and genuine thanksgiving evident in the way you respond to circumstances? Maybe it’s time to make some changes. Let’s see if I can help.
Start by refusing to let your situation determine your attitude. When your attitude overshadows your situation, transformation really begins. As we saw in Paul, the power to transform stubborn attitudes of fear and bitterness, anger and defeat, comes from Christ. The Lord our God stands ready to pour His strength in you. He alone has the power to deliver you from those relentless foes and send you soaring.
Keep an attitude of genuine thanksgiving.