All of us have experienced those moments where you knew you had to change your attitude because it was obviously bad and having a negative effect on your life. Attitude is powerful and sets our life in its direction, taking control. We are to be controlled by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit inside us. not a bad attitude. It is a choice we make and, you can fix your attitude in 6 transforming steps.
Why Is Attitude Important?
Philippians 2:5 NASB, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,”
Philippians 2:5 TPT, “And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.“
Philippians 2:5 NIV, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:”
The Greek word that is translated as attitude or mind is ‘phroneo’ which means to have understanding or to think. J. Thayer’s commentary adds this statement:
“properly, regulate (moderate) from within, as inner-perspective (insight) shows itself in corresponding, outward behavior. 5426 (phronéō) essentially equates to personal opinion fleshing itself out in action (see J. Thayer). This idea is difficult to translate into English because it combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking.”
Visceral relates to the body itself and cognitive to the mind so attitude effects every part of our being. Attitudes can be good or bad and can be short or long-lived. The amount of influence an attitude has on us is dependent upon our own choices. We can allow an attitude to exercise control over us, or we can take authority over it and live in a Christ-like manner. It is up to us to fix our attitude.
Choose Your Attitude
There are many things in life we cannot control – the wind, the sea, the weather, disasters, time, the past, the future, other people, and change. You may try to control others but ultimately, each of us only has control of our own emotions, thoughts, beliefs, habits, actions, reactions, and mindset. You can fix your attitude by choosing your attitude.
I know we often believe that our thoughts cannot be controlled so we allow thought processes to run like a bad movie in our minds over and over. We don’t want to believe that we can control our thoughts for several reasons:
- Even if they’re bad, we like them.
- We don’t want to make the effort to change them.
- We don’t really want to be the person God intends for us to be.
Yes, the last one is a little hard, but true. We must want to be like Christ, to have His mindset, His attitude, and His life filling ours. But, it’s hard work. It doesn’t come ‘naturally’ because our human nature wants its own way. Our desires, actions, thoughts, heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit all have to be submitted to God and we must die to the flesh and the old human nature we were born with.
Philippians 2:1-8 NASB, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Paul clearly explains that we have the power to fix our attitude to conform to that of Christ. He tells us, as believers, to be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Then he tells us what our attitude or mindset should be – humble. Instead of having a selfish mindset, we choose a humble one. Instead of an attitude of conceit, we choose humility.
What is the attitude of Jesus that we are to imitate? Servanthood. Jesus emptied Himself and became the servant of all and became obedient to the point of death. His total lack of selfishness was demonstrated on the cross. His attitude set His destination.
Attitude is important because it sets direction. I took flying lessons and attended Ground School being taught how ‘attitude’ applies to flying. The attitude of the plane determines whether it crashes, stays on a steady course, or goes completely off course. This definition of flying attitude is similar yet different than our human attitude – “flying by attitude means visually establishing the airplane’s attitude with reference to the natural horizon.”
The pilot has to maintain the correct relationship between the airplane, the horizon, and the earth itself. If a mountain is looming ahead, the attitude of the airplane in relationship to the earth and horizon must change by raising the nose of the plane to ascend or changing the attitude of the wings to go around the mountain – or both!
If the pilot is blinded by fog or dense clouds, they may lose their visual frame of reference and can literally fly straight into the ground thinking they are flying level because they have nothing by which to judge their attitude – they have no frame of reference. They don’t know what is up and what is down because there is nothing to judge it by. Attitude determines direction for airplanes and for us. Maintaining the correct attitude is vital for both.
No matter how dark or foggy our life may be, we always have clear vision of our frame of reference – Jesus. The Holy Spirit is always with us, always guiding, always walking alongside; always speaking. We are never left without a point of reference that enables us to know our direction. We don’t need a VFR so that we can fly in the dark because we have constant light in our lives – the light of Christ.
Change Your Attitude Change Your life
Have you ever met someone with a bad attitude? Perhaps they were continually negative and critical. It’s hard to be around someone like that because it pulls us down. That person may believe they can’t change – this is just how I am – is a common excuse. It might be how you are right now, but it’s not how you have to stay. What they really mean is that they like being this way because there are rewards they get as a result of it. But the truth is, you can fix your attitude and fix your life!
A bad attitude can just happen. If I’m tired and stressed, my attitude can definitely go sideways in a hurry and changing it requires effort on my part that I might not really want to give! Admit it – there are times when you enjoy your bad attitude, at least for a while, and you don’t want to fix your attitude. Sometimes I just want to enjoy a little self-pity!
The key is that we do not remain in that condition for very long. A pilot may fly through a cloud and when they come out the other side, realize that the ground beneath them is now closer and they immediately make an attitude correction to get back to a safe position. The bad attitude was temporary and corrected by clear vision.
Our attitude is also changed by clear vision. Our eyes are to be set on Jesus:
Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Philippians 3:12-14 TPT, “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.“
Paul, who wrote these verses, experienced a radical transformation of his life. As he began to live for Jesus, his old attitudes died and here we see him as a man with one focus – Jesus. He didn’t allow anything to blur his vision. He had fastened his heart to the future and was running straight for Jesus. This was his attitude in life. Paul chose his attitude, direction, focus, how he lived, and who his master was because he had fixed his attitude.
The lust of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16) were no longer his attitudes. His eyes were fixed on Jesus. His flesh had been crucified with Christ, and his heart was fastened on gaining Christ, not his own pride. When he changed his attitude, he changed his life and he maintained that position or attitude regardless of circumstances, emotions, desires, or temptations. He endured tremendous hardship, yet his attitude did not change.
Bad attitudes can also be caused by the actions of others toward us. What if you had a friend at church who was also in a leadership position and they lied to you? Not just a little white lie. No, it was a big one that cost you money and hurt you deeply. You confronted him/her and they denied ever saying what you told them they had said to you. You went to another leader in the church, told them the situation, and nothing happened – absolutely nothing.
Now, your attitude is one of total distrust and anger toward all church leadership and you leave the church, refusing to go to another one because you don’t want to be hurt again. Your attitude has spilled out through your words – criticism of that person, the church, and church in general. You are sour, bitter, and have lost friends but you persist in your attitude because you are correct – they did lie and cheat you out of money; they did refuse to take responsibility; and, the church leaders ignored the incident. You are justified.
The problem is, you’re not justified. Your attitude is based in pride – you were right and they were wrong. No, you don’t have to go back to that church or renew that friendship unless God tells you to. What you must do is change your thoughts, emotions, spirit, and mindset in regard to what happened because your attitude is only affecting you and it’s a very negative effect. What is God’s will for you? The next 6 steps will tell you how to fix your attitude and be in God’s will.
Fix Your Attitude in 6 Transforming Steps
Transformation #1 – Forgiveness
Forgiveness. Our attitude can be changed by accepting God’s forgiveness and by extending that same forgiveness to others.
Ephesians 4:32 TPT, “But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.”
This doesn’t mean you’re approving of your friend’s lies. It just means that you’re letting go of the past and moving forward in Christ’s love and forgiveness. An attitude of forgiveness will guard you against bitterness, revenge, gossip, slander, and many other things that set your attitude in a downward spiral.
Forgiveness means that the past is not controlling you or your attitudes and thoughts. Instead, the love of Christ is controlling every part of your being as you live in an attitude of forgiveness and love.
Fix your attitude with forgiveness.
Transformation #2 – Renew Your Mind
Romans 12:1-2 TPT, “Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.
What is the key to a ‘total reformation of how you think?’ It is surrender to God; being His sacred, living sacrifice; and, living in His holiness. You have to have the ‘want to’ in order to succeed in transforming or renewing of your mind and fixing your attitude.
2 Corinthians 10:5 TPT, “We can demolish every deceptive fantasy[a] that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought[b] and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.“
This is no casual endeavor – this is war! We are tearing down strongholds – thoughts and attitudes which defy God’s authority and will – thoughts, presumptions, logic, high barriers, and human intellect. We are taking those things captive and making them obedient to God. You must have the desire or ‘want to’ in order to have the ‘can do.’
The good news is that we would not be instructed to do this if it was impossible! But, God doesn’t just wave His magic wand and renew our minds. We must be active participants in the process and He will give the strength and desire to accomplish the task.
Fix your attitude by fixing your thoughts.
Transformation #3 – Focus
Where are you looking? As we saw in the Scriptures above, there is an aspect of focus that changes attitude. When you accepted Christ as your Savior, you became a resident of the Kingdom of God. Yes, you are physically residing on this earth but that’s temporary. The Kingdom is eternal and Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God is in the midst of us. Why? He is here and where He is, His Kingdom exists because He lives and because He lives inside us.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NASB, “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.“
I ride a motorcycle and one of the first things you are taught is this – you go where you look. If you want to make a sharp, right-hand turn, you need to focus on exactly where you want to go, turning your head and pointing your eyes at your goal. If you shift your focus, you won’t go where you want to go because your mind is following your eyes.
It’s also true when driving a car – you go where you look. You may not need to focus in the same way, but the principle is true. How many times have you heard about an accident on the side of the road being followed by another driver plowing into the disabled vehicle or people standing nearby? The second car went where the driver was looking.
Spiritually, you also go where you look. If you’re focused on things that are sinful, negative, or that go against the Word, you will end up going there. Our focus is to be on the things above, on the Kingdom, on the Word of God, and on Jesus. Don’t crash because you were looking the wrong way.
Fix your attitude by fixing your focus.
Transformation #4 – Think Like Jesus
We’ve already seen that Jesus’ mindset was one of humility and serving. We are told in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that we have the mind of Christ!
1 Corinthians 2:16 TPT, “Who has ever intimately known the mind of the Lord Yahweh well enough to become his counselor? Christ has, and we possess Christ’s perceptions.”
1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV, “for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
We have the ability to think like Jesus. While God’s thoughts are higher than ours, He still shares His mind and mindset with us through the Holy Spirit. It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to tell us what God is saying. Then, it’s our job to make those words our guide and keep our focus on them.
Philippians 4:8-9 NIV, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you“.
If you want to know how to improve your attitude, the answer is here in Philippians. If you’re only thinking about what is true, what is noble, what is right, pure, lovely, and admirable, it will be very difficult to think negative, angry thoughts or to maintain a bitter or self-pitying attitude.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, capture them, and replace them with good, beautiful, and lovely thoughts. As with all things, practice will make it easier and easier. Develop a habit of having a positive focus and this will help fix your attitude. This doesn’t mean you’re pretending that there are no negative, trying, or terrible circumstances or people around you, What it does mean is that you choose not to focus on them.
Instead, your focus will be like that of Jesus who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. His focus was us and fulfilling the will of His Father! He wanted us to be set free from sin and death and reconciled to the Father. Since there was only one way that could happen, that’s where He kept His focus. There was plenty of negative He could have dwelt on but He chose not to.
Fix your attitude by fixing your mindset.
Transformation #5 – Gratitude
Gratitude is an extremely powerful force we often overlook. It involves looking at what we have rather than despairing over what we don’t have or have lost. I’ve personally experienced the power of gratitude to help me maintain a positive attitude. This practice got me through the sudden death of my first husband and subsequent cancer.
By purposefully giving thanks and expressing our gratitude to God, we can overcome. Again, we’re not pretending that the world is always awesome because it isn’t. But, no matter how bleak the situation may be, there is something, one thing, you can be grateful for. Give thanks for having shoes, or Kleenex, food in the refrigerator, or clothing to wear. In dark times, find one beautiful thing every day. Find the tiny flower in the middle of the desert and give thanks for it. Treasure it.
Gratitude is a a huge subject in the Word and is meant to be part of our lives every single day. Over and over we are told to give thanks, to rejoice, and to be thankful. This is all part of gratitude.
If you’ve ever spent much time with someone who is ungrateful and entitled, you know how it wears you down and it’s irritating. You would like to tell them – ‘Fix your attitude!’ A grateful person is generally a person who is content in their life and settled in their thinking. They are steady and find their assurance in God rather than themselves or man. Gratitude is meant to be a permanent attitude.
Philippians says – in everything give thanks. It doesn’t say – for everything give thanks. We go through some terrible things and we don’t have to be thankful for the circumstance. But, in the midst of it, we can be thankful and grateful for the smallest things and be thankful that God is with us. Even in the darkest night, we can find a tiny light and be grateful.
Fix your attitude by fixing your gratitude.
Scripture on Attitude
Here are a few more Scriptures on attitude showing the variety of ways in which attitude is to be set and adjusted,
- 1 Peter 4:1 NIV, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.” Unselfish Attitude
- James 4:10 NIV, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Humble Attitude
- Hebrews 13:5 NIV, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Attitude of Contentment
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Colossians 3:10 TPT, “For you have acquired new creation life which is continually being renewed into the likeness of the One who created you; giving you the full revelation of God.” Grateful Attitude
- Colossians 3:16-17 TPT, “Let the word of Christ live in you richly, flooding you with all wisdom. Apply the Scriptures as you teach and instruct one another with the Psalms, and with festive praises, and with prophetic songs given to you spontaneously by the Spirit, so sing to God with all your hearts! Let every activity of your lives and every word that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you!” Attitude of Worship and Praise
- Philippians 1:27 TPT, “Whatever happens, keep living your lives based on the reality of the gospel of Christ, which reveals him to others. Then when I come to see you, or hear good reports of you, I’ll know that you stand united in one Spirit and one passion—celebrating together as conquerors in the faith of the gospel.” Attitude of Faith
- Philippians 2:3-5 TPT, “Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.” Humble Attitude
- Philippians 2:14-15 TPT, “Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. For then you will be seen as innocent, faultless, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture. For you will appear among them as shining lights in the universe,” Attitude of Gratitude
- Philippians 4:6 TPT, “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life,” Prayerful Attitude
- Ephesians 4:2 TPT, “With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience.” Humble and Patient Attitude
- Ephesians 4:22-24 TPT, “And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self – life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness.” Transformed Attitude
- Galatians 5:22-23 ESV, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Spirit-Led Attitude
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 TPT, “Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.” New Attitude
- Romans 14:17-18 TPT, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of rules about food and drink, but is in the realm of the Holy Spirit, filled with righteousness, peace, and joy. Serving the Anointed One by walking in these kingdom realities pleases God and earns the respect of others.” Kingdom Attitude
- John 13:34-35 The Voice, “So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” Loving Attitude
- Matthew 5:16 The Voice, “You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.” Attitude of Devotion
- Matthew 6:33 The Voice, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.” Attitude of Trust
- Psalm 28:7 NIV, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Joyful Attitude
Transformation #6 – Joy
I want to add one more aspect to this list of transformative qualities and that is Joy. Joy isn’t giddiness or a temporary burst of feeling good. Joy, like contentment, is a deep and settled attitude that encompasses the other 5 transformations. There is little joy when:
- You’re living in unforgiveness and/or bitterness
- When your mind is devoured by the world and its lusts
- When your focus is blurred by circumstance and is not on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness
- When your thinking is dominated by strongholds that defy the will of God
- When you are ungrateful and wanting what you don’t have
The first thing most of us say is, “How can I have joy when everyone and everything around me is so bad?” You can have it if you choose to have it because joy has nothing to do with your circumstances. You can fix your attitude no matter what.
Nehemiah 8:10 NIV, “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Romans 5:1-2 TPT, “Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and he now declares us flawless in his eyes. This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us. Our faith guarantees us permanent access into this marvelous kindness that has given us a perfect relationship with God. What incredible joy bursts forth within us as we keep on celebrating our hope of experiencing God’s glory!”
These two verses tell us something about joy. First, our joy is in the Lord and this brings us strength. Our joy isn’t in our circumstances or in people. Second, it is our position before God that gives us incredible joy that bursts forth as we celebrate the “hope of experiencing God’s glory.”
I could give you a long, long list of Scriptures on joy, However, I encourage you to do two things – look them up and read them for yourself, then read 22 Ways to Live in the Power of Joy Today. You will find scripture and tools to help you live a lifestyle of joy and rejoicing.
Remember, there is no guilt or shame because God is quick to forgive and delighted when our heart’s desire is to be like Jesus. If you’ve hurt someone else with your bad attitude, go to them and ask for forgiveness. Forgive yourself as you ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. Don’t dwell on the past because it’s gone. Just move forward in these six transforming steps to fix your attitude.
Fix your attitude by finding your joy.
Fix Your Attitude
- Practice forgiveness.
- Renew your mind.
- Focus on Jesus and His Kingdom.
- Think Like Jesus – you have the mind of Christ.
- Be grateful every day.
- Embrace, express and live in the joy of the Lord – it is your strength.
I would love to hear from you if you have questions, need help or just want to talk to someone about this. My email is email@example.com.
**WM uses verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit this page – Scripture Citations.