Attitude is altitude. That silly catch phrase has been running through my mind. I don’t know where it came from, but this is what I think it means. For the most part we don’t have control over our circumstance. Things we face each day can be good and pleasant, difficult or tragic, or perhaps, just neutral. But we do have control over how we face those things that come. Our attitude toward the things that happen in life determine whether we will be up or down – altitude – positive, hopeful, and trusting, or angry, frustrated, and depressed. Our altitude affects not only ourselves, but everyone around us. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(I T 5:16-18) We can’t choose our circumstance, but we can choose how we face them. God has declared His love for us, demonstrating it so perfectly at Calvary’s cross. He has told us that He is with us always – only in the good time? No, in all times. Life in our fallen world is difficult, but God is with us. We can face each day with hope, and trust in our gracious Lord. At a difficult time in Israel’s history Nehemiah said to the people, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”(8:10) That joy is not a false face, but true hope in Christ. It changes our life, and is a witness to those around us.
One of the pieces of junk mail that came this past week was a catalog for teen fashions. Boy did they miss the mark in this household! Nonetheless, I scanned through it. One of the things that struck me was the faces of all the models, mostly girls, a few boys, all sullen, and not a smile among them. I know part of this is the fashion industry ethos. You don’t see smiles on the faces of models on NY fashion runways. These faces convey to me several things. Sometimes a sense of arrogance and pride of superiority. Other times a sense of the “whatever” attitude of the uselessness of life. I know these are only fashion presentations, but do they convey something of the attitude of our times? These are so opposite of the Good News we have to proclaim. Life is not easy, but we have a joy in Jesus that transcends circumstances, and that conveys itself to the attitude we express on our faces.