It’s not difficult to run into someone who needs an attitude adjustment. If we hang around enough Christians, we’ll eventually hear one of the following “I can’t” statements:
“I wish we could go on that mission trip, but I can’t take that many days off work.”
“We’d love to be able to tithe, but we just have so much going on right now.”
“I really want to be in a small group [community group], but we’re just so busy.”
“I’ve been really meaning to join the volunteer team, but I don’t have a lot of skills.”
Those statements can certainly be true for a season, but they’re pure fiction over the long haul of life. Such attitudes are rooted in believing that one’s access to resources (time, money, energy, talent, etc) is static. Such attitudes are also rooted in a spirit of fear that says if we give ourselves in outward service or in obedient worship that we’ll miss out on opportunities for ourselves. In addition, all of those statements end with an excuse.
As renowned speaker, Chris Hogan, often says, “an excuse is the skin of a lie wrapped in a reason.”
We are lying to ourselves. We know the truth and we know that through Christ, all things are possible.
We know that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. We know we should be selfless, but we make up excuses in order to be selfish without appearing selfish.
So how do we stop excuses? How do we gain a better attitude?
How do we turn away from the “I can’t” attitude and lean into “I can”? Well first, we need to meditate over the following verses:
Philippians 2:4 – Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)
Hebrews 13:5 – Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.” (MSG)
1 Peter 2:16 – Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (ESV)
After we’ve marinated on those verses, let’s use our God-given imaginations to figure how to be more obedient without it being unbearable. For example, let’s take the excuses from earlier and flip them into something positive:
“I know we can’t go on every mission trip, but we’ve committed to going every other year.”
“We’d love to tithe so we’re going to cut our discretionary spending in order to begin tithing.”
“I really want to be in a small group so I’m going to start carving time in my schedule for it.”
“I’ve been really meaning to join the volunteer team. Sign me up. I’m ready to start learning.”
As you can see, we have it within us to be “I can” people. But in order for our abilities to flourish, our focus has to be on God and others. And when that happens, we begin to learn what true treasure looks like.