Summary: If you want to exchange an attitude of defeat for an attitude of victory in your life, then fully follow the Lord, because you have learned to fully appreciate all that He has given you.
I thank God for the children we have in our church, because there is so much we can learn from them. I like this sentiment shared on the internet by Debi Zahn from Sandwich, Illinois. She says:
When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. Kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money, and I look away. Kids see someone smiling at them, and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm, so I sit self-consciously and listen. Kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words, and if they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk. Kids close their eyes, spread their arms, and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray, I say "thee" and "thou" and "grant me this" and "give me that." Kids say "Hi, God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to heaven yet. I would miss Mommy and Daddy."
When I see a mud puddle, I step around it. I see muddy shoes and clothes and dirty carpets. Kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross, and worms to play with.
I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from? No wonder God loves the little children! (Debi Zahn, Sandwich, Illinois; www.PreachingToday.com)
It’s all in the attitude! You can look at the challenges ahead and be discouraged, or you can see them as opportunities for growth, and for God to demonstrate His power through you.
The question is: How can you adjust your attitude to experience God’s power in your life? How can you exchange an attitude of defeat for an attitude of victory? How can you approach life with a positive outlook that results in overcoming the enemy? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Joshua 16, Joshua 16, where we can learn from those in Israel who had a poor attitude.
Joshua 16:1-4 The allotment of the people of Joseph went from the Jordan by Jericho, east of the waters of Jericho, into the wilderness, going up from Jericho into the hill country to Bethel. Then going from Bethel to Luz, it passes along to Ataroth, the territory of the Archites. Then it goes down westward to the territory of the Japhletites, as far as the territory of Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer, and it ends at the sea. The people of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, received their inheritance. (ESV)
As Joshua divides up the Promise Land, Joseph’s descendants get the best part of the land. As described here, it is the central part of land, and it was the most beautiful and fertile part!
However, Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, so that part of the land needed to be divided between their two tribes. The rest of the chapter goes on to describe Ephraim’s portion, which I won’t take the time to read except for the last verse.
Joshua 16:10 However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor. (ESV)
Instead of driving out the Canaanites, Ephraim’s descendants chose to enslave them in direct contradiction to God’s command. God had made it very clear in Deuteronomy 20: “You shall devote [the inhabitants of the land] to complete destruction” (Deuteronomy 20:16-17). But why destroy them when they can be of use. They can do all the work. They can pay tribute and make Ephraim rich! On commentator said, “They chose tribute over triumph” (Donald Campbell, Bible Knowledge Commentary, p.360).
Their brothers, the descendants of Manasseh, did the same thing. They chose to disobey God. Joshua 17 describes Manasseh’s part of the land, which I won’t take the time to read, except for a couple of verses.
Joshua 17:12-13 Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out. (ESV)
At first, Manasseh’s descendants COULD not drive the Canaanites out; but when Manasseh got strong enough, they WOULD not drive the Canaanites out. Like their brothers, they chose to disobey God.