|To the apostle Paul, it must have seemed as though his life were spinning out of control at times. How could he avoid shipwrecks? He had no control over the phony apostles who were jealous of him and slandered his reputation. He never asked to be dumped over the city wall in a basket. He couldn’t help it when that demon-possessed girl followed him around Philippi, shouting obscenities.
Yet for all his lack of control over his wild and crazy circumstances, there was one thing Paul could control. His attitude. He realized his response could either greatly advance Christ’s gospel or seriously set it back. In other words, there was much more at stake than simply Paul’s life. Other lives would be influenced by his godly response to trials. The reputation of the gospel was on the line. Angels were watching. God was taking notice.
Now, I’m not in prison like Paul. There are no chains biting into my ankles. But I do have a wheelchair, and like Paul, I can’t claim direct responsibility for this particular circumstance. But I am responsible. I will be held accountable for my attitude.
You may not be responsible for that irritating phone call from your neighbor or for the fact that your wife can’t balance the checkbook—but you are responsible for your response, and you will be held accountable by God for the choices you make. There’s much more at stake here than simply your comfort zones. Others can be influenced to make eternal decisions. Angels are observing. So is God.
Sometimes we demonstrate better responsibility for our attitude when we enlist the help of others. Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable, to help you make the right choices. Ask your friend to nail you when he or she observes you handling a certain tough time with a complaining or grumbling spirit.
Feel uneasy with the idea? If so, remember this—Someone far greater than your friend is watching.
Before a word comes off my tongue, may I first check it out with you, Lord.