“It is the Lord.”
This past week I had the pleasure of dialoguing with a Christian educator about the upcoming school year. I listened as she painstakingly described her situation. Like many she is starting the year teaching online which has resulted in a total overhaul of her normal teaching routine. She meticulously outlined the plan to bring half of the students back at a time while the other half remained online, the process for students who needed additional support, and the gradual transitioning back to school as we know it. Her voice was not full of angst or trepidation. She was simply stating facts. Then she said, with a slight burst of energy, “But all of this will make me better!” Her tone was one of hope, a calm assurance so many are seeking. I immediately let her know how impressed I was with her attitude, and without taking a breath she said, “It is the Lord.” Indeed, it is.
This short conversation made me realize how impactful our impromptu conversations can be. Everyone is talking about the virus. Everyone is concerned about school. The door is wide open for us to share a message of hope versus words of doom and gloom. I’m reminded of the glass half-full/half-empty scenario. COVID is here, and we can’t change it. School is different right now, and there is little we can do about it. So, we have a choice. We can focus our minds on all of the problems and why things are not going to work, or we can ask God to open our mind to His eternal perspective. I truly believe we must seek to learn and grow through this time and strive to make the best out of a difficult situation. I’m not advocating we ignore the challenges, but how we face the challenges will make all the difference for us and those around us.
Tackling this school year with grace is going to be a daily grind. As I stated in last week’s blog, it’s going to take “true grit.” As Christian educators it will be important for us to be mindful of our attitude and words in our conversations with others. The only way to keep our minds and words in check is to be plugged into a source—one that fills us with thoughts of hope and words of encouragement. As my friend so eloquently stated, “It is the Lord.” He is our source. Jesus made this perfectly clear when speaking to the disciples and early believers.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
Remaining in the Lord—staying connected—only happens when we open our hearts daily to the empowering of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, John 14:26, Galatians 5:22-23). This, too, is a matter of choice. We can choose to tackle our circumstances on our own, or we can submit to His rule in our lives. There is a stark difference. When God takes control, it impacts everything including our attitude (how we view our circumstances) and our words (how we communicate our attitude).
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Attitude is everything,” and when you think about it, it really is! We take our attitude with us wherever we go; there is no doubt our attitude influences our behavior. In fact, the Bible has a great deal to say about this.
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Every one of these verses has an imperative.
· “Do everything…”
· “Get rid of…”
· “Be kind…”
· “Don’t copy…”
· “Change how you think…”
· “Fix your thoughts…”
It is our choice. Our attitude, our behaviors, our words—our choices. If we are struggling in this area, and we all do at times, we may need a heart check.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
Our hearts can be fickle at times, often driven by emotion. Keeping our hearts clean and staying closely connected to our Source is a pre-requisite for exhibiting Godly attitudes and behaviors. God blesses those whose hearts are pure (Matthew 5:8.
Proverbs 27:19 says, As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. How do others know and see our hearts? They discover our heart condition through our attitudes, behaviors, and words. All are important, but one—our words—seem to get us in the most trouble! We often talk about how harmful words can be, but as my earlier conversation illustrates, words can also be a reflection of something positive. There is great power in our words, and as Christians our prayer should always be…
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
During a time when it is easy to speak negatively, we must stand apart and heed the words of Paul.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4: 29
Never underestimate the power of your words. Words can breathe life into another person.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24
I would venture to say my friend had no idea her simple, life-giving words would yield a blog post! In fact, she may not even remember what she said. When asked why we have hope—why we can be so positive in the midst of great difficulties—may our attitudes, our behaviors, and our words confidently communicate, “It is the Lord!”