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Nurturing Christian Attitudes in Students

Nurturing Christian attitudes is required of us as Christians whether we are a mom, dad, sibling, friend, co-worker, minister, or a teacher. Attitude towards life affects every aspect of our lives. Being taught how and why to have Christian attitudes at a young age is essential. As a teacher I would explain to the children that one needs to have a Christian attitude because God requires it, not because I say that it is important or their parents say that it is important.

Our attitude toward God flows out of the love we have for Him through the grace He gives us. This attitude is above all most precious. We have a calling to obey God. In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Also Lord’s Day 49 Question and Answer 124 teaches that when we pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” this means “grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, and without murmuring obey Thy will.” So when we do things to keep God’s commandments we must not keep them with a bad attitude. Keeping His commandments with a cheerful heart is what having a Christian attitude is all about.

We not only have a calling to obey God, but also to follow Him and imitate His walk on earth. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said unto his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” In I Peter 2:21 it states, “For even hereunto were ye called: Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” These two verses give us a lot to live up to. Christ lived a perfect life. He had no sin. He still says that we have to follow in his footsteps. This isn’t going to be easy for a Christian. Taking up the cross isn’t going to be easy either. We are all going to be tempted by the devil. While we are following in Christ’s footsteps and taking up the cross we must not complain. Instead we must be witnesses. I Peter 3:25 says, “But sanctify the Lord your God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” That hope must be seen in us always. If we do not have a Christian attitude, that hope will not be seen in us.

God not only requires us to love Him and have a Christian attitude towards Him, but we must also love one another. In Matthew 7:12 Jesus states, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Lord’s Day 43 Question and Answer 111 of the Heidelberg Catechism also teaches us in the 8th commandment what God requires of us towards one another. “What doth God require in this commandment?” “That I promote the advantage of my neighbor in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: further also that I faithfully labor, so that I may be able to relieve the needy.” This law can be easy to those who are our friends and to those that have Christian attitudes towards us, but what about our enemies? Luke 6:27 states, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.” This is a hard task that is required of us. God even tells us to pray for our enemies. One may say, “Why should I love my enemy and pray for him if he did this or that to me?” We have to because God commands it of us.

Likewise God commands us to love ourselves. Our attitudes towards ourselves affect how we look and handle different situations and how other people view us. We must let them know that we are content with the many gifts and blessings God has given us, that we are not proud, but that we realize that everything that we have is given to us by the hand of our Father in heaven. There are two extremes in loving ourselves. One is being self-centered and the other being depressed and not happy with how God made us or content with the gifts He has given us.

We all have to remember that we are all totally depraved. In the Belgic Confession, Article XV, it states, “We believe that, through the disobedience of Adam, original sin is extended to all mankind; which is a corruption of the whole nature.” Man is born in sin and the only way we can do anything is by the grace of God. We have no reason to be proud or take credit for achievements we make because it is God who worketh all things in us. God by His good grace gives us many gifts. We must humbly accept them and use them in every way possible to glorify God.

The reverse side of being self-centered is being depressed because of how we look or not happy with the gifts that we have. We must all remember that we are made after the image of God and that He made each of us in a different and special way; and also that God had a purpose for each of us in this world, and we have to be content with the place that He has given us in the world. We must remember the words of Paul in Philippians 4:11, “…for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul was in prison and was persecuted; he had to learn that he had to be content because that was what God required of him. That is a perfect example of having a Christian attitude.

We must remember the words of Paul when we are in situations where it is hard to be content. For example, when we have to go to school to learn and we don’t particularly like school, we have to be content until we graduate. Another example would be if God sends trials in our lives. We have to have faith in Him and remember that all things work together for the good of those that love Him. We have to show others that we still have a Christian attitude when things get hard in our lives.

So as we are pilgrims on this earth we must never put down our guard. We must always stand strong and pray to God for strength to withstand the trials in our lives. We must also pray that God will give us the ability to have a Christian attitude towards everything in our lives, especially when we are going through hard times. The devil is always watching and waiting, and he knows our weaknesses, so we have to rely on God for help! We also have to remember that we will fall short and so we have to confess our sins before God and ask Him for forgiveness. Learning how to develop a Christian attitude at a young age is so important. So as I anticipate becoming a teacher I have to think about ways that I can teach the children Christian attitudes. I also have to remember that my attitude has to be Christian also because the children will learn from my example. So I pray to God that He will give me the strength to withstand the trials in my life and help me be a good example to those around me. ❖