Having discussed this obliquely in the previous posts, understanding this statement is one of the most critical to understanding people.
Your attitude tells me everything I need to know
Heart -> heart postures/attitudes -> actions
Since we cannot see into someone’s heart, the attitudes that they have towards themselves and others are going to be the tip of the iceberg closest to the water. I can see someone do something incorrect and wrong, but if I know they have the right attitude toward it they can improve. An incorrect attitude toward learning will be the result of pride: they will not accept change. However, a correct attitude toward doing something incorrect is out of humility: they are willing to be corrected and able to make changes from there.
This is the understanding will change what you look for in a prospective spouse from focus on the external actions to the underlying attitudes of them.
For example, in a Christian man’s search for a wife, obviously he’s going to want to look for a woman who is solid in her foundation with Christ.
- Heart — wants to honor God by being obedient to his Word to love others.
- Attitudes — patience, kindness, goodness, humility.
- Actions — manifested in her desire to serve at church and other functions.
The reason why actions are less important than attitudes is because you can have similar women such as EAPs in the church with this line of thinking:
- Heart — is self absorbed and is looking for a husband
- Attitudes — may display impatience, lack of kindness, lack of humility especially when she doesn’t get her way.
- Actions — crosses the I’s and dots the T’s serving at church and other functions.
As you can see, on the surface the actions may look the same, but the underlying attitudes show the true story. This is the difference between submission and respect. Respect is the attitude and/or understanding of the nature of how authority works. Submission can be performed with or without respect.
As Christians our fear/respect/reverence of God motivates us to desire to follow His laws including submission to earthly authorities where it is due. The same attitude should be present in those that fear God in any relationship they are in whether it is Christians to the Church, wives to husbands, or us to any institution or workplace in which we are present. When we lose the attitude of respect, this starts us down the road to rebellion. After all, if we don’t respect those above us in authority we are more likely to not submit if things get difficult or our feelings get hurt.
Attitudes are what I primarily look for in all facets of life now because they are the closest thing we can perceive to the heart of those we interact with. Whether it’s talking to family, friends, non-Christians, Christians, or potential women for marriage. If you know their attitudes, you can almost invariably predict their behavior.
What they say and what they do gets you on the right track. It should be congruent with what they believe. However, even if they’re saying the right things and doing the right actions if their attitudes do not align with that then it’s a ticking time bomb. People can only fake for so long before their true nature comes out.
1 Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our [a]instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
I like this verse from Timothy because it presents the 3 things that are essential to living in agape love. A pure heart cleansed before God, the Spirit working in us as only God is good to make our conscience good, and sincerity/unfeigned faith that eliminates the fakeness so that our attitudes align with our words and actions.