Attitude is a manner of showing one’s feelings or thoughts. Throughout life we have all displayed emotions that have demonstrated both our positive and our negative reactions to different situations. Body language, as well as our words, has been the conveyor of these attitudes. It doesn’t take much to have our thoughts and feelings exhibited for everyone to see and experience. If we display a positive attitude, it will be easier to experience the Grace of God. When we exhibit a negative demeanor, sin will be at the door of our minds, ready to entice us to sinful action.
Cain and Abel were born outside the confines of the Garden of Eden. They were raised under the authority of their parents. They were taught what was right and what was wrong by the self determination of Adam and Eve. It was possible the under parental upbringing, their children were taught to bring an offering to the Lord. Thus, it was through the blood sacrifice that the “Adam’s family” acknowledged their responsibility for sin. Knowing the importance of bringing an offering before the Lord, Abel brought a lamb, while Cain presented fruit. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but “regarded not” Cain’s offering. God’s rejection of Cain’s offering triggered a response in Cain that showed, through his countenance and attitude, his independence from God. The Bible says he was “very angry and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4:5) God warned Cain that sin was waiting at his door and, if he did not resist, sin would control him. (Gen. 4:7) Within days, Abel would lie dead at the hands of his brother. As with his parents, Cain chose not to heed God’s warning.
God asked Cain five questions: (1) “Why are you angry?” (2) “Why has your countenance fallen?” (Facial expression) (3) “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (4) “Where is Abel your brother?” and (5) “What have you done?” Cain’s only response to these questions was that he did not know where Abel was, and why was it his responsibility to keep track of his brother? (Gen 4:9) Anger develops when one’s deeds are not in harmony with the righteous acts of the obedient. (I John 3:12) Jealousy and envy are the roads to separation from God. If only Cain had acknowledged that his deeds were in conflict with God, Abel’s blood would not have been shed. Through the attitude of Cain, sin had gained a foothold which would cause him to slip even further from God.
I have noticed over the last few years, a ridiculing and dismissal of ministries that promote positive thinking. Opponents of these “attitude” teachers have even gone so far as to expose them as “false teachers.” Where do we get the idea that having a positive attitude about our self is detrimental to achieving spiritual truth? When we realize what a Believer becomes through Jesus Christ, we cannot help but develop an attitude that exemplifies the joy that resides within us. Is not our spiritual altitude related to our attitude? Attitude is the window through which people see what we are experiencing. If, on the other hand, a positive attitude is taught as a substitute for Biblical Truth, then we have made a critical error. But if that attitude promotes the reality of who we are in Christ, the doorway to greater spiritual truth will be opened. Negative attitudes within Believers tend, at the best, to promote the Law; whereas positive attitudes display God’s Grace. Cain’s attitude opened the door to “evil deeds,” while Abel’s attitude welcomed the “righteous” deeds. (I John 3:12) Do we have the right attitude?
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I think there is a great deal more than attitude at stake in the story of Cain and Able. Perhaps another definition of attitude would include the idea that attitude merely reflects what is much deeper down inside of us. It is not as easily manipulated as advisors may suggest unless there is really nothing to that individual, i.e. an actor. Here is a good article to contrast with: http://managedsurrender.com/managed-surrender/mirrors/the-sacrifice/