Our dynamic English language has attributed an alternate meaning to “attitude.” When someone speaks of “attitude” it usually refers to a somewhat negative response. Hence “Don’t give me attitude” means “Don’t be rebellious or defensive” or something along that line, which necessitates the “attitude adjustment” Hank Williams Jr. mentioned in his popular song.
At the conclusion of Isaiah’s lengthy condemnation of Israel’s disobedience, the Lord speaks through the prophet as to what He is looking for to fix their failures. “But on this one I will look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2b).
The mistaken view that God’s directives in the Old Testament were purely physical and only changed gears toward the spiritual in the New Testament is lacking in biblical evidence. God has always cared about His people’s attitude. This does not negate or undermine the necessity of doing right, for we will obey God if we love Him (John 14:15). However, going through the motions has never been, nor will it ever be, a suitable response to the grace of God. We must have the right attitude.
We might be able to fool people with our doing but we will never fool God; He sees the heart. It was good advice that David gave Solomon: “know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9). In the final analysis, we have nothing to offer God (Isaiah 66:1-2a). Thankfully, all He asks of us is attitude (Matthew 7:16-20).