Attitude by Pastor Carl W. Mann, II
Philippians 4:6-9 (KJV) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
The most common uses of today’s Scriptures have dealt with the topics of “Handling Anxiety” or “Obtaining and Maintaining Peace.” I’ve referenced these Scriptures in past Thanksgiving Day sermons to present the principle of being grateful. In fact, I’ve referenced the need for us to have an “Attitude of Gratitude.”
These, and many other, topics are appropriate with today’s Scriptures; but, all of these topics actually present the topic of “Attitude.”
“Attitude” is a noun that has the following four primary meanings (Wikipedia)…
- A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior. (“She took a tough attitude toward other people’s indulgences.”)
- A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state. (“The boy was standing in an attitude of despair, his chin sunk on his chest.”)
- Truculent or uncooperative behavior; a resentful or antagonistic manner. (“I asked the waiter for a clean fork, and all I got was attitude.”)
- The orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft, relative to the direction of travel. (“He flew his airplane in an attitude of slight ascent.”)
We are impacted by “Attitudes” every day, all day long. In fact, we will be impacted most by our own “Attitude.” I believe our lives are what our thoughts make it to be. I am not an advocate of the overreaching principles of the “Power of Positive Thinking;” however, I do believe that as surely as “we are what we eat,” meaning if we eat healthily, we will most likely be healthy, the “Attitude” of our life will be directed by what we think about the most.
The way we view God’s Word, Will, and Ways will have a dramatic influence upon our spiritual “Attitude.” If we believe God’s Word is merely a compilation of men’s and women’s thoughts, opinions, and stories to present God’s Character, we will find it very easy to dismiss God’s Word as readily as we would anything, or anyone, else that we deemed meaningless or non-essential.
However, if we believe God’s Word is His unadulterated presentation of His Truth, we still have the choice of dismissing it, but not without the consequent convincing by the Holy Spirit that we are directing our lives with an “Attitude” of self-righteousness and sedition.
If we review the four definitions of “Attitude” as presented in Wikipedia in relation to today’s Scriptures, I believe it will help us to examine ourselves and the “Attitude” we present as a follower of Christ living in this world.
- Jesus taught us that we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. He also taught us to love others as He has loved us. I wonder, as I reflect upon God’s Amazing Grace, and as I think upon all He has done for me, do I present an “Attitude” of tolerance and forgiveness toward others in the same manner that I expect God to grant me?Or do I present an attitude of impatience and unforgiveness toward others because I believe that I have not sinned as greatly as they? There was something about the “Attitude” of Jesus that made it possible for an adulterous to look Him in His eyes and receive His corrective statement of “Go and sin no more.” There was something inviting about the “Attitude” of Jesus that encouraged the repentant thief to implore Jesus to, “Remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”
I wonder, do I portray the “Attitude” of the Savior?
- Luke 9:51-56 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village” (Emphasis Mine).I wonder, does my “Attitude” present the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” regardless of the circumstances I am in? Jesus had times wherein He presented an “Attitude” of concern – even anger! However, there was never a time that He presented an “Attitude” or defeat or discouragement. Even in His time or sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was not discouraged; for, discouragement can only come when one does not get his own way!
Because Jesus meditated on His Father’s Word, Will, and Ways, He was the Constant Victor! Even amidst what appeared to be a great defeat, He could cry out, “It is Finished!” His “Attitude” was one of “Victory,” because He knew His Father would never leave Him nor forsake Him even though He entered the greatest sense of “darkness” and cried out, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken me?”
I wonder, do I portray the “Attitude” of the Saved?
- The Thirteenth Chapter of the Gospel of John presents a challenge to many believers. As a reminder, Jesus is approaching the hour of His “Passion,” wherein He would stand in a mock trial before the Jewish leaders and be mocked in the Court of Pontius Pilate. After this, He would climb the Hill of Golgotha and hang on the Cross of Calvary for the sins of lost humanity.As Jesus is pondering His impending “Passion,” His Disciples are arguing among themselves as to which one was the greatest, and most impactful, follower of Jesus. While they are arguing, Jesus quietly gets up from His place, rolls the sleeves of His robe up, places a towel around His waist allowing a “tail” to hang down so He could use it, and begins to wash the feet of His Disciples.
When Jesus approaches Peter, Peter presumes to correct Jesus. Peter was telling Jesus, “Lord, it is NOT Your place to wash our feet. That is the job of a lowly servant!” You see, not one of the Disciples “lowered” himself to bring comfort and consolation to others around them.
Jesus “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7), and did not present an “Attitude” that He was better than anyone else – even though He WAS, for He had never sinned!
I wonder, do I portray the “Attitude” of a Servant?
- From the day that Jesus came into this world, He maintained an “Attitude of Ascent.” He came “down” to this world so that He could bring us “up!” You will find nowhere in Scripture where Jesus ever allowed anything or anyone to “bring Him down.” Although He lowered Himself to the form of a servant, He did it so others could be lifted.Jesus maintained an “Attitude” of constantly seeking His Father’s Will, Word, and Ways. Whenever He was tired, He went “up” to seek His Father’s Will. When He was hungry, He sought His Father’s Word. When He was ministering, He sought His Father’s Ways.
I wonder, do I portray the “Attitude” of a Seeker?
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart