An attitude is a way of thinking, which typically is reflected by our actions. In Philippians 2, we read that we “must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” What a difficult thing to accomplish! How are we to have the same mindset at Jesus? What is Paul trying to say in this verse?
As we continue reading, the Bible talks about Jesus giving up His divine privileges and how He took on flesh. He humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). That’s the attitude we are to share with Christ—humble servant.
Today, consider how you can be a humble servant. Seek out opportunities to serve. Pray for more humility. Ask the Spirit to help you have the same attitude of Jesus.
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” – Philippians 2:5 [NLT]
When I woke up, the day didn’t start out well. I allowed myself to get in a bad mood. A broken down system at work. Getting parked in by landscapers. Having my privacy invaded. The list of issues that rained down on me that morning brought the perfect storm. If you must know, yes, it was a Monday! I don’t have problems with Mondays though. Everything just seemed to fall upon me though on this particular Monday.
Keeping one’s attitude in check is hard, but it’s even more difficult when multiple things go wrong. We may brush off a few things, but as the bullets keep flying, we often lose it. We are in control of our attitude. We are responsible for our reactions. That day, since the system was down, I left work early to head home. I desired the opportunity to just lay on the sofa with the pups and read my Bible. I needed to just hide under the covers with Him and get away from this heaping mess. I needed to rest with Him and fix my attitude.
On the way home, it was raining. There was a slick spot where there must have been oil on the ground. When some fellow jumped into our lane without following proper driving rules, we all had to stop. The space was there. The time was there. But the oil was also there. My van slid right into the truck in front of me. I closed my eyes. Not something else. I didn’t even want to get out and look, but when I did, I praised the Lord. No injuries, and little damage. Why? Because of the hitch. The man had a hitch on his truck. It kept our vehicles separated. Despite all the craziness of the day, despite being pelted with many things that day, the hitch was there—just like the ram in the bush. God provided a hedge around me and reminded me things would be just fine. Look around today. Perhaps there’s a hitch in your path—something to help to refocus your eyes on God.
“Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ Then the two of them walked on together.” – Genesis 22:8 [HCSB]
When things are going great in life, we can always find reason to cheer. Yay! My daughter just had a baby. Yay! I just got a promotion. Yay! I won a contest. But what do you do when things aren’t going so well in life?
We are to be joyful in all situations—at all times in life. We are to rejoice always, when things are going well and when we don’t really feel like rejoicing. Do you feel like rejoicing when your mother is sick in the hospital? Do you feel like rejoicing when your house just burned to the ground? Do you feel like rejoicing when you lose your job?
We don’t always feel like rejoicing but it’s because of our attitude. We look to what we lost rather than to what we have gained. We always have a reason to rejoice. We always have a reason to be joyful. These moments are temporal. God has given us so much—eternal life, eternal blessings, and even right now as I am going through some very dark moments in my own life, I can look around and easily see that I am blessed. Yet I will rejoice. Thank you Jesus! Thank you Lord! Praise God for He is ALWAYS good!
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” – Habakkuk 3:17-18 [NLT]
When the spies were sent into the Promised Land, the report that came back was actually two different reports. Ten of the spies admitted the land was good, but focused their attention on the giants that were in the land. They aimed to persuade the Israelites not to enter the land. Joshua and Caleb went against the majority. In Numbers 13:30, the Bible says that “Caleb tried to quiet the people.” He wanted to go “at once” and exclaimed, “We can certainly conquer it!” The account goes on to mention that Caleb had “a different attitude.”
There are many times when we should check our attitude and motives for things. It is good to ask why we are doing things. It is good to see if we are being positive or negative, believing or doubting, loyal or unfaithful. Caleb “remained loyal.” He saw giants. He saw the exact same things as everyone else. But there was a difference. He didn’t look at the giants and say, “Wow, look at those big giants. I think we should turn around.” He looked at the giants and said, “My God is big enough to do as He promised. He is faithful. We can certainly conquer this land. Let us go at once.” There is a big difference between these two statements—and it is all about the attitude—all about the focus.
Today is a good day to examine your attitude. Is your attitude different from the majority? Are you trusting God? Are you focused on giants? We each can look at the giants and see God’s great power or look at the giants and drown ourselves in fear and doubt and disbelief. Caleb had a different attitude. I pray you remain just as loyal.
“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24 [NLT]
We are not told exactly why Cain’s offering was unacceptable but Abel’s was pleasing to God. In Genesis 4:3-4, we see that Cain brought “some” and Abel brought “the best.” I think if I had to choose between some or the best, I would choose the best. Then in verse 7, Cain is told, “You will be accepted if you do what is right.” It is clear that Cain did not do what was right, and that possibly was linked with a poor attitude that needed correction.
We see this attitude problem from Cain when he gets jealous because Abel’s offering was accepted. God warned Cain that sin was crouching nearby and the attitude needed to be changed, but Cain did not wish to move toward God and seek the remedy. Instead he invited his brother to an outing and then killed Abel. Matthew said that Abel was the first to die for the truth (23:35).
We all have a choice—to be more like Abel or more like Cain when it comes to pleasing God. We don’t know much about these brothers, but we do know a few things. Abel gave the best. Abel did what was pleasing to God. Cain did not present a suitable offering. Cain did not seek out God when told he needed to change his focus. Abel gave all; Cain gave some. Where do you fit? Are you giving the best? Are you trying to live a life pleasing to God? Or are you getting irritated and wanting to do things your own way?
“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must rule over it.’” – Genesis 4:6-7 [NIV]
“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 [NLT]
When I walked into the grocery store, I was unable to move. There was a lady who walked into the entrance and she found a regular sized shopping cart at the doorway. She didn’t want to use the cart; she wanted the smaller shopping cart. She took the large cart said, “This isn’t mine” and pushed it in front of all of us entering from the opposite entrance rather than simply moving it to the side. It was as if to say, “You deal with it” or “it’s not my responsibility.” Remember, the cart wasn’t hers.
We all do this at times. We walk by and see someone who needs help, but we do not see it as our responsibility. A co-worker drops the report on the floor but it’s not our responsibility to help her get it all picked up—she dropped it we remind ourselves. An elderly man in the parking lot is having problems but we keep going. We see trash on the street but we did not put it there so why should we gather it up and put it in the bin?
Sadly this lack of responsibility has spread around and has become the attitude of many. Today remember that Jesus came here to save us from our own mess. He did not say that it was not His responsibility. He did not pass by those in need. He did not push aside what was right before His eyes because it was not His own making. He reached out. He helped. He paid attention. He didn’t say, “This isn’t mine.” He “personally carried our sins.” We each got personal attention.
“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” – Colossians 3:23 [HCSB]
As I was doing my grocery shopping, I walked pass a young man stocking shelves. One of his co-workers passed by and asked, “You’re still doing that?” The response of the young man was one I’ve heard time and time again—“I’m here for eight hours either way.”
Yes, he will be there for eight hours. He will get paid the same no matter how much effort he puts forth with stocking the shelves. But this thought that it does not matter—that I do not need put forth a good effort—is something very negative and it greatly impacts our society.
We are told to do everything as if it was for the Lord. Today look at the effort you put forth, the attitude you have at your workplace, in your home, at church, in your relationship with God, etc. Do you give God your best effort or are you going through the motions till the time is up? Does it really matter? How would an onlooker see you stocking shelves—with joy serving the Lord or just passing time?
The story of the woman by the well always has been one of my favourites for so many reasons. After studying John 4 more closely, I read up on verse 29 and it got me thinking. Verse 29 says, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done, this is not the Christ, is it?” The woman asked this question when she returned to her people to tell them about her encounter with Jesus. What is important to note about this question, is the lady asked the question expecting a negative response.
I started to think about how we interact with Jesus in prayer. When we come to Jesus, do we ask expecting a negative response? Or do we believe He can do the impossible? When we are going through our day, do we believe God will provide us with the necessary provisions to do His will, or do we think that we will have to find another way? Our attitude has a lot to do with our actions and reactions in life. Our attitude also is a demonstration of our faith and of our relationship with Christ.
Now the woman by the well grew in faith. She went from not having any faith to having some faith. Then she ran to the others and she shared what had happened. Then they believed. What a journey! And this is the same journey that each one of us is on in life. We come to know Jesus and then we embark on a journey of faith. Little by little, we become stronger in our faith. At the same time, we begin to share this faith with other people. After the people of Samaria heard Jesus, they said, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (v. 42).
Maybe you are having a bad season in life or simply a bad day or week. Perhaps you are at a place where you are thinking negatively. Don’t be hard on yourself by limiting God. Don’t get discouraged and allow Satan to cause you to think that God has forgotten you or doesn’t care about you . Allow God to show you who He is and the faithfulness He has to His children. You never have to go thirsty.
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” – John 7:37b-28 [NASB]