Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chapter 5: Having The Right Attitude

       "You better check yourself before you wreck yourself", is a saying that was popular in the late 90's early 2000's. Now if you are old enough to know this saying you know that it was normally brought up when someone might be acting, saying, or doing something that might end bad for them. I heard that saying so much that I got sick of it, but for this subject I think it fits perfectly. Having the right attitude is something that is very important in the church and not talked about enough. The attitude of anyone can be one of the biggest thing that can make God look bad.
       We have all met someone who's attitude just turns us off. That person may be smart but no matter what they say you tune them out. They may have great answers for life but because of their attitude you just do not want to listen to them. We as the body of Christ must never be one of those people. We have the very answer to life, Christ Jesus, but if we have the wrong attitude people will not even care to hear us. I have heard it said, "people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care". We must never think because we have this answer we can have bad attitudes toward anyone.
       Our attitude is something that can hold us back from many things that God has for us and it also can put people at arms length of us when we try to share the Gospel. Like I said in the last chapter, everything is a choice for us to make and one of the biggest choices is our attitude. I truly believe that a bad attitude can lead us into sin. So what kind of attitude should we have as followers of Christ then? Well I am glad you asked. Let us look at this from two sides. First the bad attitude and second the good attitude. I think it is good to look at both so we can know what having the right attitude looks like.

       Everyone can recognize a bad attitude when they see it. A bad attitude is as obvious to everyone as a open head wound on someone. So what does the Bible say about having a bad attitude? In Philippians 2:14 it says, "Do everything without complaining and arguing." WOW! That is a big deal. Even though that is really plain I want to break it down a bit. So the word everything in Greek is pas which means exactly what is said EVERYTHING. The word complaining is goggysmos in Greek which simply means: a secret debate or a secret displeasure not openly avowed. Finally the word arguing in Greek is dialogismos which means: the thinking of a man, deliberating with himself or a thought, inward reasoning. Basically a bad attitude is when we do things with a secret displeasure or when we have inward reasoning with why we dislike doing what ever it is we are doing. With that test I would be willing to say that all of us have had a really bad attitude with doing the will of God at some time or another. I do know that God at times asks us to do things we may not like or agree with but when we submit to His will we must not carry our attitude along with it, we need to also submit our attitude along with our actions. I want to finish the bad attitude part up with the thoughts from an earlier chapter by saying that we can not always have the right attitude by ourselves we must put our lives in the hands of God. He is the only way to overcome all of our short comings.
       Well now that we know what the bad attitude is, what does having a good attitude look like? Again let us look into the Bible for this answer. Colossians 3:15 says, "And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful." Then in Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." What does all of that have to do with a good attitude? Everything! We know from an earlier chapter that we are meant to carry the name peace along with us but how can we without a good attitude. See, Paul tells us not only to let peace be in us but also ALWAYS be thankful. Paul then goes on and says that no matter what you say or do you represent Jesus so do it with a good attitude. These words from Paul are really strong because they come from a man who when scourged left praising God, so he must know what it means to always be thankful.
       Now that we have these definitions of good and bad how do we line our life up to the word? Step one: stop taking stuff so personal! Look, bad things happen to everyone but if we look at bad things happening through the lens of Romans 5 we see that those bad things can make us better if we allow them to. Step two: stop being the victim. Look, not everything that happened to you was done on purpose and even if it was, overcome it. If anyone, other than Jesus, had a right to play the sad victim card it was Paul but I have seen nowhere that he did. Paul, instead, took everything and allowed it to bring him closer to God. Finally step three: realize that God is still in control. This one is easier said than done, I know, but nothing happens that catches God off guard. If something happened in your life it did not catch God by surprise so he must know that you can get through it.
       God gave me an analogy one time for this exact idea. If someone where to pour water on you what would happen? Well, we all know it would roll off but what if someone poured acid on you? Well it would eat right through you. With that, everything that happens in your life is either water or acid. We can either let it roll off our back or eat right through us. We must realize that everything is water until we allow it to become acid.
       Now, there is something that is worse than having a bad attitude and that is apathy. In the next chapter one of my brothers in Christ will be talking about how having no attitude at all is destroying the body of Christ today. Simply put, I would rather deal with someone who has a bad attitude than someone who is apathetic. Why you may ask? Well, because someone with a bad attitude shows me the potential of passion but someone with apathy shows me, well, apathy. I will leave the rest of that idea to my brother Dwayne Dunning.
       I want to finish this out with saying that we must not allow our attitude to destroy the ability to minister to the world. When we have a bad attitude we can become useless to God in many ways. We need to always check inside ourselves if we are doing anything that we are asked to do by God with displeasure in our hearts. We must always have the right attitude when doing the work of our Father. Like always let me ask you some questions. Do you let your attitude come in the way of sharing the Gospel? In what way has your attitude pushed people away from God? Can you trust God enough to always be thankful no matter what is going on? 

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