The Right Kind of Attitude
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Boy do we ever think a lot of ourselves! For most of us the universe revolves around our own little puny existence. That’s right…we are selfish, self-centered, egotistical, snobbish, arrogant, and hypocritical. And that fact that most Christians, young and old, think and act like this certainly brings reproach upon the church of Jesus and the name of Christ. But the truth is we are not any different today than man has been for most of his earthly existence.
God knew that we would be and act like this but not because He made us this way but because of sin. Yes, this kind of attitude is sinful! Did you here that? I don’t get my way and I get mad, pout, and seek revenge (I’ll show them) and I am sinning! I don’t like what someone else has done, or not done, and so I run to others and gossip or talk badly about them and I am sinning! When confronted with my actions I get defensive and angry and either lie about it or try to put the blame upon others and I am sinning.
In Romans 12 Paul writes to tell us how we are suppose to live a acceptable Christian life and how to treat each other:
- Live Our Lives As a Sacrifice to God and Others (v. 1-2). This means I need to die to myself. That’s right… it’s not about me! This isn’t how the world lives but it is what is expected of me as a child of God. I am expected to be different (1 Peter 2:9). I am to live a life that exemplifies Christ and brings glory to God (Matthew 5:14-16).
- We Ain’t All That (v. 3-8). We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. We have a real hard time with this in our society today! In Philippians 2:13 we are instructed, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Caring more about the other person and less about ourselves is the way the Christian is suppose to act.
- Don’t Be a Hypocrite (v. 9-13). The love that we have for God and others should be real. Hypocrisy has done more to keep folks from Christ than almost any other sin. We need to be real! Consider also that Paul ties this all in here with the idea of good versus evil and I begin to realize how much God hates it when we are hypocritical in our love toward each other. That means we should truly love each other and not just pretend to while being selfish. We are to give preference to each other, devoted to true brotherly love, fervent in spirit, serving, rejoicing, persevering, devoted, contributing, and hospitable.
- React Properly (v. 14-21). I tell folks all the time (and myself even more often) “Don’t let the actions of others dictate how you act. Act like a Christian no matter what.” We are to bless those who persecute us, not curse them. We are to rejoice and weep with those who are happy and sad. We are not to be stuck-up or arrogant, but humble. We are not to be self-righteous and we are to strive to live peaceably with everyone. We are never to seek revenge or be nasty to others, especially not our own spiritual family. But we are always to be kind, loving, and gracious. Never allowing ourselves to be overcome by the evil of others but overcoming the evil with good.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34). We all need to follow this godly instruction if we hope to go to heaven. Our children are often guilty of these kinds of behaviors and maybe they have learned them from us. Instead of seeking to justify their behavior maybe we should use these as teachable moments and set an example ourselves of how to properly respond to bad things (real or imagined) that others do to us.
For the faithful Christian none of what may happen to us (good or bad) should cause us to act in an un-Christ-like manner. This past week a dear friend reminded me that “This too shall pass or I will.” And he is right. We make a bigger deal out of small things than need be that in the great scheme of things will not matter. What matters most is living a faithful, obedient, and acceptable life in the sight of God and being with Him in heaven when this life is over. I love you!