“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:5, NLT).
Into his third Sunday on the message “Leap into 2016”, our pastor yesterday looked at what the “A” in “Leap” represents. We had already been encouraged to “live uncertain” and walk by faith. We had been encouraged to “evangelize” and share our faith. He hit the nail on the head with the message that “A” is all about “attitude” and thinking right. Our attitude determines our life's message. As John Maxwell so aptly states, “your attitude determines your altitude.”
In Philippians 2:1-11, we learn about the “selfless” attitude of Jesus Christ. Though he had every right to “think highly” of himself–though He could have placed His own life above our need, Jesus humbled himself and following the will of His Father, gave His life for you and me. He chose to humble himself and follow His Father's plan. He thought less of himself and more of us. Our need was greater than His. He chose us. In verse 5 we are reminded that we are, also, to have this same attitude. When we accept Him as Savior, we choose Him. In choosing Him as Savior we should also choose to have the same kind of selfless attitude–one that places another person's need before our own. When we choose His selfless attitude, we reveal that we are secure in our identity in Him–just as He was secure in who He was in His Father's purpose. When we choose His attitude we become submissive as He was self-sacrificing without the need for personal acclaim. When we choose His attitude we give up any “right” to our own agenda and need to be recognized. We become less so He can become more. In dying to self we learn to live for others unburdened by our own needs. We are alive in His will for our lives.
Your attitude is a choice. You choose how you think. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” the proverb reveals (Proverbs 27:3, NASB). How you think determines how you feel. You can have a positive attitude that gives you an optimistic look on life or you can have a negative attitude that continually keeps you buried under a pile of emotional rubble. When something positive happens to a negative person, they find what is negative in it. When something negative happens to a positive person, they find something positive in it. If you want to live a joyful and abundant life―one that spills over with spontaneous faith–one that sees the possibilities instead of the problems, you must work to have a positive attitude.
A bad attitude will not only destroy your witness, but the work you have done for God. It can be so deeply ingrained that it is hard to let it go. It can be generational and passed down through your family. It can come from your experience or your environment. But for whatever reason you have a bad attitude, that attitude can change when you choose again and again for it to change. If you are a new person in Christ, then you are new. The old has passed away. You choose a good attitude, and God empowers your choice. He breaks the negative which has been ingrained. He breaks generational darkness which has claimed your mind. He breaks the influence of experience and environment. You choose, and God transforms your mind and your attitude.
Choose to handle life's problems and circumstances with a positive attitude. Determine to think positively and react differently to what happens in life. Live in a mature way that exhibits the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The only way that you can have the fruit of the Spirit alive in your life is to allow your selfishness to be crucified with Christ. When you make this selfless journey–when you accept responsibility for your life–when you realize that without Him you cannot realize the heart change that brings attitude change, then you have chosen to seek the attitude of Christ. “Attitude is never content until it is expressed,” our pastor concluded. So live a positive attitude. Be empowered by the Holy Spirit to act upon what you have determined will be true about your life. He will not disappoint you.