“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:5, NLT).
In Philippians 2:1-11 Paul writes from prison about the “selfless” attitude of Jesus Christ. Though Jesus could have thought 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 need. We learn the freedom of laying down our lives as He laid down His.
Your attitude is a choice. You choose how you think. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” the proverb instructs (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. 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 continually choose to have a positive attitude.
A bad attitude will not only destroy your witness but it can destroy the work you have done for God. Itcan be so deeply ingrained that it is hard to let it go. It can be generational and passed down through family—it can come from your experience or your environment. Whatever reason you may have a bad attitude that attitude can change when you choose again and again for it to change. 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 and react positively to what happens. Be empowered by the Holy Spirit to act upon what you have determined will be true about your life. 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. He gives you a crown of beauty for ashes and joy instead of a despairing attitude. When you humbly surrender your life for His purpose, He imparts a double portion of His spiritual blessing. Out of the ashes of death to self, arises a joy that can never be shaken.
(Copyright 2017 Lynn Hampton Lacher)