Having the right attitude in 2018

December 31, 2017

Summary

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The title of my message today is “Having the right attitude in 2018”.

The attitude we have as Christians is very important. Having our minds in the right place is vital if we are to be all we need to be for Christ and His Kingdom.

The Bible has a lot to say about our minds and attitudes.

Romans 14:17-18 – For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.

Philippians 2:5 – You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

Matthew 22:37 – Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’

Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

2 Timothy 4:5 – But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

In this message I want to use the letters of the word A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E. to give us some things to think about so we can keep on track with our attitudes. It is not meant to be a deeply theological exegesis of Scripture as we have had a lot of teaching this year. It is just some thoughts to help us stay on track.

A.T.T.I.T.U.D.E.

A – ASK God to examine your heart

In Psalm 26:1-3 he said this. “Declare me innocent, O LORD, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.  2 Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.  3 For I am always aware of Your unfailing love, and I have lived according to Your truth.”

King David famously asked God to examine his heart because he wanted to be right with God. I like the way the different translations say the same thing.

(KJV) – Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

(CEV) – Test my thoughts and find out what I am like.

(ESV) – Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.

(NIV) – Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

David felt confident that he was right with God and had acted with integrity, but he wanted God to examine him. God examines from a vantage point that is a different place to ours. He knows all, He sees all, He understands all. So, it is good to ask Him to examine our hearts. To keep our attitude right, it is a good place to start by asking God to examine our hearts.

T- TELL God the truth about where you are at

Psalms 51:1-7 – A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.  2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.  3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.  4 Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your judgment against me is just.  5 For I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.  6 But You desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there.  7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

God knows our hearts. He knows where we are at. But it is important to tell Him honestly and openly. Like someone who struggles with addiction needs to admit they have a problem, so do we with attitude. David regularly confessed his sins to God. It is no surprise that he was described as a man after God’s own heart. So, tell God honestly where you at.

T-TELL someone else

James 5:16 – Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

James 5:16 has a very powerful truth – talk to someone else the things you struggle with. This is not confession like to a Priest, but to someone you know well and trust. When I have been struggling with things over the years I have had people I can share honestly with when I need help. It might be an issue I am dealing with, an area of temptation or when my attitude slips. I just simply talk about it and ask them to pray for me. Then when I see them they check in and see how I am going.

I – INVITE the Holy Spirit to take control of your mind

Romans 8:5-6 – Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Another great principle here. It shows two ways to think – the way of the sinful nature and the way of the Spirit. Those who let the Spirit control their minds have life and peace. I know personally when I am walking in tune with the Spirit, my attitude is better. I am more focused on God, His kingdom and the people around me. When I my attitude is off I am not producing the fruit of the Spirit that Galatians 5:22-25 talks about. “22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.  25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

T-TRAIN yourself in the things of God

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So, run to win!  25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Training ourselves and being disciplined in our faith is very important part of keeping a good attitude. As my daughter said back to me this week. “I don’t like motivation, I like discipline. Motivation fades, but discipline keeps me going”.

1 Timothy 4:7b-8 – …train yourself to be godly.  8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” As Christians we know that reading our Bible, praying and having regular fellowship keeps us strong in our faith. These things also help us keep a good attitude. So, train yourself in the things of God – it has long term benefits!

U – UNDERSTAND you are in a work in progress

Romans 8:29-30 – For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  30 And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory.

God has chosen us to be like His Son in the way we live and the way we think. However, we need to remember we are a work in progress. Becoming like Christ is not an event, it is a process. As a result, we need to go easy on ourselves. We need to remember Philippians 1:6 which says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” We do our part, and God does His.

D – DETERMINE to stay the course

Romans 5:2-4 – Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

As believers we need to determine to stay the course. We need to stand firm. The term “stand firm” is mentioned 47 times in the Bible. It is found in both the Old and New Testaments. It says to stand firm in the truth, stand firm in His teachings, stand firm in His ways, stand firm in the Spirit, stand firm without fear, stand firm in the Lord’s deliverance, and stand firm because the Lord is coming.

Standing firm in God requires us to take our minds off the things of this world and focus on His Kingdom, His power and His purposes in this world. When we do this our eyes look to a higher plain of living and our attitude rises like a boat when the tide comes in. So for a good attitude, determine to stand firm and stay the course.

E – ENJOY the journey

Ecclesiastes 8:15 – So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

Having a good attitude and enjoying the journey go hand in hand. We have all heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It means that if a person does not take time off from work, they will become both bored and boring. It is so vital for us as Christians to take time out and enjoy life. We need to have downtime and re-create. Even God took time out and rested.

Story

Before I finish, I want to read a short story that help us to illustrate how important attitude is.

The famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren was supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London. A journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he chose three and asked them this question, “What are you doing?” The first replied, “I’m cutting stone for 10 shillings a day.” The next answered, “I’m putting in 10 hours a day on this job.” But the third said, “I’m helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.” (Source Unknown)

When I serve God, I want my attitude to be like the last worker. I don’t want to have the attitude that says I am slaving away in 10-hour days for 10 shillings. I want to see God’s vision for this world. I want to say that I am helping Jesus build His church. I want to say that I have the privilege of being used by God in some small way to build His Kingdom. I want my attitude to be on a higher plain – God’s plain. I want it to be there and I want it to stay there. To do this I want to do these things we have looked at today.

Closing

So today we have looked at the letters of attitude to help us keep on track with our thinking and attitudes this Christmas.

A – ASK God to examine your heart.

T – TELL God the truth about where you are at.

T – TALK to someone else about your struggles.

I – INVITE the Holy Spirit to control your mind.

T – TRAIN yourself in the things of God.

U – UNDERSTAND you are a work in progress.

D – DETERMINE to stay the course.

E – ENJOY the journey.

Amen.