Day 4 (Attitude)

30 Days

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  {Philippians 2:3-8}

We struggle to have a Christ-like attitude even with those we love most–family and friends.  Our part in marriage is a good example.  When you get married, you’re supposed to start thinking about somebody else.  You’re supposed to care about your spouse’s needs and be concerned about their concerns.  In the Bible, wives are called to submit to and respect their husbands and husbands are called to sacrifice for their wives and put their wives’ desires first.  But we so easily hijack God’s calling in marriage and say, “Hmm, instead of only me thinking about me all the time, now I have TWO people to think about me.”  For example, how many times does it happen that your spouse mentions a headache or some other ache or pain, and rather than say, “I’m so sorry honey, can I do anything for you”, instead, your first response is to whine about some ache or pain you have.  It’s as if you’re trying to outdo your spouse rather than be compassionate and loving and sacrificing.   

So Paul’s question to you is, “Do you have a Christ-like attitude or do you just have an attitude?

Do you see where Paul says that Christ “emptied” Himself?  That’s significant because that’s the exact opposite of pride; pride is about a person being “full of themselves.”  Paul says it is time to start emptying ourselves.

In several places the Bible very deliberately says: “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.” I tell you, that verse terrifies me.  I mean how many times do you find yourself railing against the complications of life only to find that the root cause of them is you and your own pride?  

I am sure none of you would wake up in the morning and say this: “God, I dare you to fight me. I dare you to oppose me. I dare you to resist me. I dare you to try and stop me or thwart me. Just step in the ring and see if you can handle me.”  How absurd!  We would never talk to God this way.  But did you know that when you wake up with pride in your heart, that’s what you’re saying to God?  He sees and knows what is in our hearts.  And God opposes that… God opposes the proud.

So what do we do?  How do we fix this?

“Ask and it will be answered. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.” 

These are profound words from our Lord. These words are a promise.  But I bet every one of us has typically only ever considered these words in light of our own selfish needs and wants and desires.  Have we ever once used this promise to ask for and seek a Christ-like attitude?  

Our attitude is much like the lens through which we see the world. If one’s attitude is focused on things of Christ, we are more able to see the world through Christ’s eyes. If, however, one’s attitude is tainted by negativity, a victim mentality, resentment, revenge, and anger — things that are not of Christ — it is impossible to see the world through the eyes of God! 

Questions for reflection

  • What recent events or circumstances have most shaped your attitude lately?  Why do you think these events have had such an effect on your attitude?  What changes might you need to make?
  • What would it look like for you to “empty” yourself as Paul says in Philippians 2?  Jesus did this perfectly with His suffering and death for us on the cross.  When we empty ourselves of our sinful desires (confessing our sin and resisting temptation) how do we gain a better perspective of our vocations as fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children, friends, co-workers, etc.? 

Thoughts for Prayer

  • Lord forgive me for my prideful thoughts and actions concerning ___________ (person’s name).   Help me to be better at….
  • Lord, I know that when it comes to  ____________ (name agenda, goal, wish, schedule) I too often put my will before Yours.  I fight to preserve my way.  I don’t want to oppose You, O Lord.  Give me strength and wisdom to reconsider the following…

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