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Sunday, January 31, 2016 am                            Others 2016 Index

 

OTHERS 2016 (5)

DEVELOPING A GODLY ATTITUDE TOWARD OTHERS

 

This month we have been emphasizing the proper attitude toward others.  We have noted some negative attitudes and some godly attitudes.  We all know that we need a proper attitude in our lives.  In the invitation this past Wednesday there was some self-examination as to whether we love others the way we ought to.  It was thought provoking.    As we study and learn what our attitude needs to be, what do we do when it is NOT that?  In our lesson today we want to present some steps that we can take to help us develop godly attitudes.

                The fruit of the Spirit – Gal. 5:22-23.  In dealing with positive attitudes, we have referenced this text a number of times.  We have also noted 1 Corinthians 13 (describing Christian love).  In both of these passages I want to emphasize that ALL the qualities and attitudes are there when we possess the fruit of the Spirit and godly love.   My point is that our attitudes typically work together and build upon each other.   So when we examine our lives (2 Cor. 13:5) we can get an overall picture of where we are at.   If we are lacking in one or two attitudes, perhaps love and the Spirit are not perfected in us.  I we are filled with ungodly attitudes, perhaps the works of the flesh have too much influence in our lives.

                So what can we do about it?

 i.                     Determine you are going to have a good attitude –

a.        It really is a mindset - Romans 12:1-2 – renewing your mind
2 Cor. 10:4-5 – our “weapons” are spiritual and bring our thoughts into captivity.

b.       Work at it – the idea of renewing the mind means that you CAN change your way of thinking.  But it takes work and patience as you change.  Typically, real change doesn’t happen overnight (even though the initial, genuine decision to change does). 
Work at it – diligence – 2 Timothy 2:15 – be diligent to present yourself approved to God.
2 Peter 1:10 speaks of being more diligent to make your call and election sure.
Diligence in these is addressing doing whatever we need to be right with God – it certainly includes our attitudes.

c.        Use optimistic language – don’t simply focus on what you can’t do (not speaking of that which is prohibited, but that which you are incapable of or THINK you are incapable of).  
Consider Philippians as an example – Phil. 4:4 – rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice.
Phil 4:8 – meditate on these (types of) things – let your mind dwell on that which will make you godly. I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13).  

d.       Be thankful – an attitude of gratitude.  When we sing, “count your many blessings” it puts life in perspective.  1 Thess. 5:18 – “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

e.       Expect obstacles – they happen.  When people expect utopia, it often affects their attitude when discover that this life is not perfect.   I am not speaking of a defeated attitude that says, “What’s the use”, but a realization that along the way to where you are going there will be some obstacles.
Jesus described the road that leads to heaven as “strait and narrow.” (KJV)     Other versions say the way is narrow and difficult or hard.  There will be obstacles in our path.  Anticipate them and prepare to deal with them.
Think like Paul - even in the most trying of situations, he remained optimistic and made the best of his circumstances – cf. 2 Cor. 4:7-9 – though hard-pressed, he was not crushed,…
In prison he is hopeful!

f.         Realize the benefits of a proper attitude – you will feel better, you will do more including more of the right things, you will affect OTHERS for good, you can overcome the bad things quicker, etc.

g.        Deal with today – many times, a sour disposition comes from dwelling on the past or the future.  Determine that today you are going to take on today – Matt. 6:33-34 – don’t worry about tomorrow.   Even if you have a difficult day ahead of you, focusing on that alone can help you.  As Jesus said, it is sufficient for now. 

h.       Decide that you are going to SMILE!!!!

 ii.                   Turn to God

a.        When we are struggling with problems, including faulty attitudes, one of the things we need to do is let the tools God has given us work. 

b.       Pray – If you are hurting – pray – James 5:13.  Vs. 16 tells us that the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous accomplishes much.
Cast your cares on Him – 1 Peter 5:7 – bring your burdens to Him.
Philippians 4:6 – be anxious for nothing, let your requests be made known to Him. 
Jesus taught the same thing in Matthew 11:28-30
Ask for wisdom and patience to develop and display a proper attitude.

c.        Learn from His word what you can about the attitudes you are trying to develop. 
His word can build us up – Acts 20:32.  Eph. 1:17-18 speaks of our understanding being enlightened through wisdom and knowledge.
Study what the Bible says about attitudes you are working with.   Seek to apply the teachings therein.

 iii.                  Deal with your bad attitudes

a.        Hebrews 12:1-2 – lay aside the weights
If needed, repent of the sinful attitudes –
Acts 8:22 – he was to repent of his iniquity which included bitterness.  

b.       Are there motives behind your attitude?

                                                   i.      Typically, bad attitudes are the product of a life that is not right.  

                                                  ii.      Are they symptoms of a bigger problem? 
Sometimes sin in our lives fosters the bad attitudes and hinders the good attitudes from developing.  Sin is described as
If so, work to take care of the sin.  Once you overcome it – you attitude will improve.

                                                iii.      Or maybe it’s something not sinful, but still a problem you need to resolve – examples: debt, health issue you can control, etc.   AND problems that are left unresolved CAN become sin.

c.        Do you refuse to forgive yourself?  A big challenge that affects attitudes.  We think we are not worthy of forgiveness.  And perhaps we are not!  But God’s forgiveness doesn’t work that way.  He can forgive anyone who submits to His will (1 Tim. 1:15 – Christ came to forgive sinners, even Paul). 
1 Cor. 15:9-10 – Paul was not worthy he notes, but by the grace of God he was forgiven.
If we have taken care of our sins, even though consequences may remain, we need to TRUST God and His word.  He said He would forgive us and He has.  That means you can move on with your life.
This is not an easy thing to do, but it is crucial to having good attitudes - cf. Eph. 4:31 – let all bitterness…be put away from you…” – does that include your bitterness toward yourself?

d.       Change what you can change and accept what you cannot change.  If you will begin living a godly life, it will help you chase away ungodly attitudes – notice again Genesis 4:6-7 where Cain is told by God, if you do well you will be accepted, but if not, sin lies at the door. 
What you cannot change – learn to live with it.  Pau’s thorn in the flesh in 2 Cor. 12:7-10 – he used his weaknesses to make him a better person. 

e.       Move on – Phil. 3:12-14 – forgetting the past and reaching forward, press toward the goal.
Phil. 2:12 tells us to work out our own salvation.
Start where you are right now.  Don’t make matters any worse than they are right now.   You may have a mess to clean up, but resolve that you will not make matters worse.  RESOLVE!

 iv.                  Who and what do you associate with?

a.        1 Corinthians 5:6 – a little leaven leavens the whole lump.
1 Cor. 15:33 - Evil company corrupts good habits.  Works both ways. 

b.       Godly people – will build you up.  Find those who have a pleasant disposition and befriend them. 

c.        Avoid that which promotes negative attitudes – people are not the only negative we find in this society.  The quickest way to become discouraged is to listen to the news all day long OR to those who tell you how bad things are and how they are only getting worse.
Places filled with sinful activity can also degrade a good attitude especially as you are caught up in the sin.  For example: See 1 Timothy 6:9-10 speaks of those desiring to be rich and the trouble it causes.  Casinos, bars, night clubs – never solve the problems people have.

 v.                   Do good for others –

a.        Be reminded that our lives are about serving others – Jesus came to serve and not to be served.  Matthew 12:28.  As we follow His example, we seek to serve others as well.

b.       Loving your neighbor as yourself also lends toward this attitude – James 2:8 speaks of helping others as the royal law.

c.        In time, as you focus on doing good for others it will help give you a proper and godly attitude. 

 

These are some things we can do to develop proper attitudes and in the process overcome ungodly attitudes.  Typically, they are polar opposites.  The more of one disposition you have, the more the opposite disposition is repelled.  I think of James 3:13-18 which contrasts the wisdom of his world with the wisdom from above.   I think of the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:19-25.    Notice how the there is no law against the fruit of the Sprit (I.e. if you have it, the works of the flesh will not be present.)