¡°DOUBLE CHECK OUR ATTITUDE¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: Proverbs 17:5, Philippians 2:5-11 June 2, 2013.
It is important in modern days: While knowledge and skill are important in the
demands of science and technology, people today pay more attention to the
importance of attitude, especially attitude to other people. In a society that
emphasizes so much on teamwork, attitude is like cement that bonds people
together to achieve higher goals. According to a recent survey of 100 major
corporations in the
2) It was important in ancient days: The text on Proverbs today stresses the danger of wrong attitude toward others, especially to those who are less accomplished, less educated, less money or less fortune. King Solomon said: ¡°He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster of others will not go unpunished.¡± (Proverbs 17:5) God didn¡¯t create all people the same way in all elements. He endowed different people with different talents and people use them in different ways. But we all are precious to our Father in heaven.
WARNING ON WORLDLY ATTITUDE: (Proverbs 17:5)
1) Attitude on success: ¡°It is God who judges (makes decisions): He brings one down and exalts another.¡± (Psalm 75:7) Success is a noble goal in the Bible. Our God is not a God of failure but of great success. In fact he bestowed great success to many giants of faith particularly in the Old Testament. People like Abraham, Moses, King David and Solomon, Isaiah, Joseph and others are good examples of success both in worldly and spiritually levels. God never despised people of great success, but God despises those who make success their only goal of life and credit their success only to themselves. In fact, God is the only one who controls all elements of success of all people.
2) Attitude on possession: ¡°People who want to get rich fall into temptations and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.¡± (1 Timothy 6:9) While it is difficult to measure needs to wants, possession of material fortune has been the goal of life for most people and the root of many human conflicts. Everyone tries to get more: wealth, power, fame, status and others. People who have more of the above usually enjoy better life than those who have less. The quest to have more has been the primary cause on moral and ethical decline, social and economic conflicts between people and nations. We need to know we bring nothing to this world, and can¡¯t bring anything out of it.¡± (6:7) Greed for more possession is always a harmful attitude.
3) Attitude on pride: ¡°When pride comes, then comes disgrace.¡± (Proverbs 11:2) Throughout history, pride has been the cause of many tragedies, personal, social and national. Satan is the first cause of pride. (Isaiah 14:12-16)People who are prideful of their possession, beauty, talents, background, physical feature, position, power and many others sin against God who is the giver of all these. Pride is a sin against the grace of God and his gifts. Although human efforts are legitimate contributing factors on success, God¡¯s people should attribute their success to God and his grace and not on their own merit. ¡°Do not go beyond what is written then you will not take pride on one man over against another. For who make you different from anyone else? What did you have you do not receive? If you did receive it, why do you boast as you did not?¡± (1 Corinth 4:6-7) We need to remember pride is the prelude of downfall.
4) Attitude on the lesser: ¡°The Spirit of God is on me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight of the blind, to release the oppressed.¡± (Luke 4:18) Class struggle is as old as human history: the have versus the have not. The rise of the Communist movement in the early 1900s and the recent political structure of economic equality reflect friction of classes. Historically, the rich and the powerful rule over, take advantage of and oppress the poor and the powerless. God set himself as the protector of the poor and the vulnerable, the fatherless, the widows and the outcast. Anyone who puts a label of value on a person based on his possession or lack of it violates the law and heart of God.
5) Attitude on misfortune: ¡°He who mock the poor demonstrates contempt on their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster (others) will not go unpunished.¡± (Prov 17:5) Gloating or feeling happy secretly on disasters, failures or misfortune happened to others is vicious and disgraceful. Jesus rebuked those who gloated on the deaths of their fellow countrymen in the fall of a tower in Siloam. (Luke 13:4) Those who suffer losses, died in tragedies both of natural disaster or human acts of crime, fail in their endeavors should not be the subject of ridicule, secret criticism or second guessing, much less a cause of gloating. Compassion, caring and support from us are needed and biblical. Whatever happened to others could happen to anyone of us any time. We need to be thankful to the Lord for his protection and grace that we are not the subjects of tragic events.
LEARNING THE GODLY ATTITUDE: (Philippians 2:5-11)
1) The model of godly attitude: ¡°Have this same attitude in you as that was in Christ Jesus.¡± (2:5)Imitate the attitude and mindset of Christ and let it flow through us. Often times we love to imitate people, the way they dressed, talk, walk and do things. We love to imitate people of great talents, success, famous, rich or powerful. There are many impersonators of Elvis Presley, the then famous rock musician. But Elvis is not the best example of attitude we may learn from. Attitude is the mindset, and mindset molds behavior and personality. If you truly want to learn the best attitude, learn it from Jesus Christ. Don¡¯t settle with anyone else. There is only one perfect person in human history and he is Jesus Christ, the incarnated Son of God. In fact Jesus calls us to learn from him and his attitude. (Matthew 11:29)
2) The nature of godly attitude: ¡°Who existing in the form (the permanent nature) of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for his own advantage.¡± (2:6) Attitude from human nature can only produce human mindset and action; attitude from God will produce mindset and action of God. This is about the transformation of the nature of life before the trans-formation of attitude. As Paul says in 2 Corinth 5:17, ¡°If anyone is (transformed) in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.¡± No new attitude is possible until a person believes in Jesus Christ, receives the power of spiritual transformation in him. If we want to have that godly attitude, we first need to have that godly nature in us.
3) The approach to godly attitude: ¡°Instead, Christ emptied him-self by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of a man.¡± (2:7)The approach God took to demonstrate his attitude is to send his Son to become a man to live among men or even lower than man, a slave. This is the ultimate humility to show us what kind of attitude we should have when we deal with fellow men: down to earth humility, not even equal with people we live and work with. Pride, self-righteousness or assuming has no place in godly attitude we need to have. If we have anything that may make us feel better, higher or holier, we need to ¡°empty¡± all of them before we can approach people, talk to people or witness to people with fruitful results.
4) The price of godly attitude: ¡°And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.¡± (2:8) Death on a cross was the ultimate act of obedience to God and humiliation to Jesus, but that was exactly the price Jesus paid to show us the example of a godly attitude. We form our attitude mostly for our benefit, dignity and self-respect. But Jesus Christ formed his attitude to give up his all so we may be benefited by what he had done. Human attitude is selfish while attitude of Christ was selfless giving.
5) The reward of godly attitude: ¡°Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.¡± (2:9-11) Most of us consider humble attitude, self-giving, humility and sacrifice are loss in life, but in fact if we hold that attitude for God and his course, ¡°Our Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.¡± (Matt 5:4) We surely shouldn¡¯t hold godly attitude for reward, but God can see and he will reward, he always had and He always will.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) Attitude is window of the heart: No one may see what is inside of us, but all can see what out attitude is on people, things, values, approach and values. Attitude may serve as a measure-ment of our life in many ways: relationship, achievement, quality of life and many other aspects. Attitude may build or destroy the potential of life depends on what it is. We often over stress the importance of education, knowledge and skill, but more and more people and society switch to measure people on their attitude. So, it is wise to check and double check on our attitude from time to time to make sure we have the proper attitude on the inside so we demonstrate it well on the outside.
2) Attitude is formed not born: We were born with many important elements of life to grow us up, but attitude is not one of them. We learn and form our attitude from our environment, people around us, value of the society at large and trend of culture we live in. Because of the evil nature in this world, the above can only lead us to selfish, proud, narrow-minded and self-centered attitude that affect the way we relate to people and do things. If you are serious on forming a godly attitude, you come to the right place: Jesus Christ. Study his words, observe godly attitude on godly people, and model that godly attitude in our everyday life. If you are serious in following godly attitude, you will see God reward you all the way of your life.