“The Right Attitude”
The events of life move quickly. And it is said that your attitude determines your ability, your talent, your skill. In fact your attitude towards life drives your philosophical construct of life.
If you have a philosophical attitude, then que sera sera, what will be will be. Let’s eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.
If you believe that your life is in the hands of fate, of fortune, of chance then you are prone to be reactive in life with the feeling that you have no control.
If you believe that your life is predestinated, then you will believe that your final destiny has been settled in advance by the absolute will of God.
Finally, one may believe that they have a moral freedom or free will, if one acts in obedience with that moral belief then they will receive the reward of a moral ending.
One’s attitude in life influences the types of relationships one develops in life. The question then is how attitudes are developed. They are developed by one’s social and culture context.
In our Christian Discipleship Formation Program meeting, we discussed the factors that forms the youth to overcome their cultural and social conditions. We suggested that family networks, community based schools, and faith based institutions are the supports that assists in the development of attitudes that aids youth in the ability to overcome life’s circumstances and situations.
Likewise, these same factors are necessary for us as individuals to have positive or negative attitudes reinforced or supported.
A story is told of a man who just moved to a city and was looking for a church to attend. He walked up to a person on the street and said, “I’m new in town. How are the people in that church?” The person responded by asking him, “how where the people in the church he was from?” The man said, “they were mean spirited, cold, and falsehearted.” The persons said, “you will also find the same kind of people in that church.” And the man walked away.
Later, another person walked up to the same person and asked him a similar question, he also being new to town and was looking for a church to attend. The person asked how where the people in the church you were from. The man responded that they where kind, inviting, and helpful. In the very same church that he had described to the other man he stated that you will find that same people there in that church: kind, inviting and helpful.
How is it that the people in the same church were described so differently? It was because people react to the attitudes one has. If you are cold, then people will respond with a chill. If you are mean spirited, then people will react in a mean spirited way.
What you give is what you get.
Jesus understood these dynamics and after receiving and proclaiming his mission in ministry was to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted; recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
From that attitude he went out to call disciples to come and follow him. With a mandate so clear and a philosophy of life that had a deep moral ethic that was so precise; can you imagine the state or attitude his disciples brought to the table?
No different than what we would bring. Let’s look at two disciples.
Simon Peter was so confused with his emotions: he was brave and cowardly, wise and foolish, accepting and rejecting, a man of doubt and a man of faith. He was impossible. He was just like us.
On the other hand you have Andrew the first disciple called by Jesus. He was an evangelist always out spreading the good news and bringing people to Jesus. Yet on many important occasions, Andrew is left out: healing of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration, and the Garden of Gethsemane.
For one to be first and faithful, do you think he felt to be left out of these important events. His brother was there, Simon Peter, but no Andrew.
What is one’s attitude when they feel they have been left out? I believe one would feel just like we do – a sense of rejection or disappointment.
Each disciple brought there own set of attitudes, philosophies, and emotions to the feet of Jesus. All different and they all missed the point of his mission and mandate.
Therefore, after preaching his first sermon, calling the first disciples, affirming his power by healing and teaching; he takes his disciples to their first workshop and field works.
The purpose of this first workshop and field works was to expose to them the right attitude as a follower of Jesus Christ.
He didn’t take the multitude of people; he took his disciples those who had decided to follow Jesus.
1. Blessed are those with the attitude of being poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. If one is willing to follow Jesus along thepath of humility to suffering in order to serve the despised; then those persons would receive the promised joy at the resurrection. One of the great sins is a sense of false pride – arrogance. Where one thinks that they are greater than other, even to the point that they think they are greater than God. The attitude Jesus wanted was those who would be lower such that God would cause them to flourish.
2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Mourning in this sense is righteous offense – sorrow. It is the discomfort one feels when you see situations of injustice and your spirit becomes so drawn into the matter because it causes you to mourn. As a result you will find comfort not by withdrawing, but by getting involved in the life of people. You find comfort in sharing others burdens. You are compelled by compassion to become a wounded healer.
3. The central attitude, the right attitude that one should have is to hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is one of the main attitudes missing from the life of us now a day: A hunger and thirst for righteousness. One cannot function when they are hungry and thirsty. One needs to be sustained to live. Without bread and water one surely dies.
Also if you really want to be Christ-like, you must seek the bread of heaven so that it may feed you until you want no more.
We Methodist people are fond of eating; that’s why I don’t see hunger and thirsting. When an event or a meeting or a fellowship or even after worship services we often bring varieties of sumptuous food. I often wonder where is the hunger, where is the thirst in us.
When will we become righteous in God’s sight versus self-righteous in our own sight?
This is the central attitude: are you willing to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Are you willing to spend the time studying God’s word such that it becomes a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path?
Are you willing to spend time in the tabernacle such that people will wonder and only to find out that you’re teaching and preaching are only to the elders of the church? How about the youth? The children?
Are you willing to spend time ministering to the needs of others so that they become empowered by the witness you bring and surrender their spirit to God with the finality that says what must I do to be saved? Are you willing to hunger and thirst for righteousness?
This attitude, this right attitude is a prerequisite for preserving our sacred space. Because Jesus says if you are willing to hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be filled.
If you find yourself with emptiness, you will be filled. If you find yourself with lack of resources for the journey of life, you will be filled. If you find yourself, lonely and without wholeness, you will be filled!
The filling comes from the seeking in the deep spaces of your soul and spirit. It is causing yourself to be squeezing dry, emptied out and to allow God to pour out his spirit and fill you up until your cup runs over.
Have you ever experienced a filled up spirit? Have you ever felt the shekinah Glory of God? Have you ever heard the cherubims and seraphims sing holy, holy holy? Have you ever witness angels hovering over you, watching and keeping you? Have you ever felt like shouting in your spirit, if it had not been for the Lord on my side? If you have felt any of that you have know what it means to be filled!
We learn three things today about right attitude.
1. It is beneficial – it comes from God
2. It is essential – it explains the real meaning of God
3. It is important – it comes from following God