Lesson III: How to Develop a Good Attitude
Read Romans 13: 11-14; Ephesians 4: 22-24; Philippians 2:1-6
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Philippians 2:5-6
Are you just a "receiver?" If you are "receiver" who is only interested about getting what you want out of life, what do you think you will end up getting? Consider that if our mindset is that life is all about "me," we are heading toward the opposite pole of the call and example of our Lord. This is what is referred to as the "me first" oriented personality, which while it may be popular culturally, this way of thinking will cause us to lose much more than we can gain. This loss will result because we will not experience and develop the effective and effectual Christian life. We will miss out on what truly matters and what we can take with us into eternity. Being "me-centered" means we cannot be "Christ-centered;" thus, all of those circumstances and relationships we will experience in life will be squeezed through our skewed self-perceptions and misguided desires. If this was your life, just think about how it would be. The results would be disappointment and discontentment, as we cannot be receivers only. We would only have at our hand, bitterness and resentment.
A "me-first" centered personality will cause us to lose greatly, as all things that flow from our lives are the opposites of what we could have had¾fulfillment, fullness, contentment, and purpose. But, is being a receiver, being "me first," what we want out of life? Wouldn't we rather be Christ-centered, having the oils of sweetness to pour out instead? Which do you want? What is the mark you want to leave in your wake of life? What pours out from you? Are love and care modeled to those around you, or do bitterness and hostility flow from you? Your attitude will determine the health and prosperity of your relationships. Your attitude will be squeezed and formed from how you handle your circumstances and put godly character into practice. If your attitude is only the result of your circumstances, it will become chaotic and cause strife.
The way others¾especially your closest friends and spouse¾will see you is from how Christ is exhibited in you. This will be from your focus and attitude, and not your circumstances. Your direction in life, your joy and happiness, your cares and concerns, and your willingness to reach beyond yourself will grow from your maturity that forms your attitude, all stemming from who you are in Christ! This will fuel the positive outlook and growth of your relationships, all a result of your growing connection with Christ as Lord over all.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Once we realize the error of the "me first" mentality, it will die, and the Christ-centered life will be birthed to take its place. Then, when our circumstances change, and life gets bumpy, we can count it as joy because Christ is still working in us. This is the way we are made, the reason we endure suffering, the way a fallen, sinful, and unjust world is turned from the glory of Satan into the glory of our Lord. We allow Christ to reach out to us and conform us to His image and character, regardless of what we are going through, regardless of our circumstances. This will be the glue that bonds good relationships and a good marriage together and will keeps us on the course of Christian maturity that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ!
Remember that being "me-first" or "Christ-first" will greatly shape and affect our attitude. Our attitude is the impact that will strike at the issues of life; it affects all that we do, and determines how others see us both as individuals and also as a church. Our attitude can separate us from hurt and pain as we see the work of the Holy Spirit, recognizing the absorption of grace and the acceptance of Christ. We cannot trust in education, wealth, success, failures, people, appearances, skill, giftedness, or circumstances. Our trust must be laid at the foot of the cross and nowhere else. Our attitude must be Christ-driven and not appearance-or-anything-else-driven. We must embrace the day with joy, knowing Christ is at work, both in us and in those around us. How will we be able to weather the storms of life and the arguments and stresses of life unless we count it all as joy and keep our attitude in line with Christ's? It all comes down to what we talked about last week¾putting off the "old self" and putting on Christ!
Lets look at some more "Put Ons" and "Put Offs;" this time, it is more personal:
42. Neglect of Bible study 2 Timothy 3:14-17
43. Easily irritated 1 Corinthians 13:5
44. Critical spirit Galatians 5:15
45. Laziness Proverbs 20:4
46. Tardiness/ being slothful Proverbs 18:9
47. Idolatry Deuteronomy 11:16
48. Unfaithfulness Proverbs 25:19
49. Revenge Proverbs 24:29
50. Prayerlessness Luke 18:1
51. No burden for the lost Matthew 9:36-38
52. Burying talents and abilities Luke 12:48
53. Irresponsibility Luke 16:12
54. Procrastination Proverbs 10:5
55. Disrespect of Church Ecclesiastes 5:1
56. Inhospitable 1 Peter 4:9
57. Cheating 2 Corinthians 4:2
58. Personal Bodily harm 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
59. Greed / Love of money 1 Timothy 6:9-10
60. Following the crowd Proverbs 1:10
61. Witchcraft/ Astrology Deuteronomy 18:10,11
62. Gambling Proverbs 28:20-22
63. Preferential treatment James 2:1-9
64. Alcoholism Proverbs 20:1
65. Pornography Psalm 101:3
66. Lust 1 Peter 2:11
67. Perverted sexual relations Leviticus 18:6
68. Fornication1 Corinthians 6:18
69. Adultery Matthew 5:27-28
70. Homosexuality Leviticus 18:22
71. Presumption on the future Proverbs 27:1
72. shameless dress Proverbs 7:10
73. Flirtation Proverbs 7:21
74. Worldly entertainment Proverbs 21:17
75. Worldly music Ephesians 4:29-30
76. Stealing Proverbs 29:24
77. Lack of moderation Proverbs 11:1
78. Gluttony Proverbs 23:21
79. Wrong friends Psalm 1:1
80. Worldly values Matthew 6:19-21
81. Stinginess 1 John 3:17
82. Moral impurity 1 Thessalonians 4:7
Bible study/ Contemplation Psalm 1:2
Return good for evil Rom 12:19-20
Not easily provoked Proverbs 19:11
Diligence Proverbs 6:6-11
Wholeheartedness Colossians 3:23
Worship God only Colossians 1:17-18
Faithfulness Luke 16:10-12
Give back good Romans 12:19-20
Praying Matthew 26:41
Witnessing / Compassion Act 1:8
Developing abilities 1 Corinthians 4:2
Responsibility Luke 16:10
Attentiveness Proverbs 27:1
Reverence Psalm 89:7
Hospitable Romans 12:13
Honesty 2 Corinthians 8:21
Glorify God with our body 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Seek God Matthew 6:33
Fear God Proverbs 3:7
Worship of God only Deuteronomy 6:5
Good stewardship Luke 16:11
Love our neighbor Luke 6:31
Abstinence Proverbs 23:30
Pure thoughts Philippians 4:8
Pure desires Titus 2:12
Moral purity 1 Corinthians 7:2-5
Abstinence 1 Thessalonians 4:3
Marital fidelity Proverbs 5:14-19
Moral purity 1 Thessalonians 4:4,5
Trust God's will James 4:14-16
Modesty 1 Timothy 2:9
Gentle spirit 1 Peter 3:4
Spiritual pursuits Galatians 5:16
Edifying music Ephesians 5:19
Working/Giving Ephesians 4:28
Temperance 1 Corinthians 9:25
Discipline 1 Corinthians 9:27
Godly friends Proverbs 13:20
Eternal values 2 Corinthians 4:18
Generosity Proverbs 11:24-25
Moral purity 1 Thessalonians 4:4
("Put On" and "Put Off" list inspired from a Young Life Training Book from the 1970s)
It is our prayer that these "put on" and "put off" lists are convicting to you, as we all far short (and certainty I include myself). We must strive to pursue excellence in our character that influences our attitude and all we do in life¾from serving God to building healthy relationships. Because, one of the main factors in building Christian maturity that must come into play is removing what is wrong and replacing it with what is right¾taking off sin and putting on Christ. For us to live the Christian life with distinction (that is, to practice a life of obedience and love) is imperative, as we cannot do it without the sacrifice of getting rid of what inhibits our growth in Christ. This means we are to put on Christ and take off ourselves. Thus, we must be willing and, by His enabling, remove our selfish will and pride, and mimic His character to the best of our abilities. And, for this to happen we need to wake up! Clean yourselves up! We are to put aside our wrong thinking, wrong actions, and fallen character, then clothe ourselves in Christ's character. We must put away all the works of darkness, and seek, in all things, to be conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord as well as our Savior.
· So do we get what the Christian life is about?
· If so, what are we doing about it?
· Following these precepts will keep the church healthy from the disease of strife, gossip, arrogance, apathy, envy and conflict!
1. Do you have a favorite song or saying that helps motivate you to have a good attitude? What do you need to be motivated toward a good attitude?
2. How is Christ being exhibited in you?
3. Do you believe that if we are only "receivers" (that is, only interested about getting what we want out of life), we will end up getting nothing of significance out of life?
4. How does your attitude determine the health and prosperity of your relationships?
5. What does a "me first" oriented personality look like to you? Have you struggled with this? How so? What have you done about it? How have these "put offs" brought you disappointment and discontentment? How have the "put ons" brought you success, healthy relationships, and an effectual church?
6. How do these "put ons" exhibit the effective and effectual Christian life? How do these "put offs" skew your self-perception and give you misguided desires?
7. Which do you want out of life? Now just think about what your life would be like if you had more "put ons" and less "put offs"? How does your negative attitude affect your circumstances and contentment? How have those "put offs" caused your relationships and church to be chaotic and strife-filled?
8. How has your attitude been shaped from how you have handled your circumstances? How could these "put ons" have helped put on more godly character during those circumstances when we had the "put offs" going on instead?
9. As a group, go through each of these "put ons" and "put offs" slowly, line by line, one at a time (this may take several sessions), and ask:
a. What do I need to put off?
b. What do I need to put on?
c. How do I do that?
d. How do I fail in this area?
e. How can I do this better?
10. As an individual, do the same thing, but this time do so in prayer, and do one a day for the next 41 days. Now, seek what you can do to put into practice the Christ-centered life?
11. How can your attitude be better in the issues of life so that it affects all that you do, and determines how others see you as a committed follower of our Lord? How can your church help you with this?
© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org