Philippians 2:5 – Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
I have been around children my entire life. My mother ran a childcare facility out of our home, so I affectionately say I grew up with about 20 brothers and sisters. I also started coaching wrestling and teaching swim lessons while I was still in high school. I taught or administrated at schools until I became a pastor, and we have a Christian school in our church. Fortunately, I love children. I love their unique perspectives on life and their brutally honest opinions. I love the whimsy of their dreams and their passion for life.
Children learn fast, except when it comes to self-control and their attitudes. Learning to control their attitudes takes years of practice. Let’s be honest, there are plenty of adults who still need to learn to control their attitudes. Griping and complaining come all too naturally to many of us, and we blame our attitudes on the silliest things. Somebody has rotten attitude, and we say he must have rolled out the wrong side of the bed. We blame the bed for his bad attitude!
I had a good friend in high school who always seemed to have a good attitude. Regardless of the situation, this friend chose to respond with some measure of grace and hope. I asked one day, “How is it that you always seem to have a good attitude?” She said, “A bad attitude only makes a bad day worse. So, I might as well choose to smile.”
The point is we are capable of choosing our attitude. Paul wrote to have this attitude, indicating it was within their power to choose it. Life will provide plenty of opportunity for you to practice self-control over your attitude. Perhaps today is one of those days. Do you have somebody in your life who is difficult for you to love? Choose an attitude of prayer and actively ask God to bless him or her. Is there a troubling situation which is out of your control? Choose an attitude of faith and trust God is still lovingly in control. Let us expect the same from ourselves that we demand from our children, and let us control our attitudes toward one another.
We will continue this passage next week and consider the specific attitude Paul expected from the Philippians. But for now, let us simply rejoice in the freedom we have to choose our attitudes.
Romans 15:7 – Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.