Attitude; November 7, 2018

Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Several years ago WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) was all the rage, with bracelets and all sorts of things sporting those initials, all based on a book of the same title from about a century ago. That was all well and good, but like all fads it faded, and you hardly hear of it any more. The real issue is actually more basic even than that, as is expressed here. Everything Jesus did was an outgrowth of who He was, and as this verse says, His attitude. We tend to focus on actions, on external things, but as God told Samuel, He looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) That’s not at all to say that our actions are unimportant, but rather that they are symptom rather than cause. Adopting Jesus’ attitude is a lifetime project! The root of Jesus’ attitude was His fellowship and unity with the Father, and He prayed that we would have that same fellowship and unity. (John 17:20-21) Since Jesus prayed it, we have hope! Otherwise, an honest assessment of our weaknesses would leave us very little hope at all. Virtually everything about life in Christ is a now/not yet paradox. In Him we are the righteousness of God, (2 Corinthians 5:21) yet we commit sin. (1 John 1:8) We are made new in Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:17) yet we are very much works in progress. (Philippians 3:12-14) What will give us stability in all of that is Jesus’ attitude, focusing on God rather than on ourselves and indeed seeking His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) above, before, and beyond anything and everything else. After all, that is what Jesus really did.

This is a Word to me, and it is one that I need to communicate effectively to all the believers in this church. We are tempted either to pride or to give up on ourselves, sometimes within minutes of each other! I need to be an encourager at the same time I exhort people to press on in for more of Christ. None of us have any real hope of being and doing what God desires without the help of the Holy Spirit, so that needs to be my focus. Frankly, that has been a real frustration to me, because so few Japanese yield themselves to the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit. We all need to keep being filled, as the Greek tense indicates in Ephesians 5:18. That applies to me as much as it does to anyone else, so I too need to focus on God rather than on myself, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s not like You haven’t told me this before! Help me not deceive myself by stopping with mental agreement, but help me follow through and let You change me, having Jesus’ attitude indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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