Into: There was once a young boy who went to spend the week with his grandfather on the farm. While walking around he noticed the chickens, they were scratching and playing around. The little lad said, “They ain’t got it”. Next he saw a colt in the field playing and kicking up its heel’s to which he replied, “He ain’t got it”. After examining all of the animals on his grandfather’s farm and see that none of them had “it”, this boy finally found the old donkey in the barn. When he saw the donkey’s long, frowning face and the way that the donkey just stood there he screamed for his grandfather to come quick. “I found it, I found it” the boy kept yelling. When his grandfather asked what he had found he said, “Pawpaw, I found an animal that has the same kind of religion that you have.”
The attitude we have in church and in our daily lives has an effect on how people perceive us as Christians. If all they see is a long frowning face religion that does nothing what will they think of Christianity? I don’t see Jesus as some long faced; foot sliding, shoulder drooping, and slow talking depressed man. Why would crowd be attracted to that? I see Jesus as an enthusiastic, dynamic man full of joy and charisma. If the crowd were attracted to Jesus while He was here on this earth, then doesn’t it make sense that they would be attracted to a church that lifted Him up today?
How to have a bad attitude:
1. Allow your attitude to be based on circumstances.
2. Adapt WHEN and THEN thinking. When I get a new car, get married, get divorced, pay off bills, children in school, get over this physical ailment, I will be happy.
3. Wallow in the pit of worry. What if this happens, what if that happens? Worse case scenario-itice. Spend all your time wrapped up in yourself paralyzed by fear. Don’t even think about a verse like Matthew 6:27.
Matt 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
4. Consistently put your needs above the needs of others. Adapt an it’s all about me attitude. Put your needs above your spouse, your children, your co-workers, your friends, above everyone. Be sure when you don’t get your way to throw a fit.
5. Don’t ever get involved in church. You can do the poinsettia and lily thing, show up at Easter and Christmas. Because if you go to church you may spiritually enriched and experience the joy of a relationship with God.
6. Don’t even think about giving to the church. Don’t be a generous person.
That is how to have a terrible attitude, just practice these things and you’ll be there.
Philippians 1:3 The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church at Philippi while chained to a Roman Soldier in a Roman prison. He had every right to be discouraged, angry, and upset about his circumstances. But instead he was filled with joy, because his attitude was based on his relationship with Jesus Christ.
(v. 3) An attitude of joy is an intentional decision followed by a process. We're not talking about happiness here, which speaks of, chance that is based on happenings. If my ducks are all in a row, if everything happens for my benefit. Joy is inner delight derived from an intimate relationship with Christ. Happiness is circumstantial joy is relational. No matter what the circumstances no matter what life brings my way, if I have this inner delight as a result of my relationship with Christ, joy will flood my soul. It’s the peace that surpasses all understanding. It’s confidence on steroids. But prayer must be first response not a last resort. An intimate relationship with Christ is impossible without a consistent prayer habit. Prayer is our communication with God, and intimacy is based on communication. There is no such thing as an intimate relationship without communication. As we look to understand the joy that Paul experienced we must first realize that Paul was a man of prayer. Regardless of his circumstances Paul was consistent in his prayer life. For many of us prayer is a last resort only after everything else has failed us in our time of need. To experience the Joy that God desires for our lives we must learn to be consistent with our spiritual disciplines.
Illustration: When I go on vacation my daily routine gets blow to pieces. I have a certain time every morning I read my Bible, pray and exercise. A few weeks ago while on vacation I got totally out of my routine of daily devotion and exercise. The part of my life that suffered the most was my daily Bible reading. Prayer for me is just talking with God, although I didn’t really have a set a side time of prayer I’ve got in the habit of praying no matter what I’m doing, so my prayer life didn’t suffer. And of course I got plenty of exercise from skiing everyday. But once I got to Colorado I didn’t read one single scripture. I had taken my One Year Bible, which divides the Bible into a segment of Old, and New Testament, a Psalm, and a Proverb for each day of reading. Every day consist of about 15 to 20 minutes worth of reading and at the end of the year you have read the entire Bible. The Bible stayed in my truck all week because the only time I would think about reading is when I was warm and snug in my room. I was not excited about the thought of putting on all those extra clothes and going down stairs and into the parking lot in the freezing weather to get my Bible. So I thought I would bring it up to my room the next time I went somewhere, but I never remembered when getting out of my truck. So I missed a whole week of Bible study coupled with missing a week of church had a direct affect on my attitude. It got progressively worse and worse until I got back home and into my normal routine. Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act. It is a habit." So what kind of habits have you developed in your life?
James 1:2-32 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
This is the PJ verse. When you put on your PJs your getting comfortable, ready to stretch out and relax. “Because you know” many people today don’t know who they are, they don’t have a place to fit in or belong. They’re longing for someone or something to tell them who they are and were they fit into the grand scheme of things. We as believers know who we are, sinners saved by grace “heirs of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ”. We belong to God and are a part of the family of God. Through the testing of our faith God proves to us that we are His. It is His intention through the trials of our lives to mature us and develop our faith. Faith cannot be trusted unless it has been tested.
(v. 6) “Complete it” to many people have faded in their Christian life. Do you know someone like this? Christ will not give up on you or people who have faded. Jesus is the ultimate finisher, game closer. He’s going to win the game every time.
If you’re not a Christian you cannot manufacture the attitude of Christ. This is not buying a self-help book from Barnes and Noble and learning a good attitude. Inner delight derived from a relationship with Christ. This is what God wants our prevailing attitude to be as Christians. Not boring, long faced legalistic religion. Church is not meant to be boring and painful to be endured for an hour a couple a times a week. Do you thank God for the joy in your relationship with Him. The fruit of the Spirit is love ___? This is a product of the Holy Spirit. Many of us produce this fruit and then we eat it, this fruit is not for self-consumption. I should share it with other. Are you producing a bumper crop, or plastic fruit?
2 Cor 9:22For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Christianity is not a solo sport played alone, it’s a team sport played on the courts of reality. If we are in God we should be enthusiastic. Our enthusiasm should stir others to action.
(v. 12) While stuck in prison he witnessed to the soldiers he was in daily contact with. “Advance the gospel” is a military term used by engineers who would prepare a road for an advancing army by removing obstructions such as rocks and trees. Paul viewed his imprisonment as the removal of barriers to the Gospel in Rome. Who are you chained up to? Who is watching you on a daily level? Could God use the painful circumstances in your life for the advancement of the Gospel? That may seem impossible to you now but I’m sure Paul would have thought the same if someone would have told him we would be reading this letter 2000 years later on the other side of the world in a different language.
How to have a great attitude:
Make your life a thank you letter like the book of Philippians. A life that displays gratitude, are you grateful for your relationship with God, for the blessings with God? Do you live with a grateful heart? An attitude of gratitude is a sign of spiritual maturity. If you have a hard time complementing others, thanking others or thanking God you need to take a spiritual inventory. Make your life a river. Swirling currents in a river is called an eddie. Everything God gives us, talent, money, time, health should flow. It should flow to God’s children, to God’s church, and it should flow to service. Sometimes we get caught in an eddie and we start going around and around and around, and we find ourselves making no spiritual progress. Then we get a bad attitude, we don’t appreciate God’s blessings, and we think it’s all about us. We forget that God is the source of it all. Make your life like a servant. Jesus said if you want to become great become a servant. An others centered and an others focused person. Whatever I am getting from God just flows through me and to others around me.
If you’re not a Christian you cannot have this joy that I’m talking about .
Do you have an attitude of outrageous, contagious joy that only comes from God?
Illustration: I like the story about 3 prospectors who found a rich vein of gold in California during the gold rush days. They realized what a great discovery they had and decided, "We’ve a really good thing going here as long as no one else finds out about it." So they each took a vow to keep it secret. Then they headed for town to file their claims & get the equipment necessary to mine the gold. True to their vows, they didn’t say a word to anybody. They filed their claim, bought the equipment, & headed back to their mine. But when they did, a crowd of people followed them. The reason was because the expression on their faces had given them away. Their faces were aglow in anticipation of the wealth that soon would be theirs. People knew that they must have found something very special. So a crowd followed them out of town.
Sermon by: David Yarbrough Pastor/Minister Sand Flat Baptist Church