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The Attitude of Christ

Philippians 2:3-5
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (NIVUK)

Attitude is not a private thing.  It is always displayed by external relationships.  The 'attitude' of an aircraft describes how it lines up with the horizon, flight path or glide path.  The 'attitude' of a ballet dancer is a classical position in which the body and legs are held in a particular position relative to each other.  Personal attitude shows in a combination of body language and speech when interacting with another individual or a group.

Although attitude is an observed end-result, it is formed by deep desires and they are shaped by what we believe.  Selfishness, ambition, vanity and conceit are invisible, but they produce recognisable attitudes - none of which characterised the Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed, the opposite was true: He demonstrated such a sacrificial love for others that He willingly submitted to crucifixion in order to atone for people's sins.  That was the attitude which showed His deep desires and exposed our shallow pretence of niceness.

The test is ‘who do you value most, yourself or someone else?’.  Jesus showed that He valued His Father by submitting  to His plan (Luke 22:42) to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  Jesus also valued us more highly than His own life.  His objective was to pay for our sins so that we might be released from guilt, shame and hell into an eternal relationship with Himself – and to fill us with His Holy Spirit.  Selfishness smells of hell but selflessness is the currency of heaven.  But we will not have a Christ-like attitude unless we choose to value what Christ has done for us and replicate His value-system of sacrificial love in our own hearts (1 John 3:16).  

The world outside of Christ does not work like that.  Have you seen the business where 'dog eats dog'; offices where people are frightened of being 'stabbed in the back'; friendships which last as long as people get what they want; and the sweet charade which masks a throbbing hatred?  Needless to say, (but Paul thinks it is really necessary to say it), the followers of Jesus should never be like that.  Indeed, the believer in the office, factory, farm, airport or theatre company should be identifiable by their attitude.  And when Christians get together on-line or at work, their attitude of mutual caring, support and cheerful, hard-working endurance is a primary witness to the Christ-like love in their hearts. So, today might well be the time to ask the Lord to work His grace into your heart, so that the life of Christ might be seen where you live and work.

Gracious God. Thank You for all Your love for me displayed in the attitude of the Lord Jesus. Forgive me for my selfishness which derives from my wrong belief that I matter more than others. Please work in my heart to root out all those things that make me seek my own advantage at the expense of others, and give me a deep desire to love others as You have loved me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams