An Understanding of Attitude
One of the big buzz words in the workplace these days is “attitude.” It’s the topic of books, calendars, seminars and news programs. Some of the phrases going around are:
- “It’s your attitude not your aptitude which determines your altitude in life”
- “The positive thinker creates a majority”
- “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible”
- “A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be”
- “Positive attitudes create positive people”
- “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”
What I find interesting is that motivational speakers and positive thinkers believe they invented this idea. Not so. “Attitude” is alive within the Word of God. God is the Creator and Original Motivator.
“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, andcoming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
A major problem with modern “positive thinking” is it depends on the power of the human heart and mind without God. The results are temporal and small at best. God wants His Children to have “Christ’s attitude.” It is eternal and large in scope. The “attitude of the world” is to succeed in pleasing ourselves. The “attitude of Christ” is to succeed in doing whatpleases God. No one has ever been as successful as Christ; not even close. If we choose attitudes on the basis of who’s best, richest or most powerful, the attitude of Christ wins every time.
Christ was the most successful “Minister” Who ever served humanity. Why is that? What can we learn from Christ about successful ministry in the workplace? We find some of the answers in Paul’s letter to the Philippian Christians.
First, Jesus knew Who He was. “… Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God …” (Philippians 2:5-6). Jesus did not have an identity crisis. He didn’t minister to others to “find Himself” or “prove” anything. He knew He was God. He knew His Eternal Power. We are God’s Children of Grace. We are chosen, predestined, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, included, marked, sealed, guaranteed, and loved. We are “in” Christ and He is “in” us. We are dead to sin but alive to Christ. We are the righteousness of God in Christ. Christ “in” us will live His Life through us. We do not have to “try” to live the Christian life. Jesus will live His life through us from His position “in” us. We simply cooperate with Christ Who is in us. We are secure in Him. We are “in” Christ. There is no safer place to be. No one, no matter how powerful, can hurt us in any eternal way because we are safe “in” Christ. We have our eternal identity in Christ. We have nothing to prove to anyone. We are already the “most” we can be. We are already as “close” to God as we can be. We can’t get any closer to God than being in Him and Him being in us. We can’t become any more a member of His spiritual family than we are already. We can’t become any more “sons” of God than we are already. We are God’s Children. We are His heirs. In fact, God uses us to “prove” His Grace. “… and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:6-10)
Second, Jesus “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6-7) That means even though Jesus was an equal member of the Godhood with the Father and The Holy Spirit and existed with them in eternity, He did not consider equality with God something to be prized (harpagmon) and retained at all costs. Rather, He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Jesus is King of Kings, Lord of Lords. He is God. Millions of angels worship Him in eternity. He Created and commands the universe. Yet, Jesus made Himself nothing (ekenosen). He “emptied” Himself of His God-form and took on the form or nature (morphen) of a slave (doulou). God became flesh. God became man. God became a servant.
Third, “being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) The Eternal Son of the Living God “humbled” Himself and became obedient to the point of death–even the death on the cross. What an amazing example! The attitude of a servant is one of humility. The word is etapeinosen. It is something Jesus chose to do. It is an extreme case of someone bringing themselves to a “low” position. Christ did that for us! He brought Himself to a low position and became obedient to death. “Obedient” is hupekoos. It means “to listen and obey.” Jesus heard His Father’s Voice and obeyed. What an example for us as we live the GraceLife in our homes, churches, schools, and workplaces. Christ “in” us will listen to His Father and obey. Christ “in” us will lead us to listen, know and obey the Will of God. Jesus obeyed His Father’s Will to the extreme. His Father’s Will was that Christ die cruelly at the hands of those He created in payment for “their” sins. The Father’s Will was that Christ take on Himself, on His physical body, the sins of the world. Nothing God will ask us to do will ever compare with the “lowness” and “humiliation” of the Holy Service of Christ.
Fourth, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) The Christ “in” us is victorious. He is exalted. He fills the highest place and has the Name that is above every name. Every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Christ “in” us has succeeded in every way. He pleased His Father. He did His Father’s Will. He had the right attitude, gave completely and unselfishly of Himself to fulfill His Father’s Will, and was successful. Paul wrote that our “attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Our victory, our success, in ministry is tied to that attitude. How do we do something that is so spiritually powerful? How do we have the attitude of a servant? How do we humble ourselves and become obedient to everything God asks of us? How can we be successful in ministry? By understanding that we are “in” Christ and Christ is “in” us; by having the same attitude that Jesus had. That comes from understanding we can’t and He can. Christ “in” us will live His Life through us powerfully and successfully. In this Truth we find the secret to expressing God’s Grace in the workplace.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”