Jesus comes down to speak to the multitudes on several issues that touch our lives daily. He speaks about giving to the needy as our acts of righteousness and how we should carry them out. He then teaches his disciples how to pray and how to carry themselves when fasting and where we store our treasures or in other words what we value so much in our lives. Lastly, he touches on the most important issue and aspect that affect our lives daily – worry. Worry usually engulfs us and we find ourselves stressed over petty issues in our lives that could be sorted out easily through prayer. Instead, we so rust and run around here and there trying to find solutions while we have solutions right with us – the Word of God. It is full of answers to ever question that we have in life.
Jesus asked the question, isn’t life more important that the food we eat and the clothes that we wear? And these are the little things that we should be grateful for but in the human eyes, we see them as a formality whereas we are supposed to be thankful to God for the gift of life each and everyday. We are so engraved in the hustles of life each and everyday all in the name of trying to cater for tomorrow and when we are not able to meet our targets for the day, we start getting worried. Jesus compared us with the birds of the air. They never plant or harvest but yet they feed each and everyday; thus the question – why should we worry if God can take care of us just like the birds of air bearing in mind that we are more precious than them?.
Jesus notes out that our faith plays a very vital role in our day to day lives. Paul echoes the same words of Jesus and says in Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, if we have the privilege to take everything to God in prayer and above all by being thankful, we acknowledge what God has done for us and thus, He sees that we appreciate what He has done for us and thus He continues to bless us and meet our heart desires.
The greatest way of all to overcome worry is to choose to make the anxiety work for you rather than against you. Here are a number of things you can do to beat worry and anxiety:
- Do not worry about tomorrow excessively – do one day at a time - ”Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble,” Jesus concluded. (Matthew 6:34 NKJV) ‘One day at a time’ should become the driving motto for each and everyday that we live. Worry usually involves reaching into and borrowing potential problems from tomorrow.
- Stay away from avoidance behaviour – Many people try to avoid doing or facing issues that are cause of their anxiety. Unfortunately, this can make the problems worse. Avoidance in the long run will cause anxiety to get worse.
- Face the Fear. Do Something - Ending avoidance behaviour is a big step toward recovery. We also need to challenge our anxieties or worries. Is our assumption realistic? Face it straight. One of the best ways to abandon the worry is to simply do something about it.
- Add up Your Joys; Never Count Your Sorrows – Always “Look at what you have left in your life; never look at what you have lost. At a time of sorrow you are so overwhelmed and swamped by the shock, the pain, and the grief that you are not even conscious of the joys that still are alive deep under that blanket of grief. Determine to uncover your smothered joys and let them breathe and flourish again! There are many things that you are still thankful for, even though you do not feel your gratitude. Begin by reminiscing. Relive your happy memories. Treat yourself to replays of that great collection of joyful experiences that have occurred in your past. There are many wonderful things that have happened to you in life.” - Rev. Robert Schuller.
- Meditate on the Psalms - The book of Psalms always provides an unparalleled sense of peace in times of anxiety and fear. Psalm 23 is my favourite when I am feeling anxious or depressed. Meditating on your favourite verse in the psalms makes it possible to tolerate your worries and anxiety. You are assured that you have the greatest power in the universe available to you during this difficulty. E.g. ‘what time I am afraid, I will call upon the name of the Lord: (Psalm 56:3); ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalms 23:1-2
- Recognize the temptation to worry and choose to TRUST instead of worrying.
- Choose to PRAY instead of worrying.
- Choose to be THANKFUL instead of worrying.
How many times have we given into the temptation of sulking, worrying, and letting the worst possible thoughts get the better of us? Do not be anxious about anything but instead, trust in God and He will fulfill all your desires. Meditate on this verse – message bible version.
30-33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34″Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
David the servant of God had a longing to be in the presence of the Lord and whenever he got the chance, he did so and he enjoyed being in the presence of his maker and King. Look at what he says in these passages of the book of psalms: I rejoiced with those who said to me; Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Psalms 122:1; one thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalms 27:4; Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalms 84:10. I could quote so many psalms that David wrote of his longing to be in the house of the Lord.
Despite all this longingness, to be in the presence of the Lord, David had time to search his soul and get to know that it is right before the presence of the Lord before he went to meet with his God. In psalms 15, he asks himself a question and yet he answers himself. He asks “Lord, who will dwell in your sanctuary? Who may dwell in your holy hill? He goes ahead and lists a few things that such a person should have. Looking at these traits, my heart has been challenged and I prayed that God will help me be such a man.
a) Your walk should be blameless – Your day to day walk should not be tainted. This is the avenue that the devil uses to remind us of our faults and deeds while we are before God’s presence; but if we know that our walk with the Lord is blameless, we will have no fear getting to the presence of the Lord. Job and Daniel are two great examples of people who walked blamelessly before the Lord. The eunuchs in the Babylonian kingdom could find no fault in Daniel unless in his walk with God. Let people find nothing to blame you for rather let them see the God and faith that you profess in your day to day life. Your walk entails different aspects; David says that your deeds should be righteous and your talk and thoughts should be truthful from the heart. In your speech, there should be no slur/slander found in it. Speak no evil or lie against your neighbour neither should you do anything that is not right to him. to sum this up, Paul tell Timothy to be an example in everyway as he serves and thus, we should also yearn to be examples in everything and everyway but not a source of talk and scorn – 1 Timothy 4:12
b) Should honour and fear the Lord – The bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When you fear and honour the Lord, you open up your life for great things. Wisdom, honour and blessings. When you Fear the Lord and you honour him, you will hate sin. With this, you will honour the Lord with your life and you will be a testimony.
c) Keep your word even when it costs you – Many of us we make promises but we do not honour them when we realize the cost that the promise is implicating on us. Jesus said, let your NO be NO and your YES be a YES. In other words, Jesus was saying, be honest in whatever you do. This is an area that many of us fail and I am also guilty as charged. Many times we do make promises so as to please people or to avoid being seen as if we can’t be able to match ourselves, but in this we fail ourselves. We do this without counting the cost implicated.
I don’t know whether if God called me home right now I would be perfect to dine with him at his table. I love the way the Message bible puts it:
1 God, who gets invited to dinner at your place?
How do we get on your guest list?
2 “Walk straight,
act right, tell the truth.
3-4 “Don’t hurt your friend,
don’t blame your neighbor;
despise the despicable.
5 “Keep your word even when it costs you,
make an honest living, never take a bribe.
”You’ll never get
if you live like this.”
How I pray this morning that we will take up the challenge and examine our ways again and again and above all, live as per the word of God and with this, I know that none of us will ever miss heaven where we will live rejoicing in the presence of our God and King.
1 Peter 2:9-12
We were all born at one time or the other as per God’s plan and we know that we were born and brought in this earth for a divine purpose. The question remains, have you discovered your purpose for living or why you are here on earth? This is what many of us, I included struggle with most of the times but the word of God is so clear and it tells us who we are and what on earth are we here for. God’s word is full answers to every question that may arise in our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans not to harm you, but give you a hope and a future.” God clearly maps out the way for us on what he has in store for us, but as human beings, the best thing that we can do is doubt him and ask so many unnecessary questions to him.
As I said, we are all born and we are attached to a certain family lineage that gives us identity. That’s why you and I have certain family names either on our Identification cards or testimonial certificates. This is the earthly identification that we have, but now that you and I are born again, we have or we got a heavenly identification that gives us identity. You are known as the daughter or son of so and so and heavenly, we are all known as sons and daughters of the king – who is our God. John 1:12 “and to those who believed in him, He gave the power to be sons of God”. This is what Peter reminds us. He tells us that apart from being us being sons and daughters of God, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people belonging to God and thus, we should carry or behave ourselves in a manner that depicts our calling or identity.
Again I ask this question, how many times have we forgotten who we are and we have lived a compromising life that is not worth of our calling? How many times have we forgotten who we are and lived a life that does not please our heavenly father? Jesus told his disciples that they should live in a manner that the world will know that they were truly his disciples. We are living in days and times that we really don’t mind how we carry ourselves, but this morning, I want to remind you that the world is watching you to see what kind of a life that you live and whether it portrays what you preach or your identity in Christ.
We have so many examples in the word of God of people who recognized who they were and they were able to live to their purpose here on earth and also we have others who didn’t live to their calling though they knew who they were simply because they compromised at one point or another. Look at what Paul says in Hebrews 11:13 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. That they lived by faith in their calling yet, they did not receive what they were promised for. Would you love to be such? I would love it to be said of me like David that in my generation, I served God’s purpose for my life.
Take a look at the children of Israel, in the book of Judges, we are told of their history; and if you are keen, there is one phrase that is seen at the start of every reign of a judge… “…and again, the children of Israel sinned against God…” After sinning, there is one thing that God did to them, He handed them over to the hands of their enemies and they were enslaved and mistreated by them. It reached a point that at one time, the Midianites oppressed them so much till Gideon came to their rescue. This usually happened when they would cry out to God in their agony and pain and repent, thus when God would send a judge to lead them to war against their enemies. But, must we wait until we are oppressed so that we can know who we are and turn back to God in repentance and ask for his help and intervention in our own made up situations which we can avoid by living true to our calling?
Take a look at Samson; He was a Nazarite called by God to lead and deliver the children of Israel from the Philistines, but he leads a compromising life that cost him his eyes and life at the end. Take a look at him; Judges 16:1-3 he goes and sleeps with a harlot and when he meets the city gates are closed, he lifts it and carries it to the top of the mountain. God was so gracious to him that He came to his rescue many times but yet, he never say his shortcomings so that he could reconcile with God till the last minute of his life that’s when he asks God for a favour so that he could avenge for his eyes that were gorged out. One thing we ought to know is that we are a threat to the devils camp and whenever he gets a chance to destroy us, he will do it without any mercy.
One thing that is very clear with our God, once you forsake his ways and go your own way; he will let you go till you reach your end. Remember this all time, He is watching you. Every time you forget where God has brought you from, you forsake his ways and go back sinning; He allows the enemy to work on you but his grace is abounding and when you turn back and repent, he forgives you and brings you back to his fellowship as a son. Paul urges us “… to work out our salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who works in us to will and to act in his own purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Philippians 2:12b-15)
The same words I remind you, you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a people belonging to God. The world out there is watching you. Jesus said, you are the salt and the light of the world and if we as believers fail to realize this; we are really not living up to our calling. Let’s arise and move on from where we have fallen from. Let’s march on and live lives that are worth our calling and with this, God will be glorified in us just as He was in the life of his son Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:1
Everyone wants to be loved. We are greatly moved by love. How wonderful it is to hear someone say to us “I love you.” I recently heard someone say, “No one loves me!” That is not true. One thing that we ought to know is that the most important person in the world loves you. He is the greatest and most magnificent person did declare His love for you. His love is unconditional. It’s a love that knows your faults and yet still loves you. The world’s love is most time conditional. It is given only if it is adequately returned and gives a sufficient dividend. I love you if you love me. Or I will love you as long as you meet my need and satisfy all my expectations.
My Friend the love of God is conditional only in that it be received and accepted by the each of us. Many in the world miss the importance of this statement of God’s affection towards us. Love that is shunned is a great lost, but the love of God shunned is a tragedy. To the sinner, the love of God means that there is the possibility of reconciliation and forgiveness. No matter how deep our sin and rejection of God is; if we repent and turn to Him, He will always accept us and forgive. That is the very nature of God. The person to whom an offense is committed, who still loves the offender, can still be reached. To the Christian who by faith has trusted in Christ Jesus, it is a great comfort and of great value.
There are a few factors that I like about God’s love:
1. The love of God is a gift - “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us.” 1 John 3:1.
- First, we ought to know that it is without merit on our part that we receive God’s love; it is a gift. God’s love is not something we deserved or we could earn; nor can be. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
- Secondly, there was nothing in us that can attract God’s favour. We were separated from him by sin, but because of his Love towards us, He gave his son Jesus so that we could be reconciled with him (John 3:16). God did not choose to bestow His love on the best of men! Not the most intellect, smart, moral; instead, He chose to freely give His love to all men equally… but noting that the ones who received the benefit of it, would be whose admitted to be sinners. This is so important to those of us who do know our faults. You ought to know your fault and repent so that you can receive God’s love.
- It is a way that God uses to show us how we should love one another: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12.
- Sins do not hinder God’s love.
i. Yes, sin does affect fellowship and receiving the blessings of God, but not the love God has for us.
ii. He wants the best for us always, and even when we sin he stands ready to help, to aid to comfort if we will but let him.
iii. As a parent He chastens us, to aid us in over coming sin and its destructive influence.
iv. True love seeks to help the other person. That is why repentance is so important. God wants us to overcome the sin and its destructive influence in our lives. He even loves us enough to chasten His children that they might overcome sin. To the sinner He say, repent of sin, turn from sin and turn to me…I will change your life.
2. God’s love is unique and marvellous. – “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us…”
God’s love is way above our understanding! The One offended loves the offender. “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
- It is incredible in view. God’s creation rebels. It sins in mass and magnitude, yet it is God who is willing to pay the price. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
- It is eternal, fixed before the foundations of the earth. The very nature of God is Love. John 4:8, 16, states that “God is Love.”
- The love of God has glorious consequences to the one who will receive it. “… We all called the sons of God”.
- Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.“ This means that when a person is saved they are adopted into the family of God. Only those who have believed and received Jesus Christ as their Saviour are the children of God.
- We are given the Holy Spirit. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”(Romans 8:9).
- We are made joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
- The love of God is to be accepted and lived by.
- Love is a duty, a responsibility and a great blessing to us. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:15-19).
- The love of God is not to end at our conversion. It is the Good News, the Gospel which is to be spared, broadcast to all who would hear it.
- To shun the love of God is a terrible tragedy.
Christ Jesus has shown His love. He proved it by going to the Cross and there suffering for my sin and yours. Romans 5:8, “God commended His love for us, in that while we were yet in our Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath to come.”
Today where do you stand in relation to receiving the love of God? As we have seen from the Word of God…God’s love is offered… the question is will you accept it? Would you accept God’s love today?
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3) According to the above text, one who delights in the law of the Lord is blessed. It is his primary focus. He meditates on it day and night. It is a source of refreshment and life to him. He becomes as a tree that is planted by a river because the word of God makes his life fruitful and productive.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes him as a person who will hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). He considers receiving and giving instruction in God’s word as one of his greatest blessings. Learning and/or teaching the law of God is an activity he eagerly anticipates and thoroughly enjoys. Therefore, he values those times when his fellow brethren assemble for bible study and worship – knowing he will be with people who, like him, respect and adore the word of God.
Nehemiah 8:1-8 is an example of proper attitude toward the Word of God. After their return from Babylonian captivity, the people of Judah set about to restore worship to God in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 8, they asked Ezra the scribe to read the law of God to them. He assembled all the people, opened the book of the law before them, and then read distinctly from it to make sure the assembled crowd understood its message. The people, when beckoned, willingly assembled. They stood when the book of the law was opened – a show of reverence. Standing from daybreak to midday, they praised God for His word and then fell on their faces worshiping Him. Whether proclaiming the word or receiving instruction from it, we should have the same willingness to assemble, the same reverence and respect, and the same praise for our God.
Acts 10:33 – is another example. Having summoned Peter to preach the message of God to him and his family, Cornelius told him of their willingness to hear him preach the gospel of Christ. Cornelius’ attitude – a model for all – caused him to:
- Send for one knowledgeable in God’s word.
- Assemble his family to hear what Peter would proclaim.
- Realize that God was present and that everything was being said and done before Him.
- Be ready to hear all things God had commanded.
What we must be and do:
If we are going to have the proper attitude toward the word of God, therefore, we must:
- Have good and honest hearts (Luke 8:15).
- Allow the word of God to “prick” our hearts (Acts 2:37).
- Gladly receive the word (Acts 2:40).
- Be discerning hearers (Acts 17:11).
- Be eager hearers (Matthew 5:6; Acts 10:33).
- Desire to hear and know all of the word (Acts 10:33).
- Desire only the word of God (Matthew 15:9).
What is your attitude toward the word of God? What should it be? Make sure it is what the Lord would have it to be.
The word “attitude” means “an internal position or feeling with regard to something else.” Other words often used as synonyms are: “disposition, feeling, mood, opinion, sentiment, temper, tone, perspective, frame of mind, outlook, view, or morale.” Pilots often use “attitude” to describe their horizontal relationship with the runway then they land. If their attitude isn’t aligned properly, the plane will make contact with the ground at the wrong angle and it will cause them to crash.
Attitude is your inward disposition toward other things, such as people or circumstances. As in with an airplane, attitude is applied whenever you must deal with something other than yourself. According to God’s word, when you become a Christian, a part of your new creation is the development of new attitudes – your attitude should become like that of Jesus. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). Again, Paul tells the Ephesians “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” (Ephesians 4:22 NIV)
Most of us can easily identify bad attitudes when they are displayed outwardly in our words or actions, such a negativeness, criticalness, rebellion, defiance, impatience, uncooperative, apathy, discouragement, independence, presumption, arrogance, self-centeredness, rudeness and such like. These are examples of bad attitudes which Christians should reject. However, keep in mind, attitudes are inner dispositions of the heart and thoughts - they are the hidden intentions which will eventually serve as the basis for our actions. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7). In reality, no one else really knows the thoughts of your heart, except you and God. Consequently, attitude is something that only you and God can work out – a change which must take place inwardly.
An example of a bad attitude is seen in this case study. A certain believer always went to church cheerfully as long as his business continued to prosper – as long as everything went well for him. He sang joyfully in the choir, he rarely missed a service. But when hard times set in, he began to drop away. He became resentful toward God, even critical of other Christians. The right attitude to have when difficulty comes is to persevere in faith and draw nearer to God – to fall at the feet of Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that God works all things together for our good when we love Him, and the testing of our faith is for our benefit. Trouble will never defeat the person with a right attitude.
Take two – A sister had been a Christian for nearly two years. She loved the lord and was growing as a Christian, but was still battling sins of the flesh – she occasionally fell to the temptation of drunkenness. One evening the pastor and his family were entering a restaurant, when he noticed her slouching at the distant bar, obviously intoxicated. The next Sunday after service, the pastor and his wife took her aside privately, and warned her gently about the sins of drunkenness. He encouraged her to repent of this activity and prayed with her. Unfortunately, she was offended by the pastor’s forthrightness and she immediately changed churches. First, she should have had a humble, submissive attitude toward the pastor’s loving correction of sin which was based upon God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:2, 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, Galatians 5:19-21, Galatians 6:1). As a general rule, people who have a bad attitude toward authority figures always have a problem with God.
Your attitude toward life, your circumstances, or toward other people should always be like the Lord’s – as is defined by scripture. Good attitudes are generally demonstrated in being positive, encouraging, loving, humble, teachable, cooperative, considerate, selfless, loyal, persevering and so forth; in simple the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
a) To God – our attitude should be reverence, submission, love, trust, humbleness, obedience, worshipful, and prayerful. (Psalms. 111:10, Mark 12:30, John 14:15, Jas. 4:7, 1 Samuel. 15:23)
b) To God’s Children – our attitude should be love, forgiveness, consideration, caring, encouragement, kindness, humility, unselfishness, respectful, and impartial. (John 13:34-35, 15:12, Romans. 12:10, 13:10, 15:7, James. 2:9, Ephesians. 4:2, 4:32, Colossians. 3:16, 1 Thessalonians. 5:11, Hebrews. 3:13, 1 Corinthians. 13:4-8).
c) To Authority – our attitude should be respectful, cooperative, accountable, humble, helpful, encouraging, and loyal. Not resentful, defiant or disrespectful. (Hebrews. 13:17, 1 Peter. 2:13-15)
d) To Hard Circumstances — our attitude should be patience, thankfulness, persevering, believing. (Romans. 8:28, Galatians. 1:9)
e) To Our Church – our attitude should be respectful, faithful, cooperative, helpful, willingness, dependable, participating, and encouraging. (1 Corinthians. 10:32, 1 Corinthians. 14:12, Hebrew. 2:12)
f) To Duty – our attitude should be faithfulness, being responsible, obedience, cooperation, and endurance. (Luke 16:10, 1 Corinthians. 4:2)
g) To Unfairness – our attitude should be patience, humility, confident in God’s justice. (Romans. 12:19, Luke 18:7)
h) To Disappointment or Tragedy — our attitude should be humility, submission to God, prayerful, confidence in God’s fairness. (Psalms. 62:5, Jeremiah. 17:5, Deuteronomy. 32:4, Job 13:15, Romans. 8:28)
i) To the Lost – our attitude should be compassionate, forgiving, encouraging, helpful, reconciling them to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Peter. 3:9, Matthew. 18:11-14)
j) To Sin – our attitude should be uncompromising, unaccepting, intolerant, unsympathetic, yet compassionate and reconciliatory for the repentant. (Matthew. 18:8-9, Galatians. 6:1)
k) To Success – our attitude should be humble, grateful, God-glorifying, not self-exalting or forgetful to God. (James. 4:6, 10, Proverbs. 16:18)
l) To Misunderstanding – our attitude should be peacemaking, reconciliatory, patient, forgiving. (Colossians. 3:13, Matthew. 5:9, Philippians. 2:14)
You may then ask; how do I develop good attitude? Here are a few ways on how you can:
- Identify and Repent of Bad Attitudes – Acts 8:22 “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.”
- Submit Your Attitudes to God – Bring your attitudes into obedience to God’s Word. Apply discipline to your thought life – submit your thoughts to those of Christ’s. A good attitude is a matter of faith, disregarding your feelings, with a determination to embrace God’s outlook and disposition. 2 Corinthians 10:5 “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”
- Equip And Feed Your Attitudes – Dwell on the things that God’s word tells us to - those good and virtuous things. If you dwell on the negative, your attitude will reflect the same. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things.”
What else can we say? God always intends us to have a right attitude towards him and others and thus, we are able to live in harmony with him and other people and also be at peace. It’s my prayer this morning that God will minister to your heart and illuminate to you where He wants you to change your attitude and perceptions that you have in your life. Let’s not be like the gentleman and the lady that I gave as case samples above; but let’s always have a positive attitude towards everything.
Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking questions in the Bible is that one asked by Cain; he asked God, Am I my brothers’ keeper? This is an amazing question and also and irresponsible question. Asking this kind of a question depicts of how we really don’t care of what other are going through or facing. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38 that we ought to love each other as we love ourselves. But how many of us do? We are so jealous of our brethren and rather than showing them love, we plant hatred and discord amongst ourselves.
Cain and Abel go into the fields and as they offered their sacrifices to God, God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and he rejected the sacrifice of Cain and thus leading to the death of Abel. As a matter of fact, the sacrifice that Cain had brought before God wasn’t worth and thus rather than him asking God what was wrong with his sacrifice and rectifying, he was full of rage and this ended up with him killing his brother and thus bringing up a curse over his life.
Today, many of us are just like Cain. We may not kill like Cain did but in our small acts to our friends, neighbours and other people, we are slowly becoming like Cain and we have on the long run acquired or placed a curse upon our lives. Jealousy and Hatred are the root causes of all curses that we may experience in our lives. We may do it knowingly or unknowingly but as I said earlier, the little actions and comments that we make in regards to what happens to our brothers mean a lot. Many times, our irresponsibility towards the people that God has placed in our lives to care for culminates to irresponsibility of our own lives. If Cain was responsible for his own life and remembered to have his ways before the Lord, he wouldn’t have ended up killing his brother; but because he had neglected his relationship with God, thus his relationship with his own brother did not matter.
I know the question you will ask then is; do we really have a responsibility to watch out and care for one another? Looking at the New Testament, we have very many instances where we are urged to be our brothers’ keeper. Look at this; we have the following responsibilities..:
We are to “love one another”…
1. As commanded by Jesus – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35; John 15:12, 17
2. As taught by Paul – “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8) “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other”. (1Thesalonians 4:9).
3. As instructed by Peter – “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart” 1Peter 1:22
4. As stressed by John – “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.” 1 John 3:11-12 (note v.12), 23; 4:7,11-12; 2 John 5
Love has been emphasized that it is the only best way that we can express our care and concern for others. How are we then supposed to express such love?
1) Receive one another – Romans 15:7
2) Edify another – Romans 14:19
3) Serve one another – Galatians 5:13
4) Bear one another’s burdens – Galatians 6:1-2
5) Forgiving one another – Ephesians 4:32
6) Submitting to one another – Ephesians 5:21
7) Exhort one another – Hebrews 3:12-13
8) Consider one another – Hebrews 10:24-25
9) Be hospitable to one another – 1Peter 4:8-10
In light of such “one another“ passages, is there any doubt that we are to be our brother’s keeper? But how well are we doing? It’s my prayer that God will help both you and me to arise and get back to the position from whereof we have fallen and be our brothers’ keeper.
Wednesday, 1st July 2009