Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:30 / Philippians 1:27-2:11 / Psalm 115:1-11
Have you ever had a BA…a Bad Attitude? We all get in moods where our disposition, outlook and tone are negative. Others catch the brunt of our frustration even though they may not be the problem. Our words are sharp, patience is thin and look is deadly. It is amazing that we can at times enjoy having a bad attitude because it gives us some sense of control and domination. Like the saying goes, “If you don’t like my attitude, quit talking to me!”
Paul writes about a different attitude that we are to emulate…”Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) What? Have the same attitude as The Son of God? Paul’s admonition seems to be so beyond our capabilities that we get a “bad attitude” about having a Godly attitude! Strange, isn’t it…
Paul gives us this admonition because a Christ-like attitude cannot be humanly achieved but imparted by Christ’s Spirit working through us. Jesus exemplified a spirit of humility, surrender and servant-hood. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (2:3) One of the most difficult things for selfish and self-centered man to do is humble themself for the advancement and exaltation of others.
Jesus didn’t have to take on the form of a servant and be made in human likeness because He was of the very nature of God. Jesus left the throne room of heaven, exchanged His glory for the fallen nature of man “and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (2:8)
We have difficulties when others get preferential treatment while we are targets of prejudice. It’s one thing to have this happen to us rarely or infrequently, it’s another thing to have this happen to us frequently. “Stick up for yourself…don’t let people walk all over you…Where’s your pride?” We have this human reaction to defend ourselves and fight for our rights and dignity.
If anyone had reason to defend Himself, it was Jesus. He, who was sinless, died upon a cruel, unforgiving and undeserved cross. I remember the old song, “He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set him free…but he died alone, for you and me.” Jesus recognized that His desire was to please His Heavenly Father no matter the sacrifice or cost.
God was pleased, exalted Jesus and gave Him the “name that is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (2:9-11) Jesus was not exalted because of His powerful and domineering attitude but because of His humble attitude. God still rewards that same Christ-like attitude today…may it be found in us!