Adopting a Proper Attitude

Monday, June 29, 2020

Adopting a Proper Attitude

WHAT:     READING THE TEXT:  Proverbs 27:1-3; 12:25

 
SO WHAT:     REFLECTING ON THE TEXT:
 
1. Combatting Pride
 
A. Avoid Presumption (27:1)
     This prideful attitude assumes that we are in control. But despite what we might think, none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. 
 
Whereas the proud say, “Nothing can stop me,” the humble in spirit recognize Christ as sovereign over their lives. Not taking the idea of tomorrow as a certainty, individuals with a dependent attitude live for righteousness-sake today.
 
The truth is that we do not know when our soul will be required of us. Maybe that realization should affect our attitude. 
 
(If you have not already done so, humble yourself and depend on Christ alone in faith).
 
B. Avoid Arrogance (27:2)
     If we have an arrogant attitude, we approach life as if we are the best thing since sliced bread. In arrogance, it’s all about us being #1. In this way, we establish our worth in the wrong things, and we fixate on how everything revolves around us and our success.
 
Only we should neither concern ourselves with how great we are nor should we seek to draw attention to our accomplishments; rather, our lives should point people to God (cf. Matthew 5:16). 
 
The opposite of an arrogant attitude is a loving, selfless one (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). In fact, the best way to combat an arrogant attitude is to follow the example of Jesus (cf. John 13:15). From a humble attitude, then, we consider how our time and talent can glorify God and bless others.
C. Avoid Frustration (27:3)
     One way to read Proverbs 27:3 is that people who become easily angered or frustrated make the lives of those around them a bit uncomfortable or heavy. 
 
The other night we were playing a game of Family Feud. My youngest son loves being Steve Harvey. “The top 7 answers on the board:  Name a reason that parents yell at their kids.”
 
I got the number one answer correct, but then I struggled to come up with any of the other right responses. I said to my boys, “I guess this means that I don’t yell at y’all too much.” 
 
They immediately responded, “Hold on a minute. You yell at us at least once a day, 365 days out of the year.”
 
While that is an exaggeration, the truth is that I must work at preventing my frustration from boiling over and proving heavy upon others, especially with my children. The opposite of a frustrated attitude is a patient one, which finds its home in a humble heart.
 
2. Claiming Peace (12:25)
     In addition to combatting prideful attitudes, we need to control worrisome ones. Why do we worry? About what do we worry?
 
Looking around us, I imagine a number of matters can fill our hearts with worry. Whether it is the current coronavirus or the chaos running rampant in our city streets or it is the ever-present orphan crisis or it is a medical diagnosis of a loved-one, it is hard sometimes to feel at peace.
 
Amid it all, Peter Leithart offers two important reminders to believers:
 
“One is hope. No matter what comes, the Lord is in it. No matter what happens, the Lord is opening new avenues of service, witness, and worship. The Lord dismantles, and He rebuilds.
 
The second is courage. Panic is everywhere, greatly amplified by social media feeds. Christians need to follow Jesus, the fearless One, whose favorite exhortation to timid disciples was, Fear not.”
 
So let me encourage you to read Matthew 6:19-34. There, Jesus presents what is too often the cause of our worries, and He also teaches us where we can lay claim to peace.
 
NOW WHAT:     RESPONDING TO THE TEXT:
  • How many of us if we knew that the Lord was returning tonight would act today as we had determined to do already? Would we pray more fervently, read our Bible longer, share the Good News more openly, speak out for justice louder, and care for people more tangibly?
  • Ask yourself how upset you become when you lose at something insignificant, like a game of Monopoly. Ask yourself how important it is that you get the last word in on matters. Begin combatting arrogance by focusing less on yourself and more on others. Volunteer to help tutor an underprivileged child. Write letters to those who are in prison. Call on or visit with people who are lonely. And so on.
  • In what ways do you easily become frustrated or angry? How might you learn more patience?
  • Philippians 4:6
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