Believers With Attitude
What do you think of when you see the word, “attitude”? A lot of the time, we associate negative thoughts with this word. We may think of a tough guy with sunglasses or a little girl with sass. In our society, along with those in the past, young people were often thought of as having attitude problems. We can see that in how Paul addresses Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:12 he says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness…”. People had the tendency to look down on young people because of their attitudes. Bad attitudes revealed themselves in their actions. Paul challenges Timothy, “…but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” There are specific areas that Paul calls Timothy to be an example in, “speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.” If you think about each of these areas, they are all affected by our attitudes. Our attitudes have a direct impact on our behavior. So, if we want to be examples in all of these things (which is something that all believers should strive for, not just the young ones) then we need to be believers with attitude but the right attitude. One that has been adjusted and directed by the Holy Spirit.
One of Jesus’ favorite illustrations is fruit. In Matthew 7, good fruit only comes from good trees. A bad tree cannot bear good fruit. In those cases, it is cut down and thrown into fire. Jesus explains in vs. 20 that the indicator of the condition of the tree is its fruit. The same is true of our attitudes. This is the indicator of our hearts. If we have a bad attitude then we need to look at the condition of our hearts and if we want a good attitude then we need to be sure that our hearts are rooted in the right place. Jesus shows us in John 15 where that is to be. In verses 4-9 He says this, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” Jesus is clear that we cannot produce any good fruit on our own. Our attitudes will not be what they should be by our own decisions or strength. This work must come through Jesus. It comes by abiding in Him. There are at least 5 times just in these verses that Jesus tells us to abide in Him. The idea here is to be “planted in Jesus.” The way we are planted is first by trusting in Him. In verse 9, Jesus says, “abide in my love.” We must trust that Jesus loves us and that He has shown us that love by His work on the cross. We must trust that He is our only hope for the fruit that God desires in our lives. The other way to be planted in Jesus is to obey His Word. In verse 10, Jesus says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love…”. If we want to abide then we must trust and obey Him. Just like the old hymn says, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
As we trust and obey, the Holy Spirit begins to do something in our lives. Just like a good tree we begin to produce good fruit. Paul shows us in Galatians 5:22-23 that this fruit is, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Would you consider these words to be consistent with your own attitude? Do you see this fruit evidenced in your day-to-day? Maybe it’s time to go to the Lord for a holy attitude adjustment that you may be an example of what it looks like to be a believer with attitude.
Seeking The Fruit Of A Holy Spirit Shaped Attitude, Pastor Rudy