4/6/06

Encouragement for Today

 

“A New Attitude”

Wendy Pope, Development Coordinator, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Attitude: a small word with a powerful punch.  Our attitude affects everything we say and everything we do.  It also trickles down to those around us and affects everything they say and everything they do.  Have you thought about the impact your attitude has on those around you?  This phenomenon has been clearly demonstrated over and over again in children.  If I am in a bad mood and short with them, not demonstrating kindness, they treat each other and their friends the very same way.  I have no right to correct them until I correct myself.   Let's allow the words of Paul teach us about the attitude we should have:

 

Philippians 2:5-6, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!" (NIV)

 

It was a morning I was running late.  My blood pressure was already elevated and kindness was not rolling off my tongue.  I heard the Spirit's whisper, "obedient to death."  Over and over these words echoed through my mind.  What was the Lord telling me?  Should I be preparing to die?  Was I going to be put in a life or death situation where obedience would cost me my life?  After arriving at my destination, I opened my Bible to these Scriptures and read them fully.  I still did not get a clear understanding of what my Lord was trying to tell me.  I went on about my daily routine pondering these Scriptures.

 

It wasn't until the next day, driving down the same road, the Spirit clearly revealed what God was trying to communicate to me.  Though Christ's obedience did lead to death on a cross, at this time the Lord was calling me to death – but not a literal death.  His desire was for me to die to myself.  He wanted me to change my clothes.  He pointed out that I needed to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12, NIV).  Since I love new clothes, I decided to try this new wardrobe on for size.

 

These new clothes weren't free.  The cost was great.  I had to give up my rights.  I had to choose to serve others instead of selfishly serving me.  I love the way the New Living Bible translates verse six, "Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God."  We must lay down our rights, wants and desires.  What Paul is telling us to do isn't natural.  It goes against our natural instinct of looking out for number one.  But if we are in Christ, we are new creatures made in the image of God Himself.  We must simply choose to count others’ needs as more important than our own.  Actually, it is not simple at all.  It requires a daily commitment.  However, His mercies are new each day and give you exactly what you need.

 

Won't you consult my Wardrobe Designer today?  His designs never go out of style. Don't worry about size; all of His pieces are one size fits all.  There will be no need for alterations.  His clothes are not gender specific and are appropriate for all ages.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Today is a new day, dear Lord.  I want to follow in Your will for my life.  I realize this means to serve others before I serve myself.  This will not come easy for me; will You please help me?  Help me today, tomorrow and every day following.  I look forward to looking in a mirror and seeing me in Your clothes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

  1. Call your church or a local ministry.  Ask what needs they have or if they know of anyone who has a need you can help fulfill.
  2. Make or buy some cookies for your neighbors living on each side of you.
  3. Take flowers to someone in a nursing home, even if you don't know them.
  4. Make a list of your own needs and read them to Jesus.

 

Reflection Points:         

Do I actively seek ways to serve others?

 

What kind of attitude do I have when I serve?

 

Has God called me to serve in a particular area of ministry that I have not been obedient to?  Why haven't I obeyed?

 

Power Verses: 

Matthew 20:16, "So the last shall be first, and the first last." (NAS)

 

Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (NIV)

 

Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

At the Feet of Ordinary Women, by Angie Conrad, et all

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_atTheFeet.htm

 

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, by Deborah Smith Pegues

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_tamingTongue.htm

 

P31 Woman Magazine

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/subscription.htm