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Philippians 2:5-11 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

Do you need an attitude adjustment? Before you answer that question, read Philippians 2:5-11. It is a rare person indeed whose attitude could pass this test.

Does that give us permission to sluff off this verse and excuse yourself because you aren’t as bad as ___________ (fill in the blank)? I doubt that Jesus looks at it this way. These verses are in the Bible to guide our Christian walk and we need to use them, not public opinion, as our guide.

So, how do we get from here (the place where my present attitude is sitting) to there (the place where it needs to be)? I don’t know any quick, simple fix. It needs to be a life goal that we must cultivate in our hearts. We must start by agreeing with God that we need to make the adjustment. We must write these verses on our hearts so that we will be mindful of them as we proceed through life on a day to day basis.

Jesus was humble to the point of death on a cross. He did not try to lord his divineness over people and boss them around. He let them know where they stood without taking their free will from them, and he let them decide for themselves how they would respond. He accepted their insults and even death on a cross for a cause that was higher than his earthly body. His cause was the salvation of those who were insulting him and taking his life, for you and for me.

Did Jesus ever stick up for anything? Of course he did. If he hadn’t, no one would have been upset enough to crucify him in the first place. He challenged those things that insulted God. He challenged everything that was satanic.

But he didn’t retaliate to defend himself. That was the dividing line, and we can use it as our dividing line as well. We don’t have to be doormats to anything and everything that comes along in the name of humility. It is reasonable to stand up against evils that hurt people around us. The problems come when we are quick to attack those who offend us personally. Whose honor are you ready to fight for? Is the offence based on the big “I” or is it based on an offense against God? If it is based on the big “I” then we need to be looking for the soft answer. If it is an offense against God, then we need to find Biblical guidelines for dealing with the problem.

Lord, help us to see our own attitudes through your eyes. Show us where we need to make changes so that our lives may reflect your light and your love to the world.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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      17 “‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. 

     18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.  (Leviticus 19:17-18  NIV)

God doesn’t allow much room for hate in our hearts, especially when that hatred is directed against people.  God hates evil and so should we.  But when it comes to the people who upset us, hate should not be among our responses.  God does allow us the option of rebuking another person, but even that should be done with the other person’s best interest at heart.  When we rebuke another we should do it in a spirit of helping that person, not in a spirit of seeking revenge. 

Neither does God allow us the option of holding a grudge against another person.  We must forgive from the heart and mean it. 

This seldom comes easy.  Sometimes it is hardest to forgive those closest to us.  When we feel another has wronged us we must pray for God to give us the right approach to take.  Whether it is to confront that person in love, or to simply turn it over to God by asking him to take the ill will out of our heart, and to cleanse our hearts from the grudges we feel.

Lord, help me to apply these teachings to my own heart and life that I may be truly free to serve you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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