The Right Attitude

By Rev. H. Gordon Smith III

Originally Published October 2017

Do you make decisions by putting the interests of others, ahead of your own?  Most of us look out for ourselves, don’t we?  We make decisions based upon our own interests, our own wants, our own needs, and for our own family.  The culture is constantly encouraging us to make decisions in such a way.  Every advertisement entices us to make a decision on the premise that “you deserve it.” Unfortunately, our relationships can be used as a way to meet our felt needs, or as pawns to the exaltation of ourselves.

In Philippians 2:1-12, the Apostle Paul is urging the local church in Philippi to be of the same “mindset” as Jesus.  He is not talking about an intellectual assent, as much as he is talking about a particular mindset that results in a definitive lifestyle.  He is talking about a community of believers that share similar priorities, and is unified in its purpose in the world in which it lives.  In essence, Paul is saying, a humble mind-set (attitude) is the key to unity.

Humility was not exactly a virtue in the Greco-Roman world of the 1st Century..  Everyone was jostling for position for greater honor and status.  Everyone was competing for social-status like a friend-request on Facebook.  Humility was seen negatively, similar to that of a servant-slave groveling, there was little encouragement to imitate humility.  Yet, we are told to take upon the attitude of Jesus, who humbled himself at the cross.

The link between our story and Christ’s story is having the right attitude.  You are the interpretation of the story of Christ in the world in which you live.  You don’t need to ask, “What would Jesus do?” you merely need retell the story of Jesus through your attitude regarding relationships with others. 

Paul is telling his people.  If you’re going to make it in this world, if you’re going to stick it through as a people of God, if you’re going to be the church, then we will have to imitate the attitude of Christ and stop thinking about ourselves.