Summary: We should strive for the servant attitude of Christ Jesus.
AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
What is an attitude? An attitude is much more than an opinion and much more than a mere feeling. An attitude is an opinion that is acted upon. For example, a person may feel that he or she is more superior to those around them and it hurts no one. Yet, if that person starts acting more superior and says certain things, then it is an attitude. Another example, a person may not like you. You may never know that they dislike you unless they act on it or say certain things, and then we know about their "attitude."
Genesis 31:1-2 explains this wonderfully. Jacob had deceived Laban and had taken a lot of wealth from Laban and his family. Laban’s sons began to grumble against Jacob and disliked how Jacob had acquired his wealth. He hears what they are saying and concludes that "Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been" (verse 2). The opinion gave way to words and Jacob was treated poorly by Laban’s family. Their attitude was negative towards him.
You can tell a lot about a person by their attitudes... can’t you? The actions and the way they speak reveals their heart and their feelings. 1 Kings 11 records that Solomon said he believed in God, but his life was turned away from God. God calls this, in verse 11, "your attitude." Solomon’s attitude about life was that wine, women, and song were more important than God. It was his attitude and the way he lived his life.
Our attitudes about things can change... can’t they? I recall growing up that vegetables were not my favorite part of the meal. They still aren’t, but I have changed my attitude about many of them. Some by necessity. When you marry into a family and your new grandmother-in-law serves you corn, you eat it and do not offend. Plain and simple. My attitude has changed about many vegetables as I grow older.
Attitudes are very powerful. They shape our lives and the society that we live in. I want to share some observed attitudes (observed by me) in our society and show how those attitudes are reflected and acted upon in our society. Some of them are good and some are bad.
* "Money and Success brings happiness." = American Dream, new car commercials, commercials about getting education, TV shows about rich people, consumerism, materialism, and the existence of malls
* "I want it my way." = customizable bank accounts, Burger King’s slogan ‘Have it Your Way’, Abortion Issue, divorce rates, genetic experimentation, liberality of sex, cohabitation acceptance
* "All people are created equal." = Civil Rights Movement, Homosexual Agenda, Constitution, War in Iraq, labor laws outside the USA
* "Truth is Relevant." = Oprah Winfrey, acceptance of magic and mysticism, all roads lead to God, mix of religious traditions, varying beliefs among denominations
The passage today describes the "attitude of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). I do not know what your attitude is about the church or your life or those people around you. I do not know what your attitude is about politics or public issues. Our attitudes will vary from good to poor in all of the areas of our lives. I do not know what your attitudes are... but I do know what we should strive for. We should strive for the "attitude of Christ Jesus." Let’s read.
READ PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11
I. THE ATTITUDE OF JESUS CHRIST IS A CHOICE (2:6-8)
I think there is much about Jesus that we never think about. One of the areas that we sometimes miss in thinking and speaking about Jesus is His existence before the manger. Perhaps we do not understand it all that well. Before the manger, Jesus did in fact exist. Jesus was God. He was in fullness God. John 1:1-2 echoes Philippians 2 when it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." Philippians 2:6 tells us that Jesus and God are one and the same for they had one nature. God chose to come to earth and to empty Himself and become a servant. God chose that! Jesus chose to go from King of the Universe to Servant of All. Jesus chose to become a worker ant... very small in the scheme of things. It was a huge change. Verse 7 continues to tell us that not only was Jesus God, but He became a human being. Verse 8 goes even further and explains that this Emmanuel, "God with us" died on the torture device known as a cross. The cross was the lowest form of punishment. Jesus went from God to being killed like the lowest of animals. I say all of this in order to show you that God chose this! What happens between verses 6 and 7? God makes a choice to become a human being and to live as humans do. God made a choice to enter His Creation and fix what was broken. What happens in verse 8? God makes the choice to pay for the sins of humanity. He chose to die on the cross. He chose to be a servant. He chose a life of need to provide for us.