Summary: Today the kids are being told to have an attitude. What kind of Attitude should Christians have?
ATTIUDE OF GRATITUDE
Phil 4:4-13. Rejoice in the Lord always I will say again Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious bout anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed you concern for me. Indeed you have been concerned but you had no opportunity to show it. I’m not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
The Apostle Paul is writing this from prison. a Roman prison. A place, for most, is a place of depression and without hope. Yet he tells us he has learned the secrets of contentment.
1. The first secret is a changed focus
a. Look for the good
b. Truth, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy
c. Change our thinking
Illustration: Max Lucado tells a story in his book “6 hours one Friday” about an encounter he had while he was a missionary in Brazil. He had some family members visit from the States. He had the week planned; he would take them to Iguancu Falls. The trip started with be held over in Sao Paulo for over two hours. By the time they got to the hotel it had been raining, as a matter of fact it rained the whole time they had been there. Determined to record the falls, he carried his video camera for over a mile through the downpour. Upon arrival at the falls he learned he had been for the last hour or so, recording the inside of his camera bag. The battery had now worn down, no video of the falls. When he got back to the hotel, he realized the rain had ruined the camera, how much ruin, about $300 worth. That was Wednesday. The week was not over yet. Later that week he got a call from his wife, she had just made arrangements to spend the holidays with her folks, and he had already told his folks they would spend the holidays with them. Then she called to tell him she was stuck downtown, the car they just bought had broke down AGAIN. He walked to the shopping center and tried to start the car, no luck. He called the tow truck, it would be a while, several hours later the tow truck arrived, Max was asked to try starting it in neutral, and behold the car started. That should have been good news, but yet the tow truck driver still wanted to be paid. So he paid him for watching him start his car. As he drove his car back home 2 devils came and perched on his shoulders. One was anger, the other was self-pity. I am sure all of us had heard from these two before. They reminded him of all that was bad that week. How in life he never really achieved, born with freckles and red hair, too slow for track, never elected “most likely to succeed” and now a missionary on a foreign soil. But then God sent an angel. He did not look like an angel, but he knew it had to be for only angels bring this type of message. “Do you have any spare change senor?” He was about 9, very dirty, barefoot, shirtless, matted hair, crusty skin. When this angel spoke, the demons were quiet. Max made some small talk with the boy, and then handed him the equivalent of an American dollar. He thought as he drove home, my problems are nothing compared to his, airlines trouble, this boy would have waited for days to go to a place where he did not have to beg, video camera trouble, this boy would have been satisfied with a portion of what was spent on the camera. car trouble, this boy would have been overjoyed to stay in a warm dry car. The message was clear, we cry over spilled champagne. We complain not about the lack of necessities, but the abundance of benefits, bellyache over the frills, not the basics, over benefits, not essentials. The source of the problem is our blessings. We need change our focus, change our thinking, and change our attitude.