Summary: What does an attitude of faith look like?
Top ten indicators that you're having a lousy day
10. You wake up and your braces are locked together.
9. You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
8. Your wife says, "Good morning Bill," and your name is George
7. You turn on the news and they're showing emergency routes out of the city.
6. You receive a notice in the mail that your income tax check has bounced.
5. On your way to work your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hells Angels on the freeway.
4. You see a "60 Minutes" news team waiting in your office.
3. At your birthday party, your cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
2. Your twin sister forgets your birthday.
1. You call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold.
Some days are better than others. But one thing can make every day the best - our attitude. In life, I'll encounter circumstances good and bad. Yet, regardless, God plans for us to live life to the fullest.
Paul testifies about how God enabled him to live a contented, fulfilled life, regardless of circumstance (read 4:11-13). The word "learned" Paul uses in verse 11 has the original meaning of being initiated into a secret. Paul had learned a very great secret: how to be totally satisfied regardless of his circumstance. By choosing an attitude of faith, Paul lived life to the full, even when all the "things" the world says are necessary to be happy were absent.
Paul precedes his testimony of faith in verses 10-13, with teaching about faith in verses 4-9. If I live with the attitude of faith I will live:
Focused on Jesus - v.4
Paul indicates this is a choice by stating this as an exhortation. Each day I live, I can either be a worrier or a worshipper.
By choosing to rejoice in the Lord, I turn my attention away from my imperfect and changing circumstances to my perfect and unchanging Savior. I'm reminded my sufficiency is found in Christ, not my circumstances; He's my "all in all" - all I need in all circumstances!
"All of you is more than enough for all of me; For every thirst and every need, you satisfy me with your love; And all I have in you is more than enough. More than all I want, more than all I need You are more than enough for me. More than all I know, more than all I can say; You are more than enough."
I will worship instead of worry.
Aware of Christ's presence - v. 5
The great evangelist, Angel Martinez, said he thought 99% of our problems in life stem from relationships. The longer I live, I am more convinced he was right. Paul understood this to be true, too. That's why he encourages us to relate to others patiently and gently. To motivate us, Paul says, "The Lord is near." This could be a reminder the Lord is always with us or that He's coming again. Either motivates us to relate to others in a kind and patient manner.
The Lord's always with me, so He sees how I relate to others. He's also aware of how others treat me. Nothing escapes God's notice. Because I know He's returning one day, I can count on the fact that when He does, He'll make all things right. All who've mistreated me, taken advantage of or abused me, will be called to account; but so will I!
Also, knowing the Lord's return is near motivates me to relate to others in a way that will encourage them to give their lives to Jesus.
"Beloved have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now." - A. B. Simpson
Each day affords countless opportunities to present a positive testimony in our relationships with others. Let's not waste them.
I will focus on my testimony more than my troubles.
Involved in prayer - vs. 6-7
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." - The Message
A survey said an average person's worries fall in these categories:
8% - about real problems they can do something about
10% - about health, which gets worse with stress
12% - things about criticism by others, mostly untrue