Summary: Be humble in your attitude if you want to be happy: be humble in your attitude towards self, sin, others and God.
Some time ago (1988), Robert Fulghum published his best-selling book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Recently, somebody suggested another book title: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Noah. For example…
• Don't miss the boat.
• Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
• Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something big.
• Don't listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done.
• Build your future on high ground.
• For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
• Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
• When you're stressed, float a while.
• Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
• No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting. (www.PreachingToday.com)
I like that, because it comes from somebody with a positive attitude, and attitude is very important when it comes to facing the future. Warren Wiersbe put it this way: “Outlook determines outcome; attitude determines action.”
So how do we find that positive attitude moving forward into the new year? We wish people a “Happy New Year!”, but where does that happiness come from? How can we truly have a happy new year?
Matthew 5:1-3 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed (or oh how happy!) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)
The “poor in spirit” are truly blessed. They are truly fortunate as the privileged recipients of God’s favor. They are the ones who experience a fullness of life. Do you want to be truly happy? Then be “poor in spirit.”
BE HUMBLE IN YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS YOURSELF.
Understand that without Christ you are morally and spiritually bankrupt. Confess your unworthiness before God and your utter dependence on Him.
Now, that’s not what the world tells us. The world says, “Find happiness in self-esteem.” Jesus here says, “Find happiness in acknowledging that there is nothing whatsoever to esteem in self.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (NKJV)
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:9-13)
That man was poor in spirit. And Jesus says of Him, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).
Do you want to be truly happy? Do you want to be truly favored by God? Then be humble in your attitude towards yourself. Be willing to admit, “I am a flawed individual.”
On April 12, 2012, the White Sox's pitcher Philip Humber pitched a perfect game. That is, he retired 27 batters in a row. No walks, no hits. It's a feat that's been accomplished by only 22 other pitchers in Major League Baseball's 135-year-old history. But then in November of that same year, the White Sox cut him from their team roster.
An article in Sports Illustrated zeroed in on Humber's deadly character flaw—perfectionism. The article's subtitle read, “For one magical April afternoon, Philip Humber was flawless. But that random smile from the pitching gods came with a heavy burden: the pressure to live up to a standard no one can meet.” The article continued:
The biggest problem with Humber wasn't his talent. It was, according to those close to him, the unrealistic expectations he set for himself. “He's a perfectionist,” says Robert Ellis, [a former mentor to Humber.]
Humber admitted, “After the game it was like, I've got to prove that the perfect game was not a fluke – I almost felt like I had to prove that I deserved to be on that list. I was thankful for it, but at the same time I wanted to make sure that everyone knew that this wasn't a joke. I'm really good enough to do this.”