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Godly Attitude

Copyright © Andrew J. Shreeve 2008


As a travelling minister I am largely removed from church politics, and am often able to take a ‘step back’ and experience the church-world from a more impartial position. From this non-sectarian position, I have become aware of some ‘sectarian’ attitudes that can easily creep in, which can be destructive to the overall well being of the Lord’s global church. This month’s teaching assists us in refocusing our godly attitude toward other individuals and groups within the body of Christ. We each have a responsibility in bringing about the unity of the Lord’s body, so this teaching is relevant to us all.

 

The Lord envisaged his global church functioning together in love and unity:

 

These words spoke Jesus… “neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.”

John 17:1, 20-21

 

This is still Jesus’ vision in the ‘competitive’ Christian religious world of today. Some Christian leaders however have given a greater emphasis to ‘success’, than love and unity in the body. ‘Success’ is seen by some as more people in the congregation. The motivation for more numbers is, at times, driven by financial desire (the more people, potentially the more money). With aspiration for financial success there can be the temptation to be competitive against other Christian organisations, which can lead to judgemental and critical attitudes against them. This is not what the Lord intended. We sometimes hear Christian leaders explaining their positive ‘point of difference’ whilst simultaneously pulling down those who see things differently. It is okay to stress our positive attributes, but we should avoid putting down our brothers. Let us study the following attitudes to assist us in walking in love with others in the Body of Christ:

 

If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.

Philippians 2:1-9

 

In verse one we see the common experience of all Christians, the loving comfort, mercy, and strength of our communication with Christ and His Spirit. We all share the same experience and grace in Christ. As a result of this single source of supply we should yield and flow with Christ’s Spirit, which will bring about a loving like-mindedness (v2).

 

Therefore our speech and action should not promote division within the Lord’s Body, nor should we be self-conceited, thinking we are higher or better than other members. Rather, we should lower our self-opinion to consider the other members of the Body as superior to ourselves (v3). Imagine if every local church and denomination considered the other local churches more excellent than themselves. Imagine if they were not just considering their own success, but thought of ways where they could help promote the other churches in town (v4). Imagine if we also did this on an individual level, lifting up those around us.

 

This was the mind and action of Jesus (v5). Even though Jesus was God, and could have paraded himself as God on earth, with all the pomp, ceremony, and trappings of great leadership (v6), He emptied himself, being made as a man, and voluntarily made himself a slave (v7). Jesus brought himself low, submitting himself to the death of the Cross (v8). What an attitude! Jesus could have demanded all the accolade, glory, riches, and privilege than comes with being God in human flesh. But His thoughts were not primarily on Himself and His own well being. Jesus had a higher vision. Jesus imagined all of humanity set free from sin and Satan. Jesus did what was in the best interests of others, even though it personally cost Him everything.

 

What did Jesus’ attitude of love cost him? It cost him the joy of having a family and children. It cost him money and wealth. Imagine how much money Jesus could have made with his perfect insight, wisdom and people skills? How much do you think Jesus could have charged for a ‘seminar’? But we know Jesus was not in the business of making merchandise out of the ministry, rather He was interested in loving people. Ultimately Jesus’ attitude of love cost Him His life, cut off in the prime of His manhood, at the age of 33. But of course, it was not a fruitless death. Through Jesus’ death, burial, and subsequent resurrection and ascension, Jesus has secured eternal life for any human being who will believe in Him, and accept Him as their personal Lord and Saviour. And the bible says: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him (Philippians 2:9).

 

Friends, let God exalt us. We don’t need to exalt ourselves. If we lower ourselves, and our ministries, to serve others in love, then the Lord will exalt us in due season. The Christian life and ministry should not be like the commercial dog-eat-dog world, where people use every marketing skill and cunning use of words to imply they are better than others. No, we are to serve others in love and look to their interests, as well as our own.

 

The Lord has a wonderful plan for each individual, and every ministry He has raised up. Let us trust in Him and not rely on the arm of the flesh to be successful. True success is when we walk in the Spirit of love.

 

Say this out loud: “Thank you Lord for the loving fellowship I experience with you. Thank you for every other member of the body of Christ, every individual, group, tribe, and denomination within your body. I count them as more excellent than myself. Show me how I can help and assist in their success and promotion. Show me how I can be a servant to them. I love your body Lord, and want it to be built up. Thank you, that as I do this you will exalt me also, in due season. I love and trust you Lord. I pray this in Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.”



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Andrew Shreeve Ministries is led by the Holy Spirit, committed to the integrity of the Word of God, walking by faith and focused on preaching the gospel to all nations...

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