Bible verse 1: Philippians 2:5
Bible verse 2: John 3:30
If I had to run through a list to check myself on what Paul reminds us to do in today’s reading, it would go a little like this:
Do nothing out of selfishness: um...
Regard others as more important than yourself: well...
Look out for the interests of others before your own: *beads of sweat forming*
Have the same attitude as Christ: *hides face and runs away*
The other day was one of those days where I just rolled out of bed and everything seemed to go downhill. I was rushing to get ready, I’d forgotten what my lesson plans were, and I was feel unfocused and irritable. I’m sure you’ve had days like this, where your attitude is in the way, and you know it, and still you can’t get your head back in the game.
But getting our heads back in the game is exactly what Paul wants us to do. “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus.” Okay Paul, easier said than done. But wait, let’s look at that verse again.
“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus."
Yours. The attitude of Christ Jesus is already given to us.
But how often do we ask for it?
When I’ve got a major attitude, sometimes I want to wallow in it. I don’t want to take what is already given to me. I want to complain, not ask for selflessness and humility. But if anyone knows about changing attitudes it’s Paul. His transformation from Christian persecutor to apostle is one of the best-known conversion stories in the world, but Paul understands that this was nothing of his doing, but given to him through Christ.
If Christ can change Paul’s attitude, then I’m pretty sure he can fix a little selfishness, a little pride, and a little irritability. After my horrible day, as I was drifting off to sleep, I realized that I hadn’t prayed about my attitude. I hadn’t ask God to take the reigns and give me the attitude of Christ, the one he already gave me! Instead, I’d let it get dusty on a shelf, forgotten until I’d cracked open this verse.
Before I fell asleep that night I said a quick prayer, first to ask for forgiveness, and then asking that Jesus would transform my attitude, I also asked a few others to pray for me as well. The next day wasn’t easy, but throughout the day I kept asking God for a little more patience, a little more humility, a little less selflessness, a little more Christ. And you know what? He gave it to me.
That day I felt like a completely different person, because I was. As we are reminded in John 3:30 “He must increase; I must decrease.” It seems counterintuitive in today’s world. We want more, more, more for ourselves, but Paul and John remind us of the truth that the world today doesn’t know: Jesus will make us more of ourselves, than we could ever hope to be on our own.
Reflection question 1: When have you failed to have the attitude of Christ? How did you respond to that situation?
Reflection question 2: What does it mean to you that “He must increase; I must decrease”? What are some practical ways you can put this verse into action?
Act: Throughout the day pay attention to your attitude and be sure to pray for Christ to give you His!