By Carol Round –“Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had”—Philippians 2:5 (GW).
As a former high school teacher, I recall students who had a good attitude and those who had bad attitudes. It was often challenging to be nice to the ones with the latter. However, that still, small voice always reminded me I didn’t know what was happening in their lives that might be leading to their bad behavior.
This past month, I’ve been blessed to interview people who are on a mission to help others in our community. As a freelance writer for the local newspaper, I’ve been selecting stories to inform others about the ministries and organizations available to aid those in need.
My spirit has been revived as I listen and take notes during the interviews. Their positive outlook and willingness to make a difference in our community reminds me of Paul’s letter to the Philippians in Chapter 2.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Writing from a prison in Rome, Paul expresses his gratitude for the material support the Philippians have provided for his ministry. In Chapter 2, he encourages them to live out their faith in joy and unity.
But Paul also reminds the Philippians to “look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had” (Verses 4-5 GNT).
What I saw in common during the interviews I conducted included unity, joy and humble spirits. Doesn’t that sound just like Jesus? He was a unifier and He joyfully carried out His Father’s will in humility.
Carrying Out Our Father’s Will
With so many needs in the world, it’s sometimes difficult to choose where to serve. Led by the Holy Spirit, I’ve committed to two ministries at our church: volunteering at our Amazing Grace Free Clothes Closet once a week and serving on our Flower Power team once a month.
While I’ve been approached to lead or participate in other ministries, if it isn’t what God has called me to do, I prayerfully and humbly decline. Even Jesus had to make choices, including putting time with His Heavenly Father at the beginning of each day.
Christian author Charles Hummel said, “Here is the secret of Jesus’ life and work for God: He prayerfully waited for His Father’s instructions and for the strength to follow them. Jesus had no divinely drawn blueprint; He discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer.”
Spending Time with Our Abba Father
Life can be overwhelming. It’s easy to become consumed by our problems or the world’s chaos. That’s why I start my day by reading God’s Word and by praying and listening for His guidance. Before I started seeking Him each morning, I said “yes” to each request for my help, instead of praying about it.
By letting the Holy Spirit guide me to the places where I can best serve, I have more peace and joy in my life. However, it’s more than that. I’m no longer focused on myself or my own problems. Helping others has made me more aware of those around me.
In everyday encounters, I’m more cognizant of the need to offer a smile of encouragement to strangers, to say, “Have a blessed day,” when I check out at the grocery store, or let someone go ahead of me in line. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that can make a difference and change someone’s attitude, including our own.