"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing..." Philippians 2:14-16
We need to be mindful that it isn't just our actions that should set us apart as followers of Jesus. Our attitudes, which sometimes are only visible to God, are equally important. This text from Paul's letter to the Philippian church is a good reminder of some of the reasons why a proper attitude is to accompany appropriate actions. The right attitude is proof positive that we are progressing in our Christ-likeness. The right attitude positions us to be a part of the world's solution (vessels of the gospel message), rather than promoting ungodliness. The right attitude shows that we are learning to view things--both good and bad--from a godly perspective.
Doing the right things with the wrong attitude or motivation is still a problem. To be sure, from one perspective, it's still a slight bit better than completely doing the wrong things. I'd rather have my children clean their room with a moderate amount of grumbling than to completely refuse to clean at all. But, mere compliance to follow a command or obey an order without the right attitude still shows that we are holding onto our self-interests. It still falls short of the standard that God has for us.
Yesterday, I had a test in this area. A gentleman from our community called me up in a crisis. He and I have spoken several times over the past few months. He has been kicked out of his home. He is jobless. Though he claims that he is working to find a job and a place to live, he seems to always be waiting for someone else to get back to him about an opportunity.
This has been a challenging week with building renovations and several serious emotional and family issues happening within our church. I was tired when I got the phone call from this man in need. I didn't feel like responding in a godly manner. However, I felt the Holy Spirit awaken my mind to my attitude problem and received the spiritual energy to become a part of this man's help.
We all need to be on guard in this area. We often pray for God to give us opportunities to serve Him. But, if we are not careful, we can miss those occasions because of an attitude problem. How are you doing in this area? Is there any place in your life where you are doing the right thing with the wrong attitude? Take that to the Lord and ask Him to help you to bring these two important things into a godly alignment.