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Solomon said long ago, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life" (Prov. 4:23). Nowhere is this advice more important than in the area of our attitudes. The "heart" Solomon spoke of involves more than attitudes, of course, but no one can deny that our attitudes are a significant part of the heart that requires "keeping." Even those with the best of intentions sometimes find their attitudes beginning to slip out of line. We need to monitor our attitudes closely and at the first sign of deterioration, bring them back to where God wants them to be. If we don't do that, our lives will turn out to be the kind of lives we never wanted to have.
Just as wrong attitudes hinder us from being what we ought to be, right attitudes help us to please God and do His work faithfully. Like the woodcutter who makes his work easier by taking the time to sharpen his ax (Eccl. 10:10), we do ourselves a big favor in the Lord's work by adjusting our attitudes in a good direction. There is no greater advantage we can give ourselves in the work of the local congregation than to make sure our attitudes are correct. Not only does the work get done more effectively, but we enjoy it more when we have the right mental "slant" on it. This is an advantage all of us are capable of giving ourselves.
The problem most of us have, though, is assuming that our attitudes are acceptable, when in reality they may have become detrimental to the work. Attitudes have a way of changing without our noticing. That is why periodic self-examinations (and they need to be honest examinations) are so important. Doing the Lord's work effectively requires many mid-course corrections.
This week, let's think about the importance of attitudes and determine to be more careful about our own. Most local congregations are blessed with members who have numerous talents and abilities that are needed in the work that God has given us. Those abilities can't be productive if the matter of attitude is not given some priority. While there are a number of things in life that we can do nothing about, attitude is something we can always improve. Let's determine that our work will be helped, and not hindered, by the way we choose to think. Let's make this a week of significant attitude improvement -- and let's be thankful for the work we can do together.
Monday: Colossians 1:9-12
Key Idea: God wants us to think as we should so we can be fruitful in good works.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of blessings did Paul pray for his brethren in Colossae? What would a "walk . . . worthy of the Lord" be? What attitude is needed if we are to bear fruit "in every good work"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:9.
Tuesday: Matthew 22:34-40
Key Idea: We need to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
Questions for Family Growth: What question did the Pharisees ask Jesus? Why did they ask it? What was Jesus' answer? In practical terms, what does it mean to love God? What are some ways that we can increase our love for God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:10.
Wednesday: Romans 12:1-8
Key Idea: We need to be humble about ourselves and do our work faithfully.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to think "with sober judgment" about ourselves? Since we are not the only member of the body, how should we think of ourselves in relation to the other members?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:11.
Thursday: Philippians 2:1-4
Key Idea: We need to put the interests of our brethren ahead of our own interests.
Questions for Family Growth: What attitudes toward our fellow Christians does Paul mention in v.2? Why are these so important in a local congregation? What are "selfish ambition" and "conceit"? What does it mean to look "to the interests of others"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:12.
Friday: 2 Corinthians 9:1-8
Key Idea: We need to do our work for the Lord generously and cheerfully.
Questions for Family Growth: What was the particular thing Paul wanted the Corinthians to be generous and cheerful about? How does the same principle apply to all of our work in the Lord? Ultimately, who supplies the "sufficiency" for our work?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 19:13.